| capacity effectively
is to rethink transportation as a consumer service not as a physical
fact of concrete and steel. What we have to do, therefore, is give people
choices that dont force them to live substandard lives or to give
up things they already have. So what we need to do instead is to maximize
choice. Give people financial incentives to choose another way or another
time to go to work. So what we really see, therefore, is time shifting:
go earlier, go later, place shifting: work from home, and mode shifting:
out of the car into the train. Those three shifts can easily get us
our five percent reduction that we need for congestion and then one
percent a year thereafter for about five more years. If we give more
choices, more people will go in different ways and well continue
to manage our way through the problem.
Our average occupancy during the peak hour is only 1.2 people in every
car, so theres a lot of cars that are just single occupancy.
If we can increase that number, to 1.5, for instance, wed have
a drastic reduction in traffic on the roadways during those peak hours
and actually wouldnt require any major improvements.
There are approximately 450,000 commuters daily in the Greater Hartford
Area and 80 to 85% of them are driving alone. Eighty-five percent
of those commuters go suburb to suburb which makes it very difficult
for non-automobile systems to to meet their needs because there
is insufficient density for transit, in particular.
residents value about their mobility and where they live, work and
shop, might be the most challenging problem for transportation planners.
What we find so lovely about commuting by ourselves is its convenient
and we can come and go when we want and were very happy if we
can park next to the desk for free. If we have to start paying for
parking, were not so happy. If we have to walk from the
from the car to a place where we work, were not so happy. But
were still probably more happy than if we had to be sharing
the early 1980s the CT DOT helped to start three not-for-profit corporations
to encourage more people to change their commuting habits.
Basically, our mission is to get people from driving alone into an
alternate form of transportation. Both for economic and environmental
reasons, were not going to take those two-lane highways and
make them four-lane highways, so weve got to look at managing
the system that we have in place. And when we talk about managing
the system we have in place, that means weve got to get people
into car pools and van pools and innovative forms of transit.
Share in Windsor, Metropool in Stamford, and Rideworks in New Haven
publish The Commuter Register,
The key is its a system, its a branded system and its
sold as a system. We dont anymore market it as van pooling because
van pooling doesnt really mean much to anyone. We market it
as a commuter system and we reserve a seat for you just as you would
reserve a seat on a train or a bus.
incentives and restrictive regulations also can greatly influence
We have a discipline called transportation demand management where
our philosophy is that we want people to pay more during peak hours,
we want to change land use planning regulations to favor more transit
friendly development. Politically its very unpopular because
were intervening with peoples free choice and free decision
making process. The purpose of dis-incentives is
to change peoples
behavior. Obviously regulations are one form to do it. You cant
travel or you cant take the car or only HOVs with 2 or
more occupants can use this lane, those are dis-incentives. But cost
is the other major factor in dis-incentives, can either be parking
charges so itll cost you more to drive your car and arrive at
a certain time at the parking garage. They could involve tolls on
If we can make it more enticing, maybe by giving a tax credit or other
incentive, maybe well entice, motivate more people to use these
mass transits. Now, someday we have to start to begin to realize what
are we doing to our childrens children, what are we doing to
our ecology, what are we doing to ourselves? I dont want to
say mandate, its a tough word to use, but maybe under dark condition
youre gonna have to mandate. Maybe you can drive your car three
days a week and he can drive his car three days a week and one day
we all rest. Now, what I would be calling for maybe is people would
consider giving up that car for a day and riding with somebody else
or for two days. I think we can make this happen but its going
to take a little giving on all our parts.
an attempt to encourage ridesharing by commuters, the state established
high-occupancy-vehicle lanes on I-84, I-384 and I-91 in the Hartford
area. More HOV lanes in the area are being considered.
HOV lanes are
in use in about 25 municipalities nationwide, with varying degrees
of success. CT DOT officials admit that the lanes are being underutilized
but say that as traffic conditions continue to worsen, more commuters
will use the lanes.
You need to remember that for every vehicle thats in the HOV
lane, thats two or more vehicles that are not in the regular
lanes. One of the main purposes of an HOV lane is to provide relief
for the other lanes. And so while you may not see as many vehicles
as youd want to see, remember its not a vehicle count,
its a body count, its a person count.
96 percent of the travel in the state is by automobile with only about
two percent each by rail and by bus.
For the last
half of the 19th century, public transit was by street
horsecar. When electric trolleys replaced horsecars in 1893, thousands
of working-class families were able to move to nearby suburbs for
the first time.
Real estate developers who knew where the lines were heading often
bought up the land and created subdivisions in advance of the line,
even. There were great profits, of course, to be made in suburban
subdivisions even then. Americans loved the trolley car, thought it
was a great thing. But then the car came along and then they remembered
all the things they didn't like about the trolley. They were crowded
often times at rush hour when you really needed to take one. Of course,
there's also the inconvenience of having to go on someone else's schedule
and only go between certain points. The car offered an incredible
amount of freedom and privacy compared to that. I think more or less
the public simply made it clear that they preferred the car and they
wanted the government to get into the road-building business.
trolley system spurred the golden age of the city. Street car railway
tracks emanated out from the central city like spokes on a wheel.
As the automobile grew in popularity, more and more former city dwellers
moved to the suburbs, but still remained connected to the city.
(Prof., American History, WCSU): They did some studies in the 30s
on traffic patterns in CT and they were astounded to find that most
of the traffic around the major cities in CT were in and out. People
were still working down town in the business district. They were still
shopping down there. And it created tremendous problems for CT cities.
It changed the whole nature of the street. Instead of it being an
extension of the sidewalk, it became a conduit to move traffic. And
now, it is so easy to turn your back on the city because the things
you used to have to go to the city to get for shopping or for employment
have also gone to the suburbs. So, most people can turn their back
on the city without any ill effects to their lives.
dependence on the automobile has increased over the years, there has
been a corresponding decline in public transportation systems, leading
to hardships for some. In Connecticut, ___#_____ households do not
own an automobile.
TOM LEWIS (Prof.,
of Geography, MCC): We're so spread out, you know, the buzz words
that we use: sprawl, suburbanization, decentralization, the outer
city, the edge city, slurbs, rural urban fringe - we're so spread
out that it makes it very difficult to provide mass transit systems
that will be available to everyone.
Only six percent of the people on welfare have an automobile. If these
jobs are out in the suburbs, how do they get to these jobs? You know,
its easy to take a bus and get out to a mall at 10 oclock
in the morning. If youre coming home at 10 oclock at night,
its not so easy.
The bus system really follows the same patterns as the old trolley
systems. Its all based on center city and getting people to
spoke and wheel system. Were now engaged in a major study to
take a look at whether or not we can and how should we change the
system to meet the demands of people today.
other states, where regional and local municipalities help fund mass
transit, operating costs for public transit in Connecticut is almost
wholly funded by the state. About 40 percent of the state Department
of Transportations $298-million operating budget subsidizes
the states two commuter rail services and 20 bus-transit service
Theres no municipal support. Theres no regional support.
And the State, I think, you know, reaches a point where it says well
if you want to do these things, youre going to have to start
anteing up and so far this region has not chosen to do that nor has
any region in Connecticut. Transit will simply not make money; theres
always going to be a subsidy.
the mid 1970s, the Greater Hartford Transit District began a project
with the goal of building a modern electric trolley system from downtown
Hartford to Bradley Field. The 19-mile mass-transit project was to
have been built on the old Griffin rail line right of way. It had
been hotly debated from the start.
proponents claimed the $452-million project would attract about 18,000
riders a day and create a variety of benefits.
We need to make a different kind of strategic infrastructure investments
so that in fact we can get out of the box that weve put ourselves
in over the last 50 years. One of the interesting features of a rail
line is that inherently it creates points of commerce. Wherever the
community chooses to have a station means that people are going to
walk there, theyre going to ride their bike there, the bus stops
are going to be established there, and there will be some park &
ride facilities at that point of commerce. And it really creates a
whole new inviting investment environment for real estate developers.
Its complicated. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars and
it takes years simply to do the preliminary planning let alone the
engineering, design and construction. The fact of the matter is State
participation is the lynch pin, unfortunately our State Department
of Transportation hasnt seen the overall value of such an investment.
April, under unrelenting opposition from the state DOT, the Capital
Region Council of Governments rejected the Griffin Line project, leading
some to accuse the DOT of a continuing obsession with building highways
at the expense of mass transit. DOT officials deny a road-building
That corridor is not a major corridor of congestion. It would be very
difficult for us to allocate scarce federal and state resources to
that particular corridor.
While I can salute the idea, I find it difficult to justify the economics
even for someone like myself who is a strong proponent of public transportation.
support for commuter train travel along the shoreline has been substantial.
In 1985, the
DOT and the Metropolitan Transit Authority of New York jointly created
the Metro North Commuter Railroad. Today, about 90% of Connecticuts
commuters to New York use the train..
Right now we have probably the largest, close to the largest and most
successful rail line in the country in Metro North, the New Haven
line. We have 28,000 people a day traveling on that line and we lose
$26 million a year. Thats the subsidy. Every time a passenger
gets on Metro North it costs a dollar-ninety in state subsidy to subsidize
1990 the state started a second commuter rail service the Shore
Line East, providing service between New London and New Haven. The
line carries about 600 commuters daily and is subsidized at $5.5 million
The subsidy from the taxpayers on Shore Line East is more than $16.
So every time someone gets on that train, the taxpayers are subsidized
to the effect of $16. We have got to do things to increase the number
of riders on that road to make it viable for the long term.
weeks after the death of the Griffin Line proposal, the DOT announced
that they were rejecting widening I-84 in favor of other options,
including HOV lanes, bus or light-rail mass transit.