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Mass Transit Hysteria (Ep. 101)


(Photo: Philip Matarese)

New York City’s subways and buses carry roughly seven million passengers a day, which goes a long way toward explaining why New Yorkers have one of the smallest carbon footprints in the U.S. Doesn’t that mean that mass transit is inevitably good for the environment?
Yes, no, and sometimes.
Our latest Freakonomics Radio on Marketplace podcast is called “Mass Transit Hysteria.” (You can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen via the media player above, or read the transcript here.)
It’s based on a recent blog post by regular contributor Eric Morris and you’ll get to hear a good bit from Morris himself in the podcast. He does a great job explaining the nuts and bolts (and math) of the issue, and admirably teases out the complications that visit any conversation about transportation.
How to explain why mass transit is often embraced as an environmental panacea even when the numbers don’t add up? As the Onion once put it: “98 Percent of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation for Others.”