USA Today reports that “fewer Americans commuting solo.” As the story says, “The dismal economy and skyrocketing gas prices may have accomplished what years of advocacy failed to: getting more people to stop driving solo.”
To put some numbers on this, Wendell Cox
points out that the number of people commuting solo has declined from 104.86 to 105.64 million. That’s a minus 780,000-person decline, also known as an 780,000 person increase.
A few days ago, USA Today reported that “bikes rule the road” in Portland. In fact, the 17,000 people commuting to work by bicycle reported by USA Today increased to nearly 19,000 in 2011, but this still represents less than 7 percent of commuters. So in what sense can 7 percent “rule the road”? Perhaps only because the 202,000 commuters (73 percent) who drive to work live in fear of hitting a cyclist.
Meanwhile, Slate reports that Los Angeles will soon be “Americaâ€™s next great mass-transit city.” Apparently, the path to becoming a “great mass-transit city” requires the construction of a lot of rail transit for relatively wealthy people while cutting back on bus service for relatively poor people. In other words, intentions, not results, are the key.
As the Antiplanner’s faithful ally, Tom Rubin, points out, transit agencies today are planned and managed by the middle class who want to design transit systems for “people like us.” That means expensive trains, because “people like us” supposedly won’t stoop to riding a bus. If it means less transit service for “people like them,” meaning the working class, no one notices, because none of the middle-class planners and managers know any of the working class except as people who serve them meals and clean their offices.