Just Around the Corner: The Future of U.S. Public Transportation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - impacts, place - north america, planning - travel demand management, policy - equity


Mobility, Public transportation


Nearly 40 years ago when I was contemplating my first full-time job offer from a highly regarded transit agency, many folks told me what an exciting time it was for public transportation, as we were “just around the corner” from a revolution and renaissance. Growth, urbanization, fuel availability and price concerns, environmental sensitivities, and a growing reluctance to presume that urban roadway expansion could meet travel needs provided a logical basis for such prognostications. The compelling appeal of the personally owned automobile has repeatedly been underestimated—there was no turning point. Transit’s relative role in terms of market share faded through the mid-1970s, followed by fluctuations and a modest overall growth trend in total ridership but slightly declining per capita use. More recently, the recessionary increase in ridership has been offset by decline during the recent economic recovery.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by the Journal of Public Transportation, copyright remains with them.