Last night a friend asked me (paraphrasing) “so what’s the deal with the new train station?”
We talked briefly about the new Frontrunner train, as well as the coming Bus Rapid Transit system (BRT), but as we talked I started to wonder how successful our new systems will actually be.
My previous posts have focused on how the city can create a more conducive and walkable environment around the public transit hubs, which logically would lead to greater use.
But Utahns don’t currently have a strong tradition of using public transit. Though our state isn’t as bad as some (California, Arizona), we’re still a driving culture. Inadequate population density aside, it remains to be seen if people in Provo will actually use commuter rail and BRT when arrives.
All of which raises the question: how do we persuade people to talk public transit?
That’s no easy question to answer and I plan to research answers — and blog about them — over time. But I think one big thing we (i.e. advocates of public transit, residents, city and state government personnel, etc.) can do is reveal the benefits of public transit. I suspect that there are many people who might consider it inconvenient, slow, expensive, or any number of undesirable things. In other words, our driving culture may have also created a culture of ignorance and misinformation with regard to public transit.
To that end, here are a series of positive and surprising facts regarding public transportation. And here are a few more, related to quality of life, from the same website. As expected, this information indicates that public transportation generates jobs, community wealth, environmental progress, and citizen health, among other things. This is the sort of information that people in Provo, and in Utah generally, need to be exposed to.