AUSTIN—With the Gulf oil leak reminding Americans of devastating consequences of oil dependence, Environment Texas released On the Right Track: The DART Rail System, a new report that examining the oil savings benefits of the Dallas Area Rapid Transit system (DART) rail system. The analysis finds that the DART rail saves area travelers about 8.8 million gallons of gasoline - the same amount of fuel consumed by more than 15,000 cars annually.
“DART’s rail system is a great example of how we can reduce energy consumption, curb our dependence on oil, and minimize pollution while at the same time saving commuters money and strengthening the economy,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas.
The report found:
- DART rail’s energy efficiency, combined with avoided highway congestion and the role of DART in bringing about less auto-dependent forms of development, results in a reduction of overall energy use by an amount equivalent to 8.8 million gallons of gasoline per year.
- Each year, DART averts 54,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution, and reduces emissions of pollutants that cause respiratory problems.
- DART helps enable the creation of compact, walkable communities, is one of the safest forms of commuting, and can save consumers as much as $9,453 every year by avoiding the costs of vehicle ownership, parking, and fuel.
This report also outlines the short and long-term plans for improvement and expansion in the future and describes several necessary steps of action. Rail systems like DART face growing demand, but many are having to reduce service and delay improvements due to strained budgets.
The On the Right Track: The DART Rail System report calls for:
- An increase of federal investment in public transportation, including the light rail, commuter rail and high-speed rail as well as other transportation alternatives such as walking and biking.
- Increased flexibility to use federal funds to pay for train maintenance and day-to day operations, in addition to improving and expanding capacity.
“DART is a critical asset to Texas because it helps us reduce overall carbon emissions and improves our air quality. DART is also decreasing Texans dependence on imported fossil fuel,” says Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson. “We need to continue and increase funding for DART and other forms energy efficient transportation. I am delighted to compliment Environment Texas for this report.
“In order to make these improvements a reality, our leaders should make expansion of the DART rail systems and projects like it a priority for transportation investments,” Metzger said. “Prioritizing funding for rail, transit and cleaner transportation options will help create sustainable communities like those developing within the DART service area and reduce oil consumption and pollution.”
Transportation creates more than two-thirds of our nation’s oil consumption and nearly one-third of our carbon dioxide emissions. Transportation alternatives like the DART are crucial to reducing pollution and our dependence on oil.
The DART serves a 700-square-mile area that connects residential, business and recreational destinations in Dallas, Garland, Plano and Richardson. Ridership has been steadily increasing in recent years by an average 6.5 percent since 2008.