This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Human Transit just posted an excellent graph, showing how strongly what country a city is in influences its use of public transit.
Why is the US so low on this graph? It’s not like we’re comparing to Europe or Asia – this is Canada and Australia, the two countries most like the US that I can think of. Jerrett believes it’s our decentrallized business parks. I agree, but what caused those? What makes the US so special when it comes to wanting our offices out in the middle of nowhere? Surely urban land is more expensive than suburban land in other countries as well. Is this yet another effect caused by our subsidized freeway system? Or is this just a cultural effect, perhaps caused by executives wanting their work near their home?
In his post, Jerrett also mentions the power of the stick to get people on transit. Sydney is up near Canadian levels partly because parking downtown can be $60 a day. I propose that’s partly the reason the four US cities named are so high above our average. They’re all geographically constrained, and therefore are difficult and expensive to drive to and park.