Would financial incentives for people taking public transportation to school or work be a good strategy for carbon dioxide emissions?
Would any of the following be effective national strategies to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and prevent global warming if provided financial incentitives (such as tax credits) for individuals who use public transportation to travel to work & school?
This strategy would not be very likely to work unless the financial incentives offerred were quite substantial. The main reasons for this are:
- Traditions and tastes. Americans are not very inclined to use mass transit. American tastes are very centered around personal automobiles. Cars are a part of our tradition and it is very difficult to get people out of their cars and on to busses or trains. The financial incentives would have to be high to overcome these attitudes.
- Convenience. American cities and towns are generally quite decentralized. In many places, it would be very difficult to create transport systems that would serve enough different places so as to get near to most people's workplaces and homes. People who use their own cars can go wherever they want without having to worry if it's on a bus route. They can go whenever they want without having to worry if there is a bus running at that particular time. This kind of convenience is something that Americans do not like to give up. Again, the incentives would have to be quite high indeed to get Americans to change their ways.
Overall, then, it is hard to believe that it would be possible to significantly reduce emissions by offerring incentives for using mass transit. It is likely that the size of the incentives that would have to be offerred would be more than the government could afford.