Gas Prices and Transit Use Rise Together in Atlanta
Atlanta gets included in a recent analysis comparing gas prices to transit use from 2002 to 2009. Atlantic Cities has the report.
A quote from the article:
Over the course of about a year…one major rise in fuel cost in Atlanta led to about a 64 percent rise in bus ridership.
That’s a huge spike. A look at the graphics accompanying the article reveals that Atlanta is among the cities with the highest “elasticities” for bus ridership (less so for rail). The fact that Atlanta’s built environment is so heavily weighted for car use makes the spike all the more impressive.
Another quote from the article:
The upshot of this analysis is a recognition that automobile use does not occur in isolation. It’s strongly tied to both gasoline prices and the quality of the public transit system. Increase the first and improve the second, says Lane, and you may well find that America’s love for the road is founded less on hard concrete than on an artificially soft market.
I wonder which would be more difficult to achieve on a large scale in our metro — a right-sizing of our artificially low gas prices or an increase in the quality of public transit.
Photo of Atlanta by Flickr user LauraFries.com