2014 Mar 10 By Blake 0 comment

More people in the United States are taking public transit, according to this NYTimes article by Jon Hurdle. The reason for the increase is complex but identifiable.

Stronger economic growth is playing an important role in the increased use of public transit, as more people are using the systems to get to an increasing number of jobs, the association reported, and transit agencies are nurturing growth by expanding their systems or improving services.

“We’re seeing that where cities have invested in transit, their unemployment rates have dropped, and employment is going up because people can get there,” Mr. Melaniphy said.

Could a Colorado Hyperloop be a jobs magnifier for the state? The article continues, not on New York City’s mega subway, but with RTD!

In Denver, the Regional Transit District topped 101 million passenger trips last year, its most ever, helped by an improving economy and an increasing acceptance that public transit is an attractive alternative to the automobile, said Scott Reed, a spokesman for the district.

One of the challenges is simply getting people to try public transportation, Mr. Reed said, but when they do, “they find it is so much easier than they had feared.”

The 14-mile light-rail W Line connecting Denver, Lakewood and Golden, Colo., opened in April, and by the end of the year, it was carrying about 15,000 passengers a day, as planned. The line is part of a FasTracks expansion program, which will consist of 122 additional miles of light and commuter rail, 18 miles of a bus rapid transit system and a doubling of park-and-ride facilities, all scheduled for completion in 2016.

The estimated $7 billion cost is being paid for in part with a 0.4 percent sales tax, which voters approved in 2004. Nationally, taxpayers are increasingly willing to finance public transportation improvements, Mr. Melaniphy said.

In the last two years, more than 70 percent of transit tax initiatives have succeeded, he said.

I think the tax debate muddles the article, but it is clear, if you build transport systems, people will use them. The Front Range is incredibly car heavy right now. We need to move to ultra fast, medium to far distance, cheap transportation. Coloradans have to start planning future transport like the Hyperloop.

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