Charlotte Commuters Drive More Than Most Americans

Charlotte-area commuters log 1,000 more miles a year and urbanites use public transit half as much as average Americans, says an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

That pattern means local commuters spend some $350 more a year on driving than most Americans, says the analysis of National Household Travel Survey data.

The NRDC's point in all this, of course, is that drivers could save money -- and carbon emissions -- by using transit, carpooling and combining trips more often. Urban commuters in the Charlotte area could save $931 and rural residents $2,163 a year if they took transit, it found.

Shannon Binns, executive director of the nonprofit Sustain Charlotte, said "it is critical that we expand our transit system while also encouraging more carpooling, telecommuting, and moving closer to work, if possible."

In that vein, officials broke ground Thursday for the Lynx Blue Line light-rail extension from uptown to UNC Charlotte. The 9.3-mile line is expected to open in 2017.

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