Public Transit in the U.S. Could Be Better. So Why Isn’t It?
Aditi Shrikant considers the current state of transit in the United States and reasons for the lack of public concern about quality of service and public investments. Ridership here is much lower than in Asian and European countries, and Shrikant points out that the most robust transit systems are in large northern and coastal cities.
American public transit has faced a myriad of problems, including safety issues, political resistance and controversy, and negative public perceptions. One reason it has not improved may be that Americans do not use public transit enough or fully understand how systems operate, and so they have less interest in transit policy and funding.
Another possibility is that the United States has not developed the kinds of modern transit systems seen in other countries. As a result, it lags behind in providing the state-of-the-art transit needed to transport large numbers of people.
One solution to boost public transit looks to shift travelers’ incentives rather than focusing on expanding transit systems, reports Shrikant. For example, higher gas prices and congestion charges are two disincentives to driving that encourage people to move to transit.