America’s public transportation ridership is at a height not seen in decades. In 2011, Americans took 10.4 billion trips on mass transit — which includes buses, trains, street cars and ferries, according to the American Public Transportation Association.
We know that an increase in gas prices has caused American’s to seek alternative forms of transportation. But, an increase in mass transposition use is also an indicator of the struggling American economy seeing an upturn. As people get back to work in America’s cities they take the buses and subways, thus ridership increases. Additionally, public transportation is not free, so an increase in ridership could signal that American’s are spending again and could be a sign of renewed American tourism, an industry that has struggled through the recession. Around 5% of the American population commutes everyday using public transport according to the Census Department.
America’s public transit ridership hit its peak in the 1940s, took a dip in the 1950s due families moving to the suburbs, and saw a rebound in the 1970s when gas prices spiked. In 2011, America’s public transit ridership was at its second highest level since 1957.
Taking advantage, and aiding in public transportation use, is modern technology. It seems that everyone has a smart phone these days, and app companies are cashing in not only on the app market but on the increased in use of public transit. There are currently hundreds of apps that map out bus routes, subway station, and some even show you where your bus or subway currently is and when it will arrive.
Not all Americans have access to public transportation – and not all public transportation is created equal . But for those American who do, public transportation can be a cost effective and green way to get where you need to go.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison