Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Baltimore: #26 in size but #10 in transit

A little known fact is that Baltimore, for all its complaints about miserable transit actually has more transit than many of its sprawling competitors that pushed us further and further down on the population ranking (Baltimore was once the nations second largest city after New York).
Transit in Baltimore, #10 nationwide (APTA)

That and other fun facts can easily be gleaned from Yonah Freemark's Transport Databook, on his blog Transport Politic. Assuming that the graphs are done right, they put together a compendium on important transportation and transit data that one has to otherwise go hunting on different sites, such as APTA's annual national report on transit agencies.

Below a few of the graphs readily available. On the graphs Baltimore is usually top of alphabetic list of color coded cities and it is blue. However, for the color impaired, there are many shades of blue to denote all the various cities, a problem that Baltimore will soon have to face  with the CityLink bus system that will color code in excess of a dozen lines inevitably leading to confusion for those who know only a few primary colors.

As the captions indicate, not all of these appear to be plausible or important. Since the Databook is new, there will probably be corrections made. The point here is to show this exists and encourage people to go hunting for the graph they care about.

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

There are many factors that go into how high the subsidy per trip or passenger mile such as student trips, age structure etc  which makes it not really  a great measure for anything, still, it is provided as a "fun" fact that Baltimore is somewhere in the middle, requiring less subsidy than New York's ro Denver's buses
Ridership on the nations light rail systems is certainly a function of teh size of the network, but that in itself is telling, too. Baltimore's line is noted with a blue dot and is pretty far down, flat-lining essentially

Baltimore's graph for bus ridership is the one with the precipitous downward graph in June 12 which doesn't seem plausible. I don't recall what big event could have cause such a drop. Bus riders don't have many alternatives, after all.

In the mode split table of the nations top 15 cities Baltimore doesn't even register for overall transit share or rail, it does, for bus, though. According to this Baltimore is #10 with 28% modeshare for bus, better than Boston and Chicago, of course, those cities have extensive rail systems. DC, for examle beats Baltimore with a 33% modeshare for bus even though it has an extensive rail system as well.

In this table Baltimore is #12 in the nation for transit provision and utilization., a definition that relates the service to the population

This is the numeric table to the graph on top, showing the rather useless cost effectiveness factor.


Cost effectiveness for rail has the same shortcoming as the one for bus. The MARC system sits in a large filed of relatively low subsidies. To the right systems get rapidly much more expensive