With ridership at record lows and agencies struggling to stay afloat, public transit around the world will need robust investment to recover after the pandemic.
After a year of coronavirus lockdowns and a massive shift to remote work, public transit systems around the world are seeing plummeting ridership and revenue, leading to cuts and layoffs. The London Underground, one of the world's busiest systems, has been operating at around 20 percent of its usual capacity.
Somini Sengupta, Geneva Abdul, Manuela Andreoni, and Veronica Penney argue in the New York Times that declining transit ridership spells disaster for our collective efforts to address climate change. "Public transit offers a relatively simple way for cities to lower their greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention a way to improve air quality, noise and congestion." Now, "transportation experts are scrambling to figure out how to better adapt public transit to the needs of riders as cities begin to emerge from the pandemic" and counter the trend of private vehicle purchases.
Transit agencies face a monumental challenge. "If commuters shun public transit for cars as their cities recover from the pandemic, that has huge implications for air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, if transit systems continue to lose passenger fare revenues, they will not be able to make the investments necessary to be efficient, safe and attractive to commuters."
The challenge for cities, write the authors, is to maintain and improve public transit systems now so that riders will eventually return. "People will feel more comfortable traveling in a new modern public transit system," said Mohamed Mezghani, head of the International Association of Public Transport. "It’s about perception in the end."
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
Hawai’i Transportation Projects Receive Federal Grants
State officials say they need around $15 billion to mitigate the impacts of rising seas.
Feds Announce Over $3 Billion in Homelessness Assistance Funding
The Continuum of Care grants are directed to programs that provide supportive services and boost housing stability.
AI’s Growing Threat to Climate Justice
Emerging technologies like AI have great promise for climate innovation, but also a hidden environmental footprint could lead to disproportionate harm to low-income and marginalized communities.
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Harvard GSD Executive Education
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.