We all know we should drive less, but it's not often we get to see firsthand the difference fewer cars on the road can make. This GIF, courtesy of Tumblr user Peter from Texas, shows just how much of the street is freed up when travelers forgo personal vehicles.
The Federal Transit Administration reports that about 29 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are the result of transportation. As most have heard by now, switching from private cars to public transportation systems can seriously lessen those emissions.
For instance, the American Public Transportation Association reports that "a single person, commuting alone by car, who switches a 20-mile round trip commute to existing public transportation, can reduce his or her annual C02 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year."
Another study, published in 2011, found that Europe could slash its greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 25 percent if citizens from every EU country cycled as much as those in Denmark, where the average person logged almost 600 bike miles per year.
Cycling is also merciful on the wallet. The average cost of operating a personal vehicle is more than $8,000 per year, while the average cost of maintaining a bicycle is $308 per year.
Major cities in the U.S. remain clogged with car traffic, but our use of alternative options may be on the upswing. From 1995 to 2011, there was a 34 percent increase in public transportation ridership, a number that exceeded the national population growth rate. And the League of American Bicyclists reports that since 2000, there's been more than a 61 percent increase in bicycle commuting.
These alternative options aren't feasible for everyone's commute, but the more we rely on them, the greater their environmental benefits.