Transit trumps traffic in NYC population boom

The years between 2003 and 2008 saw an employment and population boom for New York City. But that didn’t translate into a crush of vehicular traffic.

A report released this week by Bruce Schaller, New York’s deputy transportation commissioner for planning and sustainability, shows that the influx of residents embraced mass transit, as opposed to cars, trucks and SUVs.

According to the New York Times, the study is the first of its kind to analyze the city’s mid-2000s era, which saw New York adding more than 200,000 jobs and 130,000 new residents.

As the Times article points out:

…virtually the entire increase in New Yorkers’ means of transportation during those robust years occurred in mass transit, with a surge in subway, bus and commuter rail riders.

The city’s sprawling public transportation system was able to handle such a surge because of vast improvements in service in recent years, Mr. Schaller said, as well as the advent of the MetroCard, which made using the system more efficient. A steep drop in crime made people more willing to use the system, and the construction of housing in areas well served by subways also brought in many more riders.

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