The Social Benefits of Public Transit
A study (paywall) done by Research in Transportation Economics indicates that the benefits of public transportation go beyond the traditional advantages we normally consider.
Researchers at Kansai University studied users of the Toyama Light Rail in Japan. They created indexes of their data, including a trust index, network index, participation index. They found that the introduction of the Toyama Light Rail increased the social capital of the citizens, encouraging them to be more active in events and entertainment along the line. They also suggest that the public transportation particularly prevented the social withdrawal of elderly people who suffer additional mobility challenges.
If implementing high-quality local public transportation services fosters SC [Social Capital], it could bring about much larger benefits to our society than calculated social benefits
The study’s findings are just a further reminder that mobility is key.