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Public Transit Ridership Will Fall; Traffic Congestion Will Increase

TRANSPORT 2020: From the Report Itself


The commuter rail proposal is not going to reduce the number of cars on the road!

(An inconvenient truth for rail proponents.) 

[Source: Transport 2020 Executive Summary]


Executive Summary of the Final Report, Page ES-2 August 23, 2002

Taken from the report, verbatim:

Defining the Problem. Dane County and the greater Madison metropolitan area have experienced steady growth in population and employment. Projections between 1990 and 2020 indicate that trend will accelerate, resulting in population, employment and vehicle trips all increasing 35%-45%. With the number of increased vehicle trips adding to the already-congested core travel corridors, expanded transit (utilizing a fixed guideway or using the rail corridors, rather than buses in mixed traffic) is one option for increasing mobility using existing transportation facilities.


Public transit ridership is anticipated to increase, regardless of the composition of the mass transit system of the future. However,public transit’s share of trips in the region is projected to decrease slightly, from 2.4% to 2.2% of all trips over that period (even with improvements to transit service), primarily because the number of trips made by private vehicle is also anticipated to increase. This overall increase in private vehicle trips tends to increase the demand for more and wider roads.


In addition, this factor may accelerate a change in the geographic landscape for the greater Madison metropolitan area - away from compact, walkable communities. Regional land use/growth management strategies can help create walkable communities in urbanizing areas, but changes in transportation infrastructure also can have a major impact on urban form.


Recognizing the trends, the Transport 2020 advisory committees developed a problem statement for the study that recognized the fact that overall mobility in the region, particularly in the Isthmus area, was getting worse. The problem statement, an assessment of the purpose and need for the study recognized that increasing roadway capacity is both difficult due to geographic constraints, particularly in the Isthmus, and undesirable due to environmental and land use impacts. Major public transit improvements were identified as possible options to address these problems.”



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