A Letter to Editor re: “Save the Environment: Don’t Take Transit”

Posted on behalf of Professor Patrick M. Condon.

Dear Editor,

Kevin Libin of Alberta gets it all wrong in his “Save the Environment: Don’t Take Transit” (link to orginal article) article. He uses average transit ridership figures from the US that are falling from 1.5 percent of all trips to 1 percent of all trips. If you have ever been to Atlanta or Phoenix you can see why. In the vancouver area transit trips to work increased from 16 to over 17% during the same period, seventeen times more trips per capita than in sprawling US cities and climbing (data Translink). More misleading still is the claim that that a Toyota Prius produces less greenhouse gas per passenger mile than a diesel bus, without admitting that the Prius had better have five people in it and the diesel bus no more than 10 (analysis UBC Design Center). I don’t remember ever seeing a bus with less than ten people in it, or a Prius with more than two, do you? Mr. Libin supports his claims by citing the work of Mr. Cox and Mr. O’Toole, without disclosing that they work at notoriously anti transit think tanks. It is widely known that both receive substantial funding from the oil and auto industry, yet this too is not disclosed in this disappointing article.

Professor Patrick M. Condon
University of British Columbia
James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments
2357 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC – V6T 1Z4
604 822 9291

Here are some related material, examples from Portland, Oregon:

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