There are a number of people and organizations that are working on mass transit solutions here in Northwest Arkansas. The Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, Northwest Council, Ozark Regional Transit, and the city councils of the 4 Towns have shown that they are planning twenty-five years ahead.
ORBT is unique in all this because we endorse, plan for, and work for electric vehicles in the transit mix. The reasons are sound: less carbon pollution. Reduced costs (especially energy costs). The installation of recharging infrastructure will put financial capital to work in our community. And it looks great for our brand. If you were looking for a place to invest in, you would look at these factors. We can expect up to a 12X increase in outside investment into our community per dollar spent on mass transit.
Regarding reduced pollution and energy costs, from the Rail Passengers Association’s website here are the numbers:
Pollution from transportation in the U. S. accounts for over 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Rail transit is 23.5% more energy efficient per passenger mile than cars, and 31.4% more energy efficient than light trucks.
Three billion gallons of fuel were wasted in traffic in 2019, enough to fill the New Orleans Superdome four times over!
According to the 2019 U. S. Department of Energy Data Book, Amtrak travel is 47% more efficient than car travel, and 33% more efficient than domestic airline travel on a per-passenger, per-mile basis.
Each year individuals can avoid driving 4,400 by taking public transportation.
300 miles of railroad uses less land than a single commercial airport.
A typical US intercity passenger train emits 177 gams of CO2 per passenger-mile vs. 243 per passenger mile for commercial flights. Where passenger lines are electrified, the carbon emission savings are even greater.
A properly funded, energy-efficient passenger rail system helps cut fuel consumption, guards against future oil price shocks and even bolsters national security.
And the same can be said of EV transit buses, our first cause at ORBT.
Please use these numbers to talk to your family, friends, and representatives at every level of government. We can have this now. And it will work.
Oh and one more thing: Passenger trains are a critical tool in creating walkable, livable neighborhoods. It takes 16 lanes of highway to carry as many people per hour as a single two-track railroad. In case anyone becomes interested in cutting down traffic jams. Or building affordable housing.