Automobile Useage

We need mass transit, but many people will still prefer or need to drive, so we still need improved streets and highways. Improved mass transit will attract many drivers and reduce the need for improved highways.

Let's face it: most car owners would rather drive than take mass transit. A car is just too convenient. You can leave when you want, take the route you want, go where you want, and stop wherever you want along the way. No public transport system can match this level of convenience.

People who like to drive most of the time may find it not so pleasant an experience when driving to work or school in rush hour traffic, especially if they have trouble finding a parking space or must pay a lot of money for parking. These drivers are good candidates for mass transit if the service is fast enough and convenient enough.

Another problem for many people is the unreliability of their driving time. Perhaps on most days they can drive to work to work in 30 minutes, but on some days there is an accident or bad weather and it might take 45 or 60 minutes to get to work. If it is important to be to work on time every day, they have to leave early enough every day to take into account the days they are delayed. So they allow 60 minutes for the trip, even though most days they arrive at work 30 minutes early.

If mass transit maintains a dependable schedule, let's say a 30-minute trip every day, regardless of weather or traffic jams, the person in the previous paragraph can leave for work 30 minutes later every day, and this will be enough to move many drivers to mass transit.

Grade-separated transit can usually provide this level of dependable service. This means a subway, elevated railway, monorail, or PRT.


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©2003 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last updated 7 September 2015.