Chart of the Day: Transit Use per capita for Global Metros

I’m going through some really old chart links in my “Charts/Maps” folder, I don’t know why. Here’s one from that shows public transit usage versus urban “service area populations” for different cities.

(Twin Cities isn’t on here, but you get the idea)


Canadian cities have much higher per-capita transit ridership, according to Vox, even for “comparable” cities like Vancouver/Seattle or Calgary/Portland.  Here’s the point:

Although history and geography are partly to blame, there’s a deeper reason why American public transportation is so terrible. European, Asian, and Canadian cities treat it as a vital public utility. Most American policymakers — and voters — see transit as a social welfare program.

That is absolutely the case here in the Twin Cities as well, and you can see that in the proposed budget cuts to transit that are in place for the 2019 budget year.

This is old data, and things are changing, but not that much. is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.


2 Responses to Chart of the Day: Transit Use per capita for Global Metros

  1. Alex Schieferdecker
    Alex Schieferdecker March 16, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

    One other factor in Canada is parking policy. I know in Calgary, parking in the downtown is scarce, and mostly owned by the city government, which prices it highly. There are strong incentives for people to park and ride on the C-Train. I can’t speak to governance in Ottawa and Vancouver, but my experience parking in those cities also suggests that prices are high.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke March 16, 2018 at 7:29 pm #

      Parking is a huge driver (sic) of driver behavior! Really important if a city is serious about achieveing meaningful behavior changes.

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