Excerpt of full story written by Amena H. Saiyid, Bloomberg Law, originally published June 30, 2020
State and local officials across the U.S. are concerned that post-COVID car usage will bounce back, and potentially even increase, due to concerns about risks of using public transit. A resulting increase in congestion and air pollution could cause some cities to fall short on their ground-level ozone targets — and a loss of federal highway funding.
America’s largest cities have seen plummeting transit ridership, with New York observing a 93% drop in train and 84% drop in bus ridership.
Data from StreetLight indicates that vehicle use is recovering more quickly than transit, increasing nearly 70% during June in many cities, including New York and Washington, D.C.
“These metrics certainly confirm what we’ve all anecdotally observed on our cities’ streets heading into the summer,” said Martin Morzynski, StreetLight’s vice president of marketing. Absent actual emissions data, which states are still collecting and analyzing, “vehicle miles traveled is the best available proxy for transportation-driven emissions.”