Press Releases

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Seth Solomonow, NYC DOT (212) 839-4850
-Julia Klaiber, CEOs for Cities (202) 420-9451

NYC DOT Announces Release of "New York City’s Green Dividend," Quantifying the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Driving Less

On eve of Earth Day, analysis finds the City’s density and rich transportation network saves New Yorkers $19 billion annually

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the release of "New York City's Green Dividend," a report that quantifies for the first time the benefits of mass transit use and walking for New York City's environment and economy. The analysis, prepared by CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders, reveals that New Yorkers save a staggering $19 billion annually, at least $16 billion of which remains in the local economy and is likely to be spent in sectors like housing, which have large local multiplier effects for healthy business and job-generating power for New Yorkers themselves. The findings also underscore the importance of developing new mass transit capacity and other transportation choices in New York as the city's population increases, supporting many of the transit-expanding goals outlined in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's PlaNYC sustainability agenda. The report is available at

"Nineteen billion dollars is more than just a byproduct of a healthy transportation system, it's a sustainable economic model for New York City that we can't take for granted," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "This report gives us our first look at the bottom-line benefit of mass transit and also reminds us of what we stand to lose if we don't keep up our investment."

The report found that New Yorkers own fewer than a third as many cars per capita, and that if they drove as much as the average American, the city would have 4.5 million more cars in the five boroughs. The room needed to store these vehicles would require a parking lot of approximately 25 square miles—larger than the entire island of Manhattan.

Other findings in the report include:

  • Two-thirds of New Yorkers commute to work without a car, the largest percentage of any large U.S. city, thanks to the City's density and comprehensive transportation network.
  • New Yorkers' car ownership is about 23 cars per 100 residents compared to about 78 cars per 100 residents for the rest of the nation.
  • Because they take transit, New Yorkers avoid 48 billion miles of driving annually, use 2.4 billion fewer gallons of gasoline and 23 million tons of carbon emissions are avoided annually.

The findings come at a critical time as New York City's transportation network is threatened by transportation policy gridlock in Albany and Washington, D.C. The MTA does not have an adopted capital investment program and is facing its worst round of budget and service cuts since the 1970s. Meanwhile, the federal government's transportation funding program expired in 2009 and has been sustained for the past six months by a series of short-term extensions. The U.S. Highway Trust Fund has run short of revenue and has had to be supplemented by a series of General Fund infusions.

For more information, visit