There's new evidence that even if you don't actually ride public transportation, you can still reap the benefits: A new USC study shows that people living a half-mile from an Expo Line station have substantially reduced their car usage, and thus the carbon emissions that come with driving. Researchers looked at the commuting habits of 200 households in fall 2011 and a year later--a few months after the Expo Line connected DTLA to Culver City. After the train opened, residents close to a station drove an average of 10 to 12 fewer miles per day, a 40 percent drop; their carbon emissions dropped by 30 percent. The decrease can be directly attributed to Expo because the participants--who were tracked by GPS, pedometers, and their own recordings--tripled their daily use of the rail system.
Another win was the discovery that some of the most sedentary people living near the stations increased their physical activity by 8 to 10 minutes a day--likely by walking to and from the train and getting around by foot once they reached their destinations. The stations most successful at luring people out of cars--they're not named--were located near bus lines and pedestrian-friendly streets without multiple lanes of traffic. The numbers indicate that new train lines are definitely changing behavior in LA and will continue to do so as the rail system opens to more neighborhoods.
· The Exposition Light Rail Line Study [USC Price School of Policy]