Speed Reads

Car Culture

America is terrible at public transportation

America is terrible at public transportation

For the first time since World War II, young Americans (in this case, millennials) drive less than previous generations. Just why this is happening is a matter of dispute, though probably the recession and changing living habits have a lot to do with it. (As a card-carrying millennial myself, I strongly dislike driving and don't own a car.)

This has led many to speculate that the whole structure of American transportation may be due for a change. Perhaps trains, buses, and bikes are the wave of the future! That may be so, but the country would have a very long way to go. Only New York City and Washington, D.C, have anything approaching a reasonably comprehensive intra-city public transport system, and only Los Angeles is doing anything close to the upgrades needed to create one. As a result, more than three-quarters of Americans still commute by driving alone, according to the Department of Transportation. Transit comes in at a measly 5 percent:

Back in 2000, the proportions were nearly identical. That's what six decades of cars-first transportation policy gets you.