Nope – concludes this study by the Cato Institute:
Far from protecting the environment, most rail transit lines use more energy per passenger mile, and many generate more greenhouse gases, than the average passenger automobile. Rail transit provides no guarantee that a city will save energy or meet greenhouse gas targets.
What would be some alternatives?
– Powering buses with hybrid-electric motors, biofuels, and—where it comes from nonfossil fuel sources—electricity;
– Concentrating bus service on heavily used routes and using smaller buses during offpeak periods and in areas with low demand for transit service;
– Building new roads, using variable toll systems, and coordinating traffic signals to relieve the highway congestion that wastes nearly 3 billion gallons of fuel each year;
– Encouraging people to purchase more fuel efficient cars. Getting 1 percent of commuters to switch to hybrid-electric cars will cost less and do more to save energy than getting 1 percent to switch to public transit.