Bruce Schaller Profiles a “City in Flux”

Ahead of Sunday’s big PlaNYC 2030 reveal, Bruce Schaller of Schaller Consulting has released an exhaustive analysis of New York City traffic, transit and public space. "CITYinFLUX: Understanding and Untangling Traffic and Transportation in NYC" is a compendium of over 40 reports and databases, highlighting a wealth of interesting facts, charts and analyses. The complete report (43 page PDF) is available here.

Here’s one nice factoid: Autos account for an estimated 75% of vehicle miles traveled in the five boroughs:

And here’s another: 10% of auto trips are under one-half mile, 22% are under 1 mile and
56% are under 3 miles — distances readily served by bicycle:

Other tidbits:

  • While the greatest concentrations of New York City auto commuters live in neighborhoods beyond walking distance of a subway station, 61% of city residents who commute by auto live within two-thirds of a mile of a subway or commuter rail station.
  • For the region as a whole, 80% of auto commuters have a transit option that would take no more than 15 minutes longer than their auto trip.
  • The average cost of parking on-street at a meter is $1.73 compared with $21 to $27 (depending on duration) for off-street parking in the Manhattan CBD.

"Pricing is the most effective way to discourage auto use," the report concludes. "A sensible program to reduce traffic and improve New Yorkers’ transportation options should combine improvements to public transportation, walking and cycling with congestion pricing and parking pricing policies that discourage unnecessary driving and raise funds for public transportation."

  • d

    “And here’s another: 10% of auto trips are under one-half mile, 22% are under 1 mile and 56% are under 3 miles — distances readily served by bicycle.”

    Or the pedicab. Too bad Quinn wants to limit their numbers.

  • epc

    I get a 404 for the PDF link here but found it here:

  • Thanks. I fixed the link.

  • crzwdjk

    Cutting out private car trips that are 3 miles or less would reduce overall traffic in NYC by over a third. A 3 mile bike ride, even at very conservative speeds is somewhere around 15-20 minutes. I don’t think that walking to the car, driving around, finding parking, parking the car, and walking the rest of the way to the destination is likely to be any faster than biking.

  • I’d like to see this breakdown by borough or even by distance from midtown. It seems likely that those short car trips become far more frequent as you get further out and are relatively rare in the city center. For people further out, lets assume for a second they NEED a car – they have to pick up something that is too big for a bike say – the further out there aren’t even cabs they could take which would at least provide street parking relief. You can talk to the Medallion owners about that. Outer borough physical infrastructure is also not conducive to changing these numbers, there needs to be more effort on rebuilding the outer boroughs like city villages to reduce the need to drive 5 miles to get a loaf of bread – thats going to be a while. Meanwhile 2/3 of a mile is roughly 13 Manhattan blocks. That’s not a short walk.

    I think this is far more complex than made out here – unfortunately. But damn straight they should support the pedicabs – they certainly are well positioned to reduce short taxi travel in midtown.

  • JK

    This is the best, most concise, and insightful synthesis of NYC transportation. A must read for anyone who wants to understand what is going on the city’s streets and rails. Schaller weaves together a clear eyed, statistical picture of the city that makes an overwhelming case for big changes.

    Together with the Tri-State Transportation Campaigns “Citizens Plan” (which needs updating)this is the fundamental text for knowledgeable NYC transportation mavens.

  • “Autos account for an estimated 75% of vehicle miles traveled in the five boroughs.”

    It’d be good to know the percentage of commuters those autos carry v public transit.

  • More people should use for medium trips, or even shorter ones to common destinations like events or to avoid hassle with airports. This method of travel is growing. GishiGo is outstanding network design.


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