Amer­i­cans took more trips on public trans­porta­tion in 2013 than in any other year in more than five decades, according to the Amer­ican Public Trans­porta­tion Association’s annual report, released Monday.

That’s 10.7 bil­lion trips on buses, trains, and sub­ways – the highest number since 1956, back when Amer­i­cans were heavy users of big-​​city transit because they were more likely to live in town than in out­lying (and car-​​reliant) sub­urbs. Amer­i­cans’ use of public transit also increased from 2012 to 2013 by about 1 per­cent, with most of the gains in use of heavy rail, including sub­ways and ele­vated trains, according to the report.

But the higher num­bers of people turning to public trans­porta­tion aren’t just the result of pop­u­la­tion increase or the cost of a tank of gasoline.

Public transit rid­er­ship has out­paced pop­u­la­tion growth since 1995, with public trans­porta­tion use up by about 37.2 per­cent com­pared with pop­u­la­tion growth of 20.3 per­cent. Plus, the rise in rid­er­ship is despite a drop in gas prices in recent years. The number of public trans­port trips last year sur­passed the 10.59 bil­lion trips taken in 2008, even as gas prices have come down from about $5 a gallon to about $4, upending the assump­tion that high public trans­porta­tion use is tied to gas price increases, according to The New York Times.

Read the article at The Christian Science Monitor →