Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Joy of Mass Transit

Mass transit has long been the butt of jokes and an easy target for criticism.  After all, most of us have endured the misery of being trapped in a bus or subway car with noisy, obnoxious or hostile passengers.  Then there's the history of inefficiency, unreliable service and the need to change vehicles in order to reach our destination.

Fortunately, modern transit systems are beginning to alleviate some of those concerns.  Today, I took advantage of Denver's light rail system to visit the downtown area; as we zipped along between a series of stations, I took note of the morning gridlock on I-25, caused primarily by single occupant vehicles.  Soon to extend to the International Airport and to northern neighborhoods of the Metro Area, Denver's network of trains has provided convenience to citizens and visitors while spawning residential and commercial development near its many stations across southern and western portions of the city.

One's attitude about mass transit is generally related to his/her dependence on the system and/or to their personal commitment to conservation.  As we face the threat of global warming, the quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness of urban transit systems will become increasingly important.  When these systems work well, riders are rewarded by both the experience and by the knowledge that their patronage is good for the environment (see No More Roads).