Posted by: Peter Black | February 2, 2009

When it Comes to Public Transit, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is…

Transforming U.S. Transit
310 American Metro Areas Saw an Increase in Transit Demand between 2007 and 2008
Map 1 (Interactive):
Transforming U.S. Transit

As we’ve recently reported, EDF is working hard to ensure that public transit gets its fair share of funding in the House’s economic stimulus package. So far so good.

However, there’s still work to be done in the Senate, so I created a new map that shows us a more complete picture of where, why, and how America is going to begin the process of increasing its transit infrastructure.

I created a mashup of four transit related databases integrated onto this one map:

  • Cities showing increased demand for public transit between 2007 and 2008, from the National Transit Database
  • Where transit cuts are proposed, a map created by Tranportation for America.
  • What projects could start right away? Another map from Transportation for America showing the proverbial low-hanging fruit.
  • And examples of transit innovations from across the country, an EDF original map of programs from Bikeshare to Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), and everything in between.

While I had already created a map depicting transit growth, this new integrated map also sports more recent data.

Do you rely upon public transportation? Would you like to see it expanded along with innovative new programs to help you get from point A to point B? Tell us at EDF how you think this might help you or the folks in your area…write a comment!



  1. I live in Dallas, Texas and I do rely upon public transportation. While the light rail is in the process of expansion, the system is hardly “seamless.” Regardless, the spike in ridership during last year’s gas price hike seems to have influenced some long-term behavior, as ridership is still up.

  2. Here in the North Bay Area of California (in what is known as ‘wine country’, just north of San Francisco), and in all of the state, is to have its state public transport funds cut by 100%. Please help us inform Gov. Schwarznegger that this is illogical.

    Many Thanks!

  3. We have a new light rail in New Mexico that runs from Belen to Santa Fe. It has been so popular that they have had to add extra cars and although it was originally only scheduled to run week-days, after the tracks to Santa Fe were finished, they added Saturday runs as well. There has been discussion of adding Sunday also. New Mexico is a sparcely populated state, but the Rail Runner serves the most populous area, and outlying towns are now clammering to have rails added to reach them.

  4. I wrote a children’s poetry book about buses beautifully illustrated by Ed Huston of Boulder, Colorado. I’ve always thought it would be useful to promote bus travel. If anyone knows a way to promote this idea I would very much like to hear from them. My email address is


  5. I’m a college student living in Manhattan. I’ve seen my fair share of crowded subways and I’ve spent a great deal of time sitting around at stations waiting for a train (don’t even get my started on service in Brooklyn. To hear that they are raising prices was the first blow. As a student, I live in hopes that I can afford to buy the necessary groceries each week. My second big expense would have to be transit. Though, the fair hikes are probably overdue- the second blows were shocking. On top of (and despite of) raised prices, jobs will be lost and service will be cut. Baffled by the contradictions, I researched and learned how bankrupt our transit system is. With all my high hopes for a “Green” NYC, I wonder how long will it take these issues to get fixed if nothing is done. We simply cannot have people going back to driving cars in the city for so many different reasons and especially with warmer seasons coming (The warm air seems to make the polluted air 10x worse).

  6. Great to hear all of your stories…we’re working hard to ensure that transit has a big future! Keep it up!

  7. While some of these governments say that they cannot afford mass transit. They also cannot afford to cut its funding. The money they think they’ll be saving will go toward additional street maintenance.

  8. An update on my earlier post: Dallas is looking at a rate hike – on individual rides and employer passes – in the coming year.

  9. why support public tran when those of us who support the 2nd amendment are not allowed to ride.

  10. It is really really good news that more people are not using cars but public transportation. However even though if you don’t have a car you can use the public transportation people don’t have the money to pay the ride. So, in my opinion I believe that we should have a system in which people can ride their bicycles. For example, someone that lives about 1 mile or so away of their tennis court or something but they have to cross the freeway, have no money, and no car, so in this case the person cannot possibly get to the tennis court and play. So my point is that we should have some bicycle routes in which cars arent present.

  11. Here in Boston, our transit system (MBTA) has the highest debt in the nation- $8.1 billion dollars! The T-Riders Union, along with other grassroots groups, have appealed to our so-called progressive Governor Deval Patrick and the legislature to repeal this debt. Riders in Boston are facing their third rate hike in less than five years. Why is $80 billion given to insurance giant AIG, but one tenth of that can not be given to the MBTA to relieve its debt? Its time we demand greater access to affordable public transit as a right, not a privelege. Visit for more info.

  12. Here in Austin(not shown on map) Capital Metro has raised its fares in the fall 80% for monthly passes with a 8% reduction in ridership. No improvements for an already outdated buss system. While pouring millions into a rail line to nowhere that will be to small and out dated the the day it opens.

  13. I thought it was interesting that now carries a “walk score” to help people see what is within walking distance of their home.
    This is environmentally helpful for buyers and owners alike.

  14. That is cool suslaf…has anyone else heard about location efficient mortgages?

    I’m not sure if EDF staff is advocating for federal, state, and local governments to promote more of these, but I do know that our sister organization, NRDC, has been involved for quite some time:

  15. More on Dallas: “DART faces $45 million shortfall” ( Here in Dallas, public transit is funded pretty much exclusively from tax revenue. When the economy takes a turn like this, revenue falls, creating funding gaps for big capital projects like public transit expansion. Fare hikes, it seems to me, are temporary fixes for larger issues about how projects like these get funded.

  16. DART to receive $62M in stimulus funds: See We’ll see if this halts the planned fare hikes.

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