Thursday, June 2, 2011

Brookings' Pro-transit Report Gets Slammed by Its Own Data

One thing stuck with me from the X-Files: The Truth Is Out There!

Like the City's EIS which clearly show that after spending $5.5 Billion the transit share will increase from 5.6% now to 6.6% in 2030, and that congestion with rail in 2030 will be far worse than it is now, other transit reports although word-smithed to tell a pro-transit story, actually reveal how poorly transit does, particularly rail transit.

In May 2011, The Brookings' Institution published the pro-transit report Missed Opportunity: Transit and Jobs in Metropolitan America where it made major proclamations like:
  • The typical metropolitan resident can reach about 30% jobs in their metropolitan area via transit in 90 minutes.
The typical commute in the nation is about 30 minutes and if one has a private vehicle, he or she can reach over two thirds of the jobs in the metropolitan area. But in transit, he or she can reach only an (astounding) 4%, by Brookings' own survey numbers!

Wendell Cox had a good time this study in his Transit: The 4 Percent Solution.
  • Among the 29 metropolitan areas with a more than 2,000,000 population, the 45 minute job access average was 5.6 percent, ranging from 12.6 percent in Boston to 1.3 percent in Riverside-San Bernardino.
CATO Institute's Randall O'Toole adds this: Simply putting transit close to jobs, however, doesn't mean people will ride it. The Brookings Institution recently ranked San Jose as the second-most transit-accessible urban area in America, while Chicago was ranked 46th. Yet the Census Bureau says only 3.4% San Jose commuters use transit, compared with 13.2% Chicago.

Finally let's not forget that many transit surveys are biased. They exclude, walk, wait and transfer time losses, much like the City's proclamation that Kapolei to downtown will be about 40 minutes. This excludes the access time to the Kapolei station which by itself is at least 15 minutes from the time one leaves home to the time that the train leaves the station. Add at least 5 to 10 minutes to reach the office and he or she more time commuting to work than by car, has no car to run errands or do other things after work, and has to repeat the long commute on the way home.

All this inconvenience for $5 a day leads to the ultimate result: It's a 4% solution indeed!