Is Mass Transit Really Green?

Last week, the Rio Grande Foundation hosted a events with John Charles of the Cascade Policy Institute. Among the points Mr. Charles made in his presentations was the fact that transit is not always “greener” than automobiles. After all, transit vehicles of all types are large and consume large quantities of energy both to construct (in the example of rail projects) and to operate. If these trains and buses are not consistently full, they will not be as efficient as they could be.
As if to second Mr. Charles in his presentation, Yahoo’s website today offered this story which also argued that transit is not always green. These are not the findings of a right-wing think tank, rather the scientists’ findings were published in the British Journal Environmental Research Letters.
Hopefully Mayor Marty and Albuquerque’s City Council will pay attention to this study before building a streetcar. It’s too bad Governor Richardson didn’t question the supposed “green-ness” of passenger rail before we got the RailRunner.