For all of their complaints about it, Americans care about public transit. Surveys show that large majorities support public transit initiatives. Nearly three-quarters of Americans approve of using tax dollars to fund transit initiatives. Every year new transit-focused ballot measures pass across the country.
But public transit ridership is falling, and the number of drivers is rising. U.S. drivers hit a record in 2016, traveling over 3.2 trillion miles in one year.
Unsurprisingly, with all of those cars on the road, traffic congestion is getting worse. According to the Federal Highway Administration, average daily congestion in Washington, D.C. increased by 15 minutes from 2015 to 2016. In Dallas-Fort Worth it rose by 23 minutes. In Portland, Oregon – a city known for its strong focus on transit issues – commuters face a whopping 41 additional minutes of average daily congestion.
New technologies and business models can inspire us to reconsider how we move through society. “Sharing economy” companies use digital technologies to connect customers who want something with people offering it directly – in the case of Uber and Lyft, transportation services. Applying this approach to public transit offers new solutions to mobility problems. “Uberizing” public transit services – bringing them to customers on demand – can transform our approach to transportation issues.
Learn more in this article from The Conversation, authored by assistant professor Junfeng Jiao, associate dean Juan Miro, and graduate student in Community and Regional Planning Nicole McGrath.