Title

Impacts of Rail Transit on the Performance of a Transportation System

Authors

Todd Litman

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2005

Subject Area

operations - traffic, operations - performance, infrastructure - vehicle, planning - environmental impact, land use - impacts, policy - environment, policy - congestion, economics - benefits, organisation - performance, mode - rail

Keywords

Vehicle miles of travel, United States, Traffic congestion, Social benefits, Ridership, Rail transit, Patronage (Transit ridership), Impacts, Gridlock (Traffic), Environmental impacts, Environmental effects, Economic benefits, Cities, Benefits, Automobile ownership

Abstract

This paper summarizes research on the effects of rail transit on the performance of transportation systems in major U.S. cities. It summarizes results from the study "Rail Transit In America: Comprehensive Evaluation of Benefits," which evaluates rail transit benefits on the basis of comparison of transportation system performance in major U.S. cities. It finds that cities with larger, well-established rail systems have significantly higher per capita transit ridership, lower average per capita vehicle ownership and mileage, less traffic congestion, lower traffic death rates, and lower consumer transportation expenditures than otherwise comparable cities. These findings indicate that rail transit systems can provide a variety of economic, social, and environmental benefits and that benefits tend to increase as a system expands and matures.