Of Niche Markets and Broad Markets: Commuting in the US | Newgeography.com
We should leave transit to these six legacy transit cities; the rest of the nation should eschew transit and discover better alternatives for their peculiar situations.
"The six transit legacy cities - mostly urban cores that grew largely before the advent of the automobile - increased their concentration of transit work trips to 57.9% of the national transit commuting, according to the 2018 American Community Survey. At the same time, working at home strengthened its position as the nation’s third leading mode of work access, with transit falling to fourth. The transit commuting market share dropped from 5.0% in 2017 to 4.9% in 2018. Carpooling, after at least three decades of decline, has seen an increase in this decade.
The transit legacy cities are New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington."
Instead, we spend billions of dollars attempting to copy and paste the legacy city transit model onto the rest of the nation, a copy and paste project which costs vast sums of money but moves no one.
Here in Portlandia, we installed our first light rail back in the mid-1980s. In the 1970s, about 10% of commuters used transit. The addition of light rail has cost so much that bus transit has had to be substantially cut back. Those cuts occurred mostly in neighborhoods with lower socioeconomic status families. In essence, the upper-middle-class riders who ride light rail are being subsidized by the poor. How cool is that?
The results of the cut back in bus transit have been significant. Now 6.1% of commuters ride transit to work. This figure continues to decline; back around 2008, the figure was 7.3% of commuters used transit. Nicely played TriMet/progressives/Democrats.
But the real killer of transit will come in the guise of work from home and the hail-ride, self-drive auto. Once this model is perfected, the technology will quickly drop down to allow lower-income riders to share rides, thus lowering the cost of the ride. At some point, the cost of a the hail-ride, shared-ride trip will be roughly similar to transit fare but the ride will pick up the passenger where they are and drop them where they want to go with a minimal amount of time spent driving around the countryside "seeing the sights."
The real problem with transit is it does not go where anyone needs or wants it to go.
"The American Community Survey data reveals working at home continues to be the big winner among the most popular employment access modes. Between 2017 and 2018, working at home (which includes telecommuting) gained 258,000 workers nationally, rising from 8.00 to 8.25 million in total. This was a considerable accomplishment. Working at home increased disproportionately relative to driving alone. Having only 7% of the driving alone volume in 2017, working at home added more than 20% of the entire commuting increase over the last year."
Carpools data are the harbinger of what the hail-ride, share-ride transit model will be like. The difference is carpools are difficult to arrange while computers can be used to organize routine ride-sharing commutes and deal with the alterations which come when humans need to change their schedules.
We need to stop spending money on these White Elephant projects which make progressives feel good but do little more than waste huge amounts of money.