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Which has less pollution … bus or car? You may be surprised.

Yesterday we linked to a study that suggested that light rail pollutes our environment less than buses. However, what we read today is a little more interesting. The Reason Foundation has published an article about greenhouse gas emissions and whether buses are superior to cars.

Like us initially, you probably believe buses are far superior. A study from Duke University backs up that idea with the conclusion that less greenhouse gases are produced by buses than cars. The only issue is that they calculated the optimal solution based buses being 63% full. In reality, most buses are far less full. The conclusion that the Reason article draws, is that in the real world, based on real-world ridership and occupancy of cars, people riding in cars typically produce less greenhouse gases because buses have very low ridership (as a whole).

Why this matters around Park City is that we are trying to plan our future transportation needs. Right now we are focused on how long it takes to get from Point A to Point B and buses seem to be the only feasible solution to that. However, greenhouse gases are an equally troubling issue. We don’t want the valley inversion to spread here.

So, in Park City are buses better for both traffic and the environment? We suppose that depends on what percentage of buses are full. We are looking into that and should have data shortly.

For now we are left wondering if it ends up being a battle between air quality and traffic. If it does, which do you care about more?


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