Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Portland is nationally renowned for our use of light-rail transit, adding to our reputation as one of the "greenest" cities in America. With the praise we receive for our light-rail infrastructure, we continue to expand MAX lines to provide greater access to the Portland-area community. However, when one examines the data of transit ridership over time we discover that the increase in ridership is not keeping up with population growth. While the numbers of riders are consistently increasing, the percentage of commuters in relation to the population is actually slightly decreasing. In 1980 9.8% of Portland-area commuters used public transit, today that number is only 7.5%. If we expect to continue touting our city as the progressive model for light-rail use, then it is important that we do more than expand MAX lines and find solutions to increase the percentage of the population that use MAX.