Economic factors are increasingly being used as an excuse to gut funding for much needed rail transportation in the LA area. I was researching some advertising data for a client when I came across some interesting demographics and traffic facts about Los Angeles. Did you know that Los Angeles has the top 5 congestion points in the United States? The research didn't show exactly where they are but I still believe it. It is also no secret that the longest commute times in America belong to Angelenos.
What was surprising though is that 98% of LA commutes are made in automobiles. Why should that be surprising? With an extensive bus system, good weather for walking, large number of bicyclists and unfortunatley not so extensive rail system, you would think the percentage would be higher but not so according to the folks that sell billboard and bus shelter advertising. With nearly 13 million people living in the Los Angeles metro area, which take in Orange, and parts of Ventura, Riverside, San Bernadino and perhaps parts of San Diego counties and with all of these people needing to get from one place to another the regional transportation system is obviously over burdened and contributing to unwelcome side effects such as urban decay. Just think of the staggering amount of idling horsepower sitting under the hoods of all of those cars burning precious fuel
What many folks don't realize is that a healthy functioning transportation system increases productivity, saves energy and just plain leads to a more enjoyable life. Keeping our focus on a well thought out integrated transportation system that uses what we have better and builds on more efficient means of moving people such as light rail, subways, regional rail and high speed rail will change our communities and cities and allow future growth and avoid stagnation and eventual disintegration of a great metro area.