Why and Where Driving is a Rational Choice

A recently released tool for analyzing the efficiency of travel modes in cities around the country reveals that driving is almost always a better choice—at least in travel time—than transit.
July 8, 2014, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Emily Badger follows up on a set of visualization tools recently released by the MIT Media Lab on the You Are Here website:

"Two things are particularly striking [about the visualizations]: Cycling is a much more efficient mode of transportation than many people realize. And transit is startlingly not so. Seldom will it get you farther, faster, than a bike will." Moreover, "[very] little of the city — just one tiny patch of it — is accessed fastest by transit. This picture would no doubt look different if we removed bikes from the calculation entirely and simply compared cars and transit. But even then, the city would still look more broadly accessible to you from behind the wheel of a car."

As Badger points out, that trend holds true in many of the country's largest cities, and, thus, "these maps illustrate why people make rational calculations to drive so much of the time, even in cities where decent transit does exist."

Badger goes on to cite Manhattan as a model for what it takes to bring the efficiency of transit in line with that of the automobile.

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Published on Monday, July 7, 2014 in The Washington Post - Wonkblog
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