Posted on July 28, 2015

Wealthier Countries Embrace Transit

Transit use is up in wealthier countries and down in impoverished ones. According to a study by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP), demand for public transit has fallen in Eastern Europe by as much as 24 per cent and grown in the more affluent western member states. The highest rates of growth are in Austria (+24%), Belgium (+114%), Britain (+19%), France (+29%), Germany (+12%), Luxembourg (+50%), and Sweden (+24%).

The average rate of growth worldwide is 8%.

“In Western countries, car use seems to have reached a ceiling. Young people are apparently now more interested in all the latest mobility solutions than in car ownership,” reads the UITP’s 2015 Public Transport Trends report.

As urbanization accelerates, people value proximity and connectivity more than ever. That has been demonstrated many times in Metro Vancouver as transit-oriented developments attract lineups and near-sellouts upon the launch of sales.

“As we continue to see with each phase of Station Square in Metrotown, transit is a driver in people’s home-buying decision,” said Houtan Rafii, Vice President Residential Development at Beedie Living. “At Crown in Coquitlam, we’ve seen huge demand based on the fact that rapid transit is coming soon.”

The UITP confirms car ownership is no longer a priority for many people. “In developed economies, there is growing recognition of the benefits of public transport compared to private motorized mobility.” One exception is the middle class, a group for whom car ownership is still appealing.

The benefits of well-developed transit infrastructure are countless. High quality transit can contribute to jobs and growth, make cities more competitive, reduce congestion, and contribute to a better environment and quality of life.