Friday, March 29, 2019

"The steady decline in transit ridership"

It's a function of a stronger economy right?
In some systems people will use higher price alternatives as soon as their financial picture allows.

From New Geography:

Transit’s Declining Importance 
The steady decline in transit ridership, combined with the growth of driving, is revealed in passenger-mile data published by the Department of Transportation. The table below shows changes in transit’s share of motorized travel for the nation’s 25 largest urban areas. Outside of these areas, transit’s share declined by more than 10 percent in Sacramento, San Jose, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Charlotte, among many others.

Urbanized Area 2016 2017 Change
New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT 11.6% 11.5% -1.0%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 1.9% 1.8% -4.7%
Chicago, IL-IN 3.6% 3.4% -5.5%
Miami, FL 1.1% 1.1% -2.5%
Philadelphia, PA-NJ-DE-MD 2.8% 2.4% -11.2%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 0.6% 0.5% -4.9%
Houston, TX 0.7% 0.7% -2.0%
Washington, DC-VA-MD 3.5% 3.2% -9.3%
Atlanta, GA 0.9% 0.9% -6.7%
Boston, MA-NH-RI 2.9% 2.7% -6.5%
Detroit, MI 0.4% 0.4% -0.7%
Phoenix-Mesa, AZ 0.6% 0.7% 14.3%
San Francisco-Oakland, CA 7.1% 6.6% -7.0%
Seattle, WA 3.4% 3.4% 1.2%
San Diego, CA 1.4% 1.3% -7.1%
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI 1.1% 1.1% -1.7%
Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL 0.4% 0.3% -12.9%
Denver-Aurora, CO 1.7% 1.6% -1.4%
Baltimore, MD 2.3% 2.3% -2.0%
St. Louis, MO-IL 0.7% 0.6% -10.3%
Riverside-San Bernardino, CA 0.5% 0.4% -8.2%
Las Vegas-Henderson, NV 1.0% 0.9% -3.0%
Portland, OR-WA 2.3% 2.3% -0.1%
Cleveland, OH 0.8% 0.7% -11.7%
San Antonio, TX 0.7% 0.6% -3.7%

These calculations were made possible by the Federal Highway Administration’s release of table HM-72 for the 2017 Highway Statistics. This table shows the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per day by urbanized area. Multiply daily VMT by 365 to get annual VMT, then by average auto occupancies of 1.67 (based on the National Household Travel Survey) to get annual passenger miles. This can be compared with passenger miles from the 2017 National Transit Database, which was released last October.

You can download the Antiplanner’s updated summary of the 2017 National Transit Database to get my calculations of transit’s share of travel. I copied the daily VMT from table HM-72 into cells AR3881 through AR4367, converted to passenger miles in the adjacent (AS) column, and calculated transit’s share in the AT column. Transit passenger miles are in column L. A handful of urban areas (such as Nampa, Idaho) are in the National Transit Database but not Highway Statistics, while two (Norman, OK and Middletown, NY) are in Highway Statistics but not the National Transit Database.
Among the nation’s 50 largest urban areas, transit share grew only in Phoenix, Seattle, Cincinnati, Virginia Beach, Austin, Richmond, and Hartford. Except in Phoenix, where transit’s share is less than 1 percent, transit’s growth in these urban areas was tiny.

Meanwhile, the 5 to 11 percent declines in Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco-Oakland, and Washington — in all of which transit remains somewhat important — are devastating. Ride hailing is clearly particularly strong in these regions.

Ironically, the San Francisco Chronicle recently listed the Bay Area’s 11 biggest transportation projects: two were bike routes, two were highways, while the remaining seven were transit. Obviously, the region’s transportation planners are basing priorities on wishful thinking....MORE