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New York Transit Use is High – But So is Congestion

If high-density, transit-oriented-development, of the kind proposed by SunCal for Alameda Point gets people out of their cars, and minimizes traffic, then why do the highest transit-usage cities in America still have significant automobile traffic and congestion?

As reported by, roughly 55 percent of New York workers commuted by subway or bus in 2005, according to the American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. 33% of San Francisco workers used transit to get to work. 25% of workers in Chicago use transit, and 17% of Oaklanders use transit. So why do all of those cities still have traffic congestion, given the promises that high-density development with transit won’t generate additional traffic for Alameda?

The numbers are pretty much the same for 2005 as reported in 2004 based on data released at that time. New York City can achieve 55% transit usage, and San Francisco merely 31% to 33% Even setting a goal for Alameda Point of 30 to 33% transit usage by building high-density, we can expect traffic, and a quality of life, akin to San Francisco.

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