Public Transit Ridership Highest in Decades

A March 10, 2014 article in METRO magazine summarized a recent report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) showing that 10.7 billion trips were taken on public transportation.  This is the highest annual ridership number in the past 57 years.

Interestingly, the article states:

Overall, while vehicle miles traveled on roads (VMT) went up 0.3%, public transportation use in 2013 increased by 1.1%. It was the eighth year in a row that more than 10 billion trips were taken on public transportation systems nationwide.

Further, a quote from APTA President Michael Melaniphy clarifies the situation:

“There is a fundamental shift going on in the way we move about our communities. People in record numbers are demanding more public transit services and communities are benefiting with strong economic growth,”

Click HERE for access to the complete APTA report.

We conclude that people are willing to use public transit as long as those fixed routes take them to places that they need to be on a daily basis, and each commuter who trades their car for a bus or train reduces congestion on the highways.  If these ridership numbers drop and more people drive to work, congestion (and likely fender benders) will increase also.

Traffic Congestion Accelerating thru 2013

According to a recent article in Heavy Duty Trucking (click HERE), “A new report shows traffic congestion in the U.S. increased last year after two consecutive years of declines and is growing faster than the nation’s economy.”

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That report being cited is the 7th Annual Traffic Scorecard Report by a company called INRIX (click HERE).

Why is it important to know that congestion is rising?

  1. indicator of economic recovery
  2. predictor of crash rates (higher congestion should produce more fender-benders)
  3. impact on fuel, idling and lost productivity (from sitting in stalled traffic)
  4. indicator of unemployment trends (when people are unemployed, they’re not commuting to work, but when they accept new jobs much further from home, they commute longer distances in unfamiliar territories)
  5. indicator to the government planners that road capacities need to be monitored and infrastructure improved

TeleMaticsMany of the issues facing fleet operators due to congestion can be addressed through the use of an inexpensive, easy to use, plug-n-play telematics system like the one offered by SafetyFirst (the GO platform from GEOTAB).

With simple reporting, fleets can monitor and adjust their habits to conserve fuel, increase routing efficiency, avoid congestion and increase productivity.  On top of all that, the data can provide additional insights into safety especially when you blend MVR data, past crash data and How’s my driving data into a single behavior profile through our E-DriverFile system.

Have you seen increases in congestion in your area of the country?  If so, how have your operators been coping with the added delays and stress?  Is your company looking to lower fuel spend and increase safety through telematics?