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2504305009_5a63774e9d.jpgAn antiquated technology. (Photo: eyermonkey via Flickr)

As a couple of Streetsblog Network members, including Seattle Transit Blog, have noted, today is "Dump the Pump" day, organized by the American Public Transportation Association.
It’s an annual event in its fifth year, designed to give a little
positive PR to the public transit sector. But this time around, events
in the Gulf of Mexico give it a new kind of resonance.

Over at NRDC Switchboard, here’s what Deron Lovaas has to say (disclosure: NRDC is a partner in the event):

While public transportation plays second fiddle to the auto when it
comes to mileage traveled in the U.S., it plays a crucial role in our
metropolitan areas, the largest 100 of which host two-thirds of our
population and most of our GDP. Regions across the country would be
gridlocked without it. It saves 300,000 barrels of oil a day, much more
than the Deepwater Horizon wreck has been spewing into the Gulf, and it
cuts heat-trapping pollution by 37 million metric tons a year.

And it’s making a comeback this century, as we all come to grips
anew with the perils of our massive addiction to oil (we consume almost
20 million barrels a day of the black stuff). From 1995-2008, while
traffic on our roads grew 21 percent, transit ridership grew almost
twice that much (38 percent). And new
analysis from the Department of Transportation

shows that with adequate investments ridership could rise faster, which
when deployed as part of a comprehensive strategy to increase travel
efficiency including road pricing, intelligent transportation
technology, more compact land development and other measures could
reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5-17 percent by 2030.

In short, public transportation currently makes us more energy
secure, and boosting its share of travel can and must be a key
component in any strategy to drive our oil dependence down in the
future. I hope you will join me in taking advantage of bus or train
service in your area, and if you don’t have easy access I urge you to
lobby your city, county and state to do a better job of providing it.

Here’s our question to you: Has the Deepwater Horizon spill made you
or anyone you know reconsider their car commute? Do you feel any
differently about pumping gas? Could this be the thing that would make
you "dump the pump"? Or are there simply no other travel options in
your part of the world?

Bonus question: Do you think that sustainable transportation
advocates are making good use of the "teaching moment" that the Gulf
disaster potentially provides?

Let us know in the comments.

More from around the network: Hot-weather biking tips from in Louisville, Kentucky. A report on Miami bike-sharing from Livin in the Bike Lane. And news of another online tool to help you assess your street’s walkability, from Andy Nash Network.

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