Traffic behavior changed with high gas prices
In response to high gas prices, people reduce the usage of private cars, rely more on public transit, or change their work schedules.
Washington's Seattle Times (7/5, Pugh) noted that "Evidence is mounting of a wholesale change in the way Americans commute," as transportation experts "predict a more lasting impact on what we drive, how we drive, and investment in mass transit."
The Chicago Tribune (7/4, Burns) reported that "Analysts projecting today's high fuel costs into the future foresee a startling decline in cars on the road," a decline that would put "a serious dent in America's bedrock car culture."
According to the Los Angeles Times (7/5, Reyes), high gas prices have created a "surge in Metrolink ridership" that is crowding the system and its parking lots. Transit passenger Robbie Frandsen wrote in the report that "[n]early every dialogue on board" the Metrolink system soon turns to “The Conversation: how our foreign oil addiction has forced us out of our cars." Meanwhile, Orange County is adding capacity requirements for parking lots planned for its train stations. "Until recently, 300 parking spaces were required at newly built stations," but a "new standard we're now demanding is 500 spaces," according to a transportation authority official.
Likewise, columnist Derrick Z. Jackson wrote in the Boston Globe(7/5) that subway use was up "nearly nine percent" in Boston in the first quarter of this year, while subway use and "commuter rail transit" in New York City were also up. Use of the Amtrak Acela train between Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C., "grew 20 percent last year" as well. The Northeast Corridor is not alone in its clamoring for public transit. Jackson noted that light rail demand "is way up in cities like Baltimore, Minneapolis, St. Louis, and San Francisco."
In California's Union-Tribune (7/5, Sidener), report covered employer-led initiatives for the “gas-price-pain relief." Options include "van pooling" and "pretax payroll deductions to buy public transportation passes," or new schedules of “compressed workweek,” which is typically four 10-hour days together with three-day weekends.
(Courtesy of ICMA News for the News sources)