Your body. Whether you are walking or powering a bicycle, using your body as your primary form of transportation is indeed the least energy intensive form of transportation that exists.
There are many different big public transportation systems. I couldn’t find a report on which one is most efficient but there are many ways that all of them are getting more eco-friendly. In San Francisco and the Bay Area, there are light rail, subways, buses, and cable cars that are all electric or at least hybrid. They also make the transport line in the most efficient heavily traveled areas.
Bicycles are known to be the most efficient and ecofriendly transportation device ever invented. But if you want something motorized than it would probably be hybrids and motorcycles; these are the most efficient (with a BTU per passenger-mile of 1.659, and 1.855 respectively). Trains are next in line depending on the type of train they range from 2.650 to 2.996. Surprisingly air travel is next with 3.261, regular cars (3.512), personal trucks (3.944) and buses are last, because of their poor efficiency in capacity. An average transit bus has only 8.8 passengers, and has a BTU per passenger-mile of 4.235.
A growing form of alternative transportation system in the US is the concept of “bike share” programs in urban centers. The first program in the US was implemented in Washington DC and is still very successful. Pilot projects were observed in Canada and Europe where the concepts flourished and then brought to the states. Other large cities are jumping on the band wagon and promoting the benefits of renting a bicycle as a helathy and economical form of transportation. To find out a little more visit the cited sources.
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