Transit pulling ahead of driving in growth rate |

Transit pulling ahead of driving in growth rate

Cathy TuttleSpecial to the Post Independent

According to the Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP), for the first time ever, the growth in national transit ridership has exceeded the growth in driving for five years in a row. From 2000 to 2001, transit (bus) ridership increased by nearly 2 percent, with driving growing at half that rate, 1 percent, during the same period. In fact, taking into account growth in population, miles driven per person have dropped slightly in the last year. At the same time, transit use per person has increased.Twenty percent more Americans use transit today than did in 1995. Altogether, more than 9.5 billion trips were made by transit in 2001, the highest number of trips in more than 40 years.It is estimated that 90 percent of American households have access to an automobile. STPP’s report states that while the American preference for driving is often cited as the reason for low transit usage, a new Bureau of Transportation Statistics survey found that only 41 percent of nontransit users cited this reason for not taking the bus or train.The Surface Transportation Policy Project stated that a higher percentage – 47 percent – said they did not use public transit because it was unavailable for the destinations or times they were traveling.Investment leadsto transit growthOn a national basis when transit trips are “competitive” with automobile travel, people choose transit at a high rate, and this is part of the reason for transit’s recent growth. Many systems that have invested in added transit capacity have been experiencing annual ridership growth in the double digits. Even though STPP is not clear as to the reasons for the slowdown in the growth in driving, they do know that additional road capacity is doing little to stem rising traffic congestion. In other words, building more roads will not necessarily solve traffic congestion problems.Construction reportfor Glenwood SpringsSewer main replacement is under way along the railroad tracks west of Roaring Fork Drive, south of the high school. Periodic closure of Roaring Fork Drive in the area will be necessary this week. Alternative routes are advised.A new fire hydrant is going to be installed in South Grand Avenue Nov. 13 at the 23rd Street intersection south of the railroad crossing. Vehicles southbound on Grand Avenue will not be able to turn right onto the 2300 block of South Grand Avenue. People needing to access the 2300 thru 2500 block of South Grand should use 27th Street.Conversion of overhead to underground electric lines will continue in the front and back yards in the Park Drive – Polo Road Subdivision. This should have little effect on traffic.The Electric Department will be pulling fiber optic cable on County Road 116, in North Glenwood, and on 27th and Glen Avenue. The Electric Department will also be pulling electric cable at 19th and Palmer for the new hospital addition construction and in the Western Pines Subdivision.They also will be working on Christmas lighting throughout Glenwood Springs.Cathy Tuttle is with the consulting firm of Tuttle Marketing and Communications and is the TRY/TDM manager/consultant for the city of Glenwood Springs. For additional information please call 384-6427 or e-mail to This column will appear every Monday to explain how each person in our community can make a difference in our quality of life. Transportation Responsibility & You – one day at a time, one trip at a time!

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