As noted by this post, the figure of “transit boardings per person per year” is something of a simplistic measure (particularly given issues around what’s included and what isn’t, and whether public transport networks are structured to encourage single vehicle journeys, or anywhere-to-anywhere trips using lots of transfers).
But still, it does help give a rough indication of how cities are doing at getting people on board public transport — in terms of service quality, urban form, and the strength of central cities.
The article above had figures for Seattle, Vancouver and Portland, and I’ve tried to pull together some figures from elsewhere.
I don’t have the time to go meticulously hunting down these figures, so for Tokyo and Hong Kong I’ve used the figures here, which date back to 1990 and ideally should be updated. It’s interesting to note that their figure for Sydney in 1990 was 160 — as best I can tell, this has dropped markedly. Perth was 54, and this has gone up to 74, perhaps reflecting the great stuff they’ve been doing, particularly with the expansion of their rail system. Likewise, Vancouver has gone from 117 to 147.
And Melbourne? Thanks to Sydney’s fall, we appear to be the highest of any Australian capital city.
A big factor in these figures is the quality of service. If it’s not there, you can’t use it. If there’s a frequent network of services, you can use it for more than just the daily commute.
Another big factor is the city itself — urban form and population density. But that’s a topic for another day.
- Note: these figures were compiled as a quick and dirty exercise. Please verify them if you’re thinking about re-using them elsewhere.