Public Transport Use at Highest Level in 50 Years

According to a report released by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), public transportation in 2008 showed the highest level of ridership in 52 years with 10.7 billion trips.  APTA reports that this is a 4-percent increase over the number of trips taken in 2007 on public transportation. At the same time, vehicle miles traveled (VMTs) on our nation's roads declined by 3.6 percent in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The transit ridership record continues a long-term trend of ridership growth. Public transportation use is up 38 percent since 1995, a figure that is almost triple the growth rate of the population (14 percent) and up substantially over the growth rate for the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) on our nation's highways (21 percent) for that same period, according to the report. 

For the second year in a row, ridership on public transportation increased in every quarter.  Light rail (modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) had the highest percentage of annual ridership increase among all modes, with an 8.3-ercent increase in 2008.  Commuter rail use increased by 4.7 percent while heavy rail (subways) ridership increased by 3.5 percent in 2008.

The complete APTA ridership report is available at: