9.7 bln public transportation trips taken in 2005

People took more than 9.7 bln trips on US public transportation systems in 2005, with public transportation growing at a faster rate than highway travel at 1.3% vs. 0.1%, respectively, APTA says. Since 1995, public transportation usage has increased by 25.1% compared to the 22.5% growth rate of highway vehicle miles traveled. Light rail including modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys had the highest%age of increase among all modes, with a 6.0% increase in 2005. Some light rail systems showed double digit increases in ridership: Minneapolis (168.9%); Houston (38.0%); New Jersey (17.8%); Salt Lake City (13.3%); Sacramento (12.8%); and Los Angeles (10.5%). Ridership on commuter rail posted the second largest increase at 2.8%, according to the APTA report. The top five commuter rail systems with the highest ridership increases for 2005 were: San Carlos, Calif. (12.5%); Chesterton, Ind. (7.3%); Harrisburg (6.7%); Philadelphia (5.4%); and New Jersey (5.3%).