Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Message from the UK: Make the public transport network comprehensive

Make the public transport network comprehensive

As far as I know, North America is unique in that it has populated areas where the only access is by private vehicle. These will either be suburbs or free standing small towns. This brings the following deleterious effects:

1. Almost total car dependence for those who live in these areas – including those who really shouldn't be driving due to infirmity.

2. The need for many local residents, even those who live in areas served by public transport, to own cars to enable them to access these areas. (Carshare is also an option, but at present it is very much a niche market.)

3. The tendency for visitors arriving by plane (or, sometimes, inter-city train or bus) to proceed automatically to the car hire desk for the final section of their journey, even when the public transport option does exist.

I therefore call for the US to develop a public transport system which covers not only the cities and main inter-city routes but also the wealth of suburban centres, smaller communities and key visitor attractions that cover the nation. This would, I believe, do more than any other single measure to bring it into line with the rest of the industrialised world.

Simon Norton,
Cambridge, UK

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