Lack of Strong Public Transportation in the States

If you have been to other countries, you probably noticed that the United States has a strong car culture. From the heavy, dreadening traffic of Los Angeles to the ruggedy roads of Boston, driving is not always pleasant. Roads are constantly being fixed and they contribute a lot to climate change. Other nations have done so well with their public transportation, why can’t we?

American public transportation can be a huge disaster. The United States invested a lot of money in public transportation, but people don’t want to use it. Most of the public transportation costs are leveraged through taxpayer money to make transportation affordable. Transit consultant Jarrett Walker compares the transportation of the United States with Canada, saying, “Canada just has more public transit. Compare, say, Portland to Vancouver, or Salt Lake to Edmonton, or Des Moines to Winnipeg. Culturally and economically, they’re very similar cities, but in each case the Canadian city has two to five times as much transit service per capita, so there’s correspondingly more ridership per capita.”

Suburban neighbourhoods make it difficult for people to access public transportation, especially if they live by the cul-de-sac. While the 1960s pushed Americans to find independence through their automobiles, Europeans maintained their transit system and improved it to reach less major cities. Transit blogger Alon Levy said, “In 1912, Boston had this great public transit system, with four subway lines and streetcars that fed it. Then they spent the next 60 or 70 years destroying it.” David King, a professor of urban planning at Columbia University, points out that, “Transit in the US is caught in a vicious cycle. We push for low fares for social reasons, but that starves the transit agency, which leads to reduced service.”

U.S. bus and transit systems have limited their operating hours. For a long time, Americans have been biassed on public transit. Conservatives are less likely to want to spend on a service that serves as a social program for the lower class. United States bus stops are spaced more closely together than they should be. If the bus stops were spaced further away, the speed of the bus would increase and reach more areas for reliability. Nonetheless, ridership for public transit is increasing, and people are more willing to experiment life on the bus to drive the United States towards a future with fewer cars. It’ll definitely be tough since Tesla will be turning heads with their cars.


Join Our Mailing List

Recent Articles

Hey! Are you enjoying NYCTastemakers? Make sure to join our mailing list for NYCTM and never miss the chance to read all of our articles!