In 2007, Americans took 10.3 billion trips on public transportation—the highest ridership number in 50 years, according to the American Public Transportation Association. The group notes that every $10 million invested in a local transit system generates $30 million in business sales. And new systems can succeed fairly quickly. When Minneapolis' Hiawatha light rail opened in 2004, the projected daily ridership was 19,000; it now exceeds 28,000, says deputy metro transit general manager Mark Fuhrmann. The response from developers has also been good, he adds:7,700 multifamily units have arisen since the project's approval in 2001. Twin Cities leaders are now constructing a $914.8 million light-rail system linking Minneapolis and St. Paul. Hiawatha's popularity quieted nay sayers, too, Fuhrmann notes: "The debate turned to, 'When can I get [this] in my corner of the region?' "

The nationwide increase in public transportation ridership since 1995. Between 2002 and 2005, ridership on small urban and rural systems jumped nearly 20%.

Four Million
Gallons of gas saved every day in the United States through the use of public transit options.

$4.7 Billion
The anticipated cost of Denver's Fas Tracks system (expected completion:2017). The voter-approved project will create six new commuter- and light-rail corridors, extend three corridors, and build 18 miles of express bus service.

The number of light-rail cars Salt Lake City has ordered from Siemens Transportation Systems, making it the Sacramento, Calif.–based company's largest order ever. The city has a $277 million contract with Siemens.

Anticipated average daily ridership in 2030 for the Minneapolis–St. Paul Central Corridor light rail, slated to open in 2014.