Mass transit could help ease air pollution

Posted September 24, 2007
Updated April 30, 2008

— As the Triangle grows, traffic grows, and so grows air pollution.

Currently, the area does not comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's standards for air quality.

"Our air pollution problems don't come from factories, they primarily come from cars," said John Hodges-Copple, the planning director for the Triangle J Council of Governments, the regional planning group for Wake, Durham, Orange and surrounding counties. "So, whatever we do, transportation-wise, that will have the long-term effect."

Studies indicate that during the heaviest commute times in the Triangle, nine out of 10 vehicles have one person on board.

Trains and buses could help take cars and pollution off the road, but the Triangle Transit Authority's commuter rail plan was put on hold after the federal government declined to help fund it.

And, buses carry only 5 percent of Triangle commuters.

"I'm not going to pretend that any particular rail system or bus system will be the be-all and the end-all for air quality in the Triangle, but every little bit's going to help," Hodges-Copple said. "And I think that most people realize transit is going to play an important role in that broader equation"

If the Triangle is not in compliance by 2009, the federal government could withhold funds for future projects.

A regional Blue Ribbon panel appointed to create mass transit solutions meets to discuss the issue on Thursday.


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  • 68_polara Sep 26, 2007


    low ridership not readership

  • 68_polara Sep 26, 2007

    No, but maybe enough people to make it worth building. Look at the awfully low readership of the tta buses, if people aren't willing to ride the buses or carpool they won't ride the train either. Heck if those that could commute on the bus or carpool would we wouldn't have a problem in the fist place. Why waste the $'s?

  • cobb82451 Sep 26, 2007

    If you wait for everybody to want a rail system, it will be too late. Envision a 12 lane I-40, where it takes 3 miles just to get from the left lane to the exit. Picture yourself in the 7th lane in a traffic jam on a friday night. Picture yourself wishing for an alternative. It won't be there. Sound far fetched? How many of us thought a 2 bedroom bungalow in 5 points would cost half a million dollars?

  • flashlight Sep 25, 2007

    They're going to be fighting property owners for land no matter what happens, whether it be on a proposed rail line or on the side of a highway that will need constant widening. This is a long term investment that will take time to reach its full potential. Of course it will not be making millions of dollars in its first year. It's not there to make money, it's there to give people hours of their life back not stuck in traffic. Put a price tag on that. Just because a light rail line and density are not the status quo around here doesn't mean that it doesn't have a place here. Oh yeah, it will help reduce auto emissions, too.

  • Travised Sep 25, 2007


    The issue is we are not hard against LRT, we are against tax dollars going down the drain. Most LRT routes are for say 10-15 miles. The City NeXT has to plan for potential expantion (spokes) of the LRT and they learn they are fighting against property owners who do not want the line in their back yard.

    The root question again becomes why install a transportation system that will operate in the negative on the financial side, and ridership will be low most of the time.

    Best places to either start or end it are Malls, or Airports. Then if there is a large residential downtown region thats another place to serve (a line) knowing that the airport line won't serve it. However you need to decide if you want a end to end system or a spoke based for the Rail and busses so commuters can easially transfer.

    It depends on the current transit system.

  • Not_So_Dumb Sep 25, 2007

    "Every new business must provide schools and housing within walking distance of the offices."

    HAHAHA! The American Dream - to be packed in like sardines!

  • methinkthis Sep 25, 2007

    We have been following a 'let everybody come and see what happens' growth management. So thinking outside the box it would be quite reasonable to go along with this hands off policy to just ban cars during rush hour and see what happens. Or and I really like this one. Every new business must provide schools and housing within walking distance of the offices. High rise schools where high school is really high, the top floors, than middle school is in the middle and elementary on the first few floors along with day care.

  • JohnnyMalaria Sep 25, 2007

    "GOOD NEWS! They have your answer - N C Railroad has a service you obviously never heard of - it's called AMTRAK! Try it and quite trying to spend more of our tax dollars for nothing." -myview

    Clearly, you have never looked into this. The timetable doesn't work. In either direction, you arrive at about 10am and have to leave at 4pm. Plus it's three hours each way.

    Two trains a day requiring 6 hours traveling time ain't mass transport for commuting by any stretch of the imagination.

  • IdoNOTliveinDurham Sep 25, 2007

    wildervb wrote :"The fact is gasoline will continue to become more expensive, world demand is rising fast thanks to the growth of new major economic powers like India and China. Meanwhile production is already falling in most parts of the world meaning we have a long term supply crunch."

    Yeah I think we heard the same story right after Katrina x years ago..... Its not supply it refinement and the desire to control the flow.......HELLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOO Profits........

  • IdoNOTliveinDurham Sep 25, 2007 just don't get it. You want to blame all of us ignorant people. The TTA started back in 1989, population has exploded and pushed well beyond cities out into the suburbs. Do you honestly think a rail system will help people in Apex, Knightdale, Wakeforest, North Raleigh, Northern Durham etc...etc....etc....etc....

    Where is the detailed plan? Where can I drive to park? While anyone has disagreed has been called ignorant, selfish and even a militant and on the other hand there are those that can read a report on polution and here MASS TRANSIT to the rescue.........come on..

    If our elected officials in this State would have believed in it, it would have been built already. If they had not let development explode so far outside of city limits buses, trains or even bikes would work.

    Share with us how this would work and provide details and maybe unlike the TTA and our officials you will get some backing.