Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Off Topic (I’m the boss, so there’s nothing anybody can do about it anyway.) Some commuter news

TFA generally keeps away from the light rail and commuter news, but this one is quite fascinating. Guess what? That drive to work is darned expensive. The Phoenix metro East Valley Tribune takes a close look at some developments.

A Forbes Magazine study released last month analyzed major cities across the United States for what the average citizen spends on both housing and transportation, weighing the costs of a longer drive versus more inexpensive housing. Topping the list was Houston, where the cost of transportation in that sprawling metropolis has become so high on average that it has outpaced what the normal citizen spends on housing.

Not far behind, however, was Phoenix, checking in at No. 8 on the list of cities with the most expensive commute. According to Forbes, residents of Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs spend 19.6 percent of their total budget on transportation-related expenses, with an annual delay (time grid-locked in traffic) at 49 hours.

Those numbers, applied Maricopa, would obviously be near the peak in terms of delay and money spent due to the sheer amount of mileage driven by its citizens to work each day.

A resident survey released by the city in December 2006 showed 49 percent of Maricopans travel between 21 and 30 miles each way to work while nearly another 20 percent traveled more than 40 miles each way. Those numbers were backed by a resident survey conducted by the Pat Davis Design Group for their branding research. In those results, released last month, just more than 60 percent of residents drive between 16 and 49 miles each way to their jobs.

The Forbes study found that the cities high on the list of most expensive commutes had little to no commuter train systems in place – a fact then doubly verified as four of the five cities found to have the cheapest commutes have extensive rail systems.

Filed under: Regional USA Passenger Rail

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