The city’s mass transit systems, notably the subway, have had a rough year. It seemed like almost every month, something went wrong—from signal malfunctions to power outages to overcrowding—resulting in huge delays across the subway system.
Meanwhile, bus service continues to lose riders as it faces its own issues, typically congested streets and slow service. The one highlight of the year was the launch of the new NYC Ferry service, but even that wasn’t able to thoroughly accommodate the wave of riders who flocked to the new waterway upon its opening.
With all of these factors at play, more and more commuters are shifting their focus to ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. However, this in turn leads to further congestion on the city’s already traffic-plagued roadways.
In a new video from Streetfilms, entitled “Unsustainable: Traffic 2018,” transportation experts weigh in on what the influx of vehicular traffic could mean for us in the near future.
“In New York, in 2017, we’re facing our worst transportation crisis in decades,” Jon Orcutt, Director of Communications & Advocacy at the TransitCenter, says in the video. “Subway breakdowns are a common occurrence, subway reliability is way down, and we’re shedding bus riders at an alarmingly accelerating pace.”
As a result, ridesharing apps are booming in business, but the video notes that this is not a sustainable way for the city to grow. As the population expands, so will street congestion and in order to keep things in some type of order, there must be adequate investment into fixing public transportation.
“Traffic is slowing down and some of that is because so many people are trying to use the streets, but the other half is that if you look at Uber and Lyft and Via, they are adding 20,000 to 25,000 more vehicles to city streets every year,” notes Bruce Schaller, Principle at Schaller Consulting, who also appears. “That means we’ve added over 600 million miles of motor vehicle traffic in New York City, over the last few years.”
Aside from increasing traffic, the decline of the subway system has also caused economic strains on the city’s business districts, to the tune of more than $300 million.
In order to address the city’s vehicular traffic problem, the video advocates for redesigning the streetscape to allow for more HOV lanes, implementing congestion pricing, and fleet management programs that help companies figure out how to make off-hour deliveries work for them.
- Unsustainable: Traffic 2018 [Streetfilms]
- MTA WTF: A visual timeline of the subway’s epic 2017 meltdown [Curbed]