A new report from the American Public Transportation Association released on Monday puts the level of public transportation users at its highest since 1956. More than 10.65 billion passenger trips were taken last year.
One of the conclusions drawn from the report’s data refutes the idea that public transit use rises and falls in response to factors such as gas prices and population growth. The previous high water mark since the ’50s was 2008 (10.59 billion rides), but gas prices were higher then than they are now.
Elsewhere, “From 1995 to 2013, transit ridership rose 37 percent,” according to The New York Times, “well ahead of a 20 percent growth in population and a 23 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled.”
In terms of total share of the country’s commuter population, however, transit use is far below what it was a half-century ago:
In 1960, 12.1% of commuters took public transportation. That dropped to 8.9% 10 years later to 6.2% in 1980 … By 2000, the percentage was 4.6%, but it rose at the end of the decade. Transit’s share of the transportation mode was 5% in 2012.
Among the cities which saw the largest gains in passenger trips are New York City, Seattle, Miami Houston, and Los Angeles.