Mass Transit Transportation Is Important Term Paper

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Sources: 7
  • Subject: Transportation
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #76568566

Excerpt from Term Paper :

In short, providing transit using the current paradigms and strategies is unsustainble. Transit's success depends on the ability of planners to make the lives of travelers worse off by making it harder to get around, restricting housing choice and type, and subjecting people to all manner of externalities and lifestyles they routinely choose to avoid in the current housing market place (e.g., small homes, urban noise, and air pollution" (Stanley 2007).

Facts and figures publication of the Road Information Program, a Mobility Comparison of Investments in Highways and Mass Transit, notes that Despite a 148.8% increase in operating subsidies between 1980 and 1990, mass transit was unable to increase its share of the nation's PMT. In fact, between 1980 and 1990, mass transit's share of the nation's passenger miles of non-marine, surface transportation decreased from 1.43% to PMT provided by mass transit exceeded 1% of total transportation in only 10 states in 1990 " (Weyrich and Lind).

K.C. Jones Monthly, based in Kansas, argued in a skeptical article, "Public Transit: A Worthwhile Investment?," that Public transit is clearly a declining industry. Ridership peaked during the World War II period at roughly 23 billion trips per year.... As World War II came to an end and life returned to a more normal mode, public transit lost most of its market advantages. Ridership declined by about two-thirds, from 23 billion annual trips to around 8 billion in recent years. Public transit's share of urban passenger miles fell from over 30% in 1945 to barely 2% in 1995" (Weyrich and Lind).

A trip can only be transit competitive if transit is available. If there is no train or bus, you can't get there from here, at least not on public transit. But the point this criterion makes is less obvious: measuring total trips is irrelevant, because in much of America, no transit is available.

The best official source is the American Housing Survey. The latest available figures are from the 1993 Supplement. According to that survey, 54.48% of American households had public transit available (the trend is down, from 58.9% in 1983.) the number tells us that, in terms of transit competitive trips, transit could not compete for any trips from almost half the households in America, because they had no transit available. Here the American Housing Survey has even more interesting news. In 1993, only 28.8% of U.S. households reported that they had satisfactory public transportation available (down from 39.39% in 1983 and 54.52% in 1974, the first year surveyed).17 and here's the kicker: while annual transit trips per household nationwide remained virtually steady from 1974 to 1993, annual trips per household where satisfactory transit service was available doubled over the same period, from a low of 150 in 1976 to 300 in 1993.18 What has held down transit ridership is not unwillingness to use satisfactory transit, but its declining availability. In fact, the 1993 AHS Supplement indicates a virtual one-for-one correlation between households having satisfactory transit and households using that transit at least weekly (Weyrich and Lind).

Research done in Edmonton and Toronto, Canada, and published in 1982 "found the 'walking impact zone' to be as far as 4000 ft from the station, which indicates that some people would walk more than a half a mile to get to a rail transit station. However, while the walking distance grows, the number of commuters using the rail system drops.

The 50% point appears to lie between 1000 and 2000 feet, based on the numbers from Toronto and Washington (San Franciscans seem to be a lazy lot, or perhaps it's all those hills). How many Americans reside within 2000 feet of a well-run rail transit line? We haven't found any numbers to answer this question, but we would bet the percentage is even lower than the 1% or 2% figure for total trips on transit. The point, again, is that people ride transit very little as measured by total trips because quality transit isn't there for them to ride. If you don't build it, they can't come" (Weyrich and Lind).

With discussing the TTC, it is obvious that it is state-wide system that will include new and existing highways, railways, and utility rights-of-way. From there, the network will furnish different lanes for passenger and truck traffic, freight and high-speed commuter railways. From there, over the next 50 years, TTC is planning to be completed with routes being constructed. Along with that, in March 2005, TXDOT and Cintra-Zachry signed a development agreement which authorized $3.5 million of planning for TTC-35. This agreement did not designate the alignment, authorize construction, set toll rates or who collects them. Furthermore, it did not get rid of future competition for services. With that, there have been no contracts awarded to develop or finance any other corridor (Trans-Texas Corridor).

The point is that these types of trips, especially most shopping trips, were never transit competitive, not even in transit's heyday. Yet today, they make up the single largest category of trips. A 1983 study found that 35.6% of total trips nationally were for shopping, medical or dental visits or other errands. In comparison, only 22.8% of total trips were work related, including commuting.31 a regional study (of California) done in 1980 put home-based shopping trips alone at 26.1%, again the largest source of home-based trips. 86.4% of those trips were done by automobile. Interestingly, the past still showed its hand: the next most common mode for home-based shopping trips was walking, at 8.3%. This study gave transit 3.7% of shopping trips.32 Other studies generally agree: the 1983 report cited previously gave transit a 1.1% share of "Family and personal business," down slightly from 1.6% in 1977 (in 1983, 87.9% of such trips were by car) (Weyrich and Lind).


From the evidence in this paper, mass transit is important for long-run economic growth and less traffic. This can be shown in many cities where the economic cost of the commuting time is huge. By eliminating issue, it would bring a significant improvement in the economy's efficiency and modern day continence. The economic and military power of a nation has been closely tied to efficient methods of transportation since it provides access to natural resources and promotes trade. A nation can gain wealth and power by increasing the use of mass transit since it allows the movement of soldiers, equipment, and supplies so that a nation can wage war. "Metra ridership grew by about 15% between 1985 and 1995.... Generally, all Metra zones have…

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