Today’s Headlines

  • TransitCenter Report Recommends NYC Work With Uber Et Al. to Augment Transit (AMNY)
  • NYC Cedes Flushing Meadows Corona Park to People Driving to the U.S. Open (TL)
  • Garodnick Bill Would Require NYPD to Publish Its Patrol Guide (Gotham Gazette, Post)
  • After Meeting With de Blasio, Van Bramer Still Opposed to Swapping Parking for Housing (TL)
  • DDC and DOT Are Adding Sidewalk Space on West End Avenue and Broadway (Rag)
  • Hit-and-Run Driver Who Ran Over 6-Year-Old in Borough Park Arrested, Charged With Assault (ABC)
  • All World Trade Center PATH Platforms Now Open (NY1)
  • Push Poll Commissioned by Friends of the BQX Finds Overwhelming Support for BQX (News)
  • Gothamist and TA Want Your Ideas for a Reimagined 14th Street
  • Ben Kabak Explains Why the Subway Is Crowded to Crain’s Readers
  • Happy Back to School Day, Staten Island (Advance)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Kevin Love

    The Crain’s article is inadvertently hilarious. Why? Because the author seems unaware of the fact that Induced Demand also applies to the NY subway system. In other words, an increase in capacity by 10% with open gangway cars will be immediately used up with additional passengers.

    Fundamentally, the only way to eliminate congestion in New York City is to go car-free. The enormous extra capacity that opens up for cycling, pedestrians and buses will allow people to quickly, easily and conveniently move around the city.

  • AMH

    I didn’t see any news about this, but the Hudson River Greenway was closed for “security” last night during a presidential debate at the Intrepid. The West Side Highway, of course, was unaffected.

  • Joe R.

    To some extent the MTA can control induced demand by charging more during peak times or less during off-peak times. This will induce those who can shift their travel to other times to do so.

    NYC should have banned private automobiles decades ago. It’s been talked about from before I was born, but no politician has had the courage to implement it.

  • Komanoff

    There’s neither empirical evidence nor theoretical support for your presumption that a 10% increase in subway capacity will immediately be filled up. Analytically, induced demand rests on “elasticities,” primarily, for automobiles, time-elasticities that capture the extent to which faster car travel (due to highway expansions) engenders more and longer car trips. It’s not necessarily 1-for-1 (a common fallacy among us auto opponents). It’s certainly far from 1-for-1 for transit, where time-elasticities are lower (particularly with smartphones offering more productive use of time, or, at least, diversions; and with countdown clocks lowering stress, as Ben’s article notes).

    Transit/travel comfort is a somewhat separate matter (and an important one). There’s probably a literature about it, though I’m not conversant with it. If you’ve got any references on that piece, let me/us know. Thx.

  • Komanoff

    I found Ben Kabak’s Crain’s piece informative but surprisingly softball on Cuomo, tossing him bouquets for incremental improvements (e.g., more countdown clocks) but omitting his ongoing refusal to specify the revenue source(s) for the state’s pending/missing $7B capital plan piece.

    I also question Ben’s statement that the average subway ride today generates less revenue than twenty years ago. The 1996 (undiscounted) fare was $1.50. Today’s average fare, by my calculations, comes to $1.89. (I’m dividing 2016 f/c farebox revenue of $3.4B by 2016 f/c ridership of 1.8B.) Have I missed something?

  • Kevin Love

    If your assertion were true, we would be in a situation where the total existing peak demand, present and latent, were miraculously equal to the present crush load of each subway line that is currently crush loaded at peak hours.

    If true, that would be quite a coincidence. Just think about it.

    Another way of saying the same thing is that, for each crush loaded subway line, there are zero extra people who are currently deterred from riding by the line being over capacity.

    Quite frankly, I don’t believe it. I do believe that there is at least 10% additional latent demand available for many of the existing crush loaded subway lines.

    Open gangway cars provided 10% more capacity. I predict that when open gangway subway cars are provided, people will change their transportation habits to use them. That’s the definition of Induced Demand. And the new cars will then also be crush loaded.

    Open gangway subway cars are coming. Would you care to make a small wager on whether they will eliminate congestion?

    The only way to satisfy current demand for transportation is to make a lot of New York City car-free.

  • AMH

    Just saw that Streetsblog did in fact cover it…

  • Komanoff

    I’m not saying induced demand on subways = zero. You’re saying it = 100%. The truth is in-between, though I suspect it’s closer to zero than one. And no, open gangways won’t eliminate subway congestion b/c there are too many other factors exacerbating it. (This is my last comment here.)

  • Joe R.

    Any sane NYer who can avoid riding at peak times already does so. I highly doubt slightly less than crush load caused by open gangway subway cars will lure enough people back to riding at peak times to bring us back up to crush loading. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the trains still won’t be at crush load (see next paragraph).

    Another way of saying the same thing is that, for each crush loaded subway line, there are zero extra people who are currently deterred from riding by the line being over capacity.

    No, those extra people are currently stranded on platforms because they can’t get on the train. As a result, they often end up late to wherever they’re going. Open gangway subway cars might let more of those people get on the train they want to. Or put another way, the subway trains during peak times might still be at crush load, but the stations will be little emptier. That alone makes the new subway cars worthwhile. Many platforms are dangerously overcrowded during peak times.

    The only way to satisfy current demand for transportation is to make a lot of New York City car-free.

    That’s one way. Another is to just take steps to reduce the demand for transportation in the first place. Give employers incentives to allow employees to telecommute and/or shift their commuting hours to off-peak times. Also give incentives to work fewer but longer days. A hypothetical work week of three 13 hour, 20 minute days instead of five 8-hour days can reduce travel demand by 40%. It would also have the added desirable side effect of giving an employee four days a week off instead of only two.

  • ahwr
  • Reader

    “I predict that when open gangway subway cars are provided, people will change their transportation habits to use them.”

    I can’t see someone who lives next to the F using the 6 because, hey, open gangways!

  • Kevin Love

    We will see who is right when open gangway cars are introduced.

    To be very clear, I am saying that for many lines which are currently crush loaded during peak hours there is at least 10% latent demand of people not riding, but who would if the capacity existed. Open gangway cars provide about 10% more capacity.

    So my prediction is that after the open gangway cars are introduced, latent demand on many lines will materialize as actual demand. In other words, people who are currently deterred from riding during peak hours by the current lack of capacity will change their transportation habits to start riding during peak hours. And we will be right back to crush loading.

    Time will tell. Open gangway cars are coming. We will see who is right. I promise not to be too, too obnoxious in saying, “I told you so.” 🙂

  • Larry Littlefield

    That and the discounted fares for seniors and students back in 1996. You’d have to do the calculation the same way for both years.

    In any event, inflation calculator here.

    The $1.50 in 1996 is the same as $2.30 in 2016.

    The current pay per ride fare is $2.75, which is $2.48 with the bulk purchase discount. But that includes subway to bus transfers, not the case in 1996. Plus you have the unlimited.

  • bolwerk

    Might be different ways of looking at it. Couldn’t find anything this fine-grained going back to 1996, but total subway per-unlinked trip revenue in 2002 and 2014 in unadjusted and 2014 dollars.

    Numbers from here. Used BLS inflation calculator.

    Guessing average unlinked trip revenue probably dropped thanks to the unlimited metrocard.

  • kevd

    I think NYC should go to a system that charges more am rush hours, as many other systems do.
    yes, some people, even some poor and working class people, would pay more – but many people would do what they could to shift their commutes, evening out demand.
    its just congestion pricing for transit.
    Of course, there should be congestion pricing for automobile, too.

  • Wilfried84

    Based on the CPI, $1.50 in 1996 is worth $2.30 today.

  • Andrew

    Huh? Where did 100% come from? I said 10%.

    I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to show how open gangways in the R211 car order could conceivably yield a 10% increase in capacity.

    A 10% capacity increase would require enough newly available space in each gangway to hold about 18 people, at guideline (not crush) loading levels, granting each person 3 square feet of standing space. That’s 54 square feet per gangway. How do you fit 54 square feet in a single gangway, given that the distance from one car’s end door to the next is about 4 feet and that the cars are 10 feet wide? Even if the gangways are miraculously fully as wide as the car (which won’t happen) and there’s no interior space lost to the gangway mechanics (which won’t happen either), we’re still 26% shy of the space necessary to achieve a 10% gain.

    Has any transit property anywhere in the world attributed a capacity gain of 10% to open gangways alone? (Not to new cars featuring a multitude of design changes, but specifically to open gangways?) I’m happy to be proven wrong, but I’ve gotten the sense that this supposed 10% capacity gain is purely a blogosphere fantasy.

  • Joe R.

    I’m going to hazard a guess that the 10% capacity increase, if it’s not a figment of some blogger’s imagination, partially comes from removing some seating near the ends of cars so as to facilitate the flow of passengers between cars.

  • bolwerk

    I agree with you, but there is reason to believe that it increases capacity by more than the simple addition of square footage. Rejiggered seating can allow for more passenger circulation. Crowds can distribute themselves more evenly. Perhaps there could be more standing room throughout the train, and maybe even station dwell times could be reduced (especially if more doors are possible).

    If that last part is true, being able to squeeze even one more train on a 25 TPH route is already a 4% capacity boost.

    If we go absolutely cray cray, clustering more seating near the joints could also mean larger clusters of higher standing room throughout the body of the car.

  • Kevin Love

    Toronto is reporting a 10% capacity increase due to the open gangways. See: