Public transit saves 6.9 million hours of delay in Portland traffic: Study

Digging deeper into the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s 2012 Urban Mobility Report, Hard Drive has found some data-driven reasons to celebrate the role of TriMet, C-Tran, the Portland Streetcar and — heck, why not? –  the aerial tram in our daily commutes.

Last week, we reported on how the study’s mathematical formula ranked freeway traffic in the Portland metro area as the nation’s 17th worst. What’s worse, the region’s rush hours were rated the sixth most unpredictable.

That’s some bad motor-jo.

But the TTI road-congestion research also placed Portland high on the list of a more positive index: Time and money saved by public transportation.

Out of 498 urban areas, Portland finished an admirable No. 12 in that category, with the region’s motorists saving an estimated 6.9 million hours in traffic time and $151.1 million dollars in gas due to public transit in 2011.

Seattle finished eighth, with New York unsurprisingly capturing the top spot.

The American Public Transportation Association, the $57 billion industry’s largest lobbying group, immediately seized on the report, which contends public transit saved the nation’s drivers a total of 865 million hours of delay.