Addicted to Their Cars

Commuting in the Washington region is brutal, and no let-up is in sight.
February 14, 2005, 12pm PST | Peter Buryk
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A recent survey conducted by the Washington Post revieled some disturbing behaviors and mentalities about commuting. Despite having one of the best public transit systems in the nation, Metro, three out of four commuters in the region drive alone to and from work. Many site a lack of access either at home or at work as the primary reason for not using the system. Others complained about decreasing realibility that has plagued Metro in the last year. "Our transportation systems are breaking down and failing," said Virginia Transportation Commissioner Philip A. Shucet. "We are quickly coming to a point where we're not able to provide a minimum level of service in our core transportation needs." However, 33% of drivers who could realistically use public transportation still choose to drive, and they find themselves increasingly stuck in traffic. Sixty percent of Washington-area commuters languish in gricklock at least once a week. "There's nothing we can do to fix it," said Dan Tangherlini, the District's transportation director. "There are things we can do to try to influence it. But it is a little frustrating when most people sit around and agree that people are making all the wrong choices and yet more and more people are doing it."

Thanks to Peter Buryk

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Published on Sunday, February 13, 2005 in The Washington Post
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