For the last 50 years, Americans have watched their public transit systems dismantled in favor of an over-reliance on personal automobiles. But high gas prices and Millennial’s mass exodus from the suburbs to the cities has given public transit a shot in the arm. The first decade of the millennium has seen particularly positive growth in public transit growth and access
Streetsblog reports on a study by the Federal Transit Authority which shows that from 2000 to 2010, the number of regions with access to either railways or buses with dedicated roadways grew from 27% to 40%. With more systems and accessibility came more riders. From 1996 to 2008, the number of American transit riders grew 36%, and that’s not even accounting for the record levels of ridership we’ve seen post-recession.
881 new transit stations were built in the first ten years of the new millenium, and the number of people living within a half-mile of a transit station grew 6%. Unfortunately, that’s less than the general population increase of 10%, meaning transit access isn’t keeping up with overall growth. Worse, transit use is concentrated in a select few area
Obviously, the closer people live to a transit system, the more likely they are to use it, and with highways jammed to the hilt and falling apart, taking a train or bus sounds like a much better idea. Yet it’s obvious that more can be done to make public transit as accessible as possible, and there are only five cities in all of America where 75% of the population lives within a half-mile of a transit station.
We’re making progress…just not fast enough.