Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Transit Ridership and Gas Prices

All the talk about Millennials shedding their cars cannot betray the fundamental relationship between the cost of driving and transit usage.
MTA bus stop

With gas prices at dramatic lows under $2 a gallon, levels that nobody had expected to ever see again, it comes as no surprise, really, that the many year long increase in transit ridership seen in most major US cities has come to a screeching halt.  In fact, it has reversed in many places such as Chicago and LA.
WMATA survey

Baltimore is only one of the cities with a decrease in transit riders in 2014 with a 5.7% dip in bus riders and 4.6% overall. While it is always good to expect better transit service, the real cause of the drop is not home-made but part of a bigger trend.

We don't even have to blame the MTA for that, nor should Maryland's new governor Hogan and his "best highway builder" DOT Secretary Rahn get any ideas. The need for good transit in cities will remain, the low gas prices, not so much!

Baltimore Transit

WMATA survey

WSJ article
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA
My firm ArchPlan Inc. was a consultant with MTA for the implementation of the MTA Quickbus system, Baltimore's version of a Rapid Bus system with fewer stops but short of full blown BRT as it has been implemented by WMATA in DC and by MTA in LA.

udpdated 3/18/15  9:12h

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