Commentary

Transit captures just 3% of decline in auto travel

Our friend Wendell Cox has crunched the numbers on transit increases and declines in automobile travel over the last year. High prices have sent travel on our urban roadways down about 25%. Urban transit increased by about 1% (in overall travel, not riders). The result, on net, is a market share of 3% of the decline. The good news: markets work. We are not “addicted” to cars. As the cost of driving them goes up, we reduce our travel. The bad news: much of this lower travel demand may reflect people forgoing the benefits of mobility as they stay home and don’t get out as much, don’t patronize the movie theater, or got to restaurants.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.