In 2010, only 4.9 percent of all workers in the United States utilized their local public transit systems on their daily commutes to and from the office; a statistic that already took a dip from 5 percent in 2009, according to an article in the Huffington Post.
Defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as subway, bus, railroad, ferry, streetcar, trolley or elevated rail, the public transit system has been an integral part of every city’s economy, for those regions that choose to commit more fully to investing in this means of transportation.
Boston came fourth in the most recent, publically-available Census (2009), coming after the metro areas of Washington DC (3rd), San Francisco (2nd), and New York-New Jersey (1st), where almost one third of the working population rely on the city’s transit system to commute to their jobs.
For many commuters, it is not simply the proximity to public transit systems that factors in to the usage of such amenities. As indicated by the Census, only thirty percent of jobs are accessible with a ninety-minute public transportation commute, even though at least seventy percent of people live within a very walkable, three-quarter mile radius of transit stops. At ninety minutes, such a commute is already well above the average commute time in the US, which sits closer to twenty-five minutes one-way.
Sitting at #4, Boston’s MBTA system consists of 12 commuter rail lines, 4 rapid transit lines, 5 light rail lines and 183 bus routes that reach almost 300 stops, collectively; the daily ridership can reach up to 1,350,000 on an average weekday, setting an all-time-high record only last month. Adapting to the growing demand for higher accessibility for commuters, the MBTA is constantly working to expand their transit systems within the Greater Boston Area, with multiple projects currently underway, including an extension of the Green Line into the Somerville/Medford area, and the Blue Line towards Charles/MGH.
Photo by bill8 Morrow, Flickr Creative Commons.