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Forbes: Detroit Has Second Worst Commute In Country

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This article from Forbes popped up on DetroitYes and, not being a member there, I felt the attention it was being given was a misrepresenting its intention.

From Forbes.com

Best And Worst Cities For Commuters

In cities boasting such factors, like Buffalo, N.Y., Salt Lake City and Milwaukee, the trip to work is a breeze. But for commuters in Atlanta, Detroit and Miami, the daily grind is just that, thanks to bad traffic, insufficient infrastructure and drivers who resist carpools and public transportation.

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Atlanta is bad, and LA is just horrible. I hate driving on the 405. Really, I'd widen it to 22 lanes if I could. Detroit though? I mean there's back ups and long travel distances, but as long as its moving, people aren't complaining.

It's like the people who go completely out of the way to avoid a construction site when in fact it would have taken less time to just go right through.

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When I saw this, I thought the same things as most Michiganders, and it was described above pretty well. The commutes in Metro Detroit aren't grueling because of above-average congestion. Anectdotally, Detroit is easily one of the easiest major metropolitan areas to drive, if you ask me. The rank has to do with where people choose to live and where their jobs are as many others noted. Detroit easily has one of the most geographically disperesed economies of any major metro area, I'd think, at least. It's this that gets it called the 2nd "worst" commute.

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I don't think it's fair to automatically assume that just because people and jobs are more dispersed than in other metros, that the commute is "worse". I think part of the reason there is not as much congestion is due to the fact that not everyone is trying to get to Point B at the same time. Some people go from A to B, some go from C to F, some go from F to A, etc. While ultimately it might be harder to build an effective transit system around that type of commuting pattern, I don't think that it would be impossible. Afterall, Metro-Detroit has one of the largest grid systems in the country. You could practically run busses within 1/2 a mile of 90% of the urbanized population. With the right system, you could practically get from one bus stop to any other with no more than two or three transfers.

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So maybe we should be focusing on building a better, more reliable bus system for the region than putting all of our hopes on something less likely to succeed?

Something like you said above and maybe conncet it to a regional comuter train on existing tracks?

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I don't think that's a progressive interpretation. I think that one of the latent points of the article is that our land-use patterns are inefficient and are costing us both monetarily and socially. To that end supporting more reliable bus service (while an important component of any transit system) on its own is just a dolling out of more of the same. The argument that things have already progressed to a point where something like LTR or BTR couldn't work is like saying "well, we can't fix it so we might as well not even try" meanwhile the longer we wait to deal with the problem, the more expensive and harder to swallow the solution will become. People in the region have already resigned themselves to the ideology that "we can never have transit like New York or London" and that does two things: first, by being defeatist and hopeless it pushes that idea toward a self fulfilling prophesy, and second, it propagates the false reality that those modes "won't work here" where in reality high capacity transit is successful in regions far less dense than Detroit. In other places rapid rail or bus transit is seen as a no-brainer, it's expected. If we begin to have the same expectations of our regional leaders, these solutions will, slowly, become a reality. I suppose part of it is a question of priorities.

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The problem is that most suburbanites think that busses=ghetto. Even if it were cheaper, and faster to take a bus to work, many people just wouldn't do it. What needs to happen is we start building light rail lines and commuter rail lines throughout the region and then connect the stations along those routes with bus lines. (Bus Rapid Transit could be used on some routes such as Telegraph Rd or Big Beaver/Metro Pkwy.) In that sense people would be more willing to use busses as a means of getting to the "real" transit system.

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I don't think it's fair to automatically assume that just because people and jobs are more dispersed than in other metros, that the commute is "worse". I think part of the reason there is not as much congestion is due to the fact that not everyone is trying to get to Point B at the same time. Some people go from A to B, some go from C to F, some go from F to A, etc.

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In a community like detroit where congestion is not bad but commutes are, it really comes down to personal choice. People that live in detroit choose these commutes. I don't know why people do it. I personally wouldn't but people here have a pathologic need to live far from where they work. this of course makes it much harder to car pool. no two people at work live near one another.

Busses have a bad reputation I think because they are slow in most instances. they have to travel within the constraints of the roads taht they travel on. they also are dirty (historically) and you have to wait out in the elements for a bus. when you ride on a train, it runs on schedule because you know it won't get caught in traffic, there is a station that you wait at where you won't get rained on, and trains are just much more appealing. like traveling in a lexus vs. a kia. that may not be reality but it is perception.

Detroit does have a problem with decentralization which makes developement of mass transit much more difficult. it also places the city in a catch-22. if a mass transit system is developed to suite the current population then it effectively condems the city to this dispersion forever. by supporting a city core by developing mass transit around downtown, development may be influenced but it will be difficult to garner support for this by the suburbs. With quicken loans moving downtown, it will go a long way towards devloping a critical mass downtown which will attact more buisiness. It may not be enough though and until the neighborhoods surrounding downtown are fully revitalized, it will be difficult to get many people back into the city

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I appologize in advance to anyone this offends but.....

Enough trashing of busses.

They form the back bone of every tansportation system in the world.

Bus Ridership is always higher than other systems even in Chicago/New York/ London.

Busses get a bad reputation due to lack of reliability/ poor maintenance/ not running on time/crime, all of which our system(s) have.

Improve bus service (the problems listed above) and the rest will follow.

This forum should know these things by now!

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I don't think anybody is "trashing" busses as much as they are describing what local opinion is. I certainly wouldn't mind riding a bus, but that doesn't mean that 80% of this region wouldn't be caught dead on one.

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Local opinion? You're being too kind. Bus travel has been maligned for decades. No one's trashing buses, people are making direct observations of the reality of how buses are precieved.

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1. Detroit isn't the motor city for nothing, we earn our titles.

2. If people just lived near where they worked it wouldn't be a problem, but for some reason Michiganders can't seem to understand this. (Probably because the Interstate IS our mass transit system and makes it easy to commute.) I know people in other cities that will take the train or bus a half hour to 45 minutes to work.

3. The buses are for poor black people. As bad as that sounds I have heard that statement from so many ignorant white people (there seems to be a lot of them), I and also hopefully everyone in the forum know that the statement isn't true. Here again is another Michigan sigma that we can't seem to get over.

4. I'm not paying for mass transit I am already paying for this car. Even currently there seems to be uncertainty over who would pay for an alternative mode of transportation. Should we tax everyone in the metro area? Should the city of Detroit pay for it? The State? The Fed? This here even seems to come down to a social class divide as well. Just a few years ago Ypsi nearly cut it's AATA service because the council wanted to cut some money and none of them actually used the bus.

I would have to agree with everyone here that it we need to build a mass transit system. Sorry about being a pessimist but I don't believe we can get one until the above is ideas are changed. Politics and gas prices may also help but what is going to happen once we do get more energy efficient autos?

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LA and Miami downright terrible and Chicago is also really bad. I didn't find to much trouble commuting to downtown when I lived in the suburbs. Every major city has a rush hour and Crime. etc. Do I really have to go over this again? :rolleyes:

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^ Well, everyone in this thread is discussing the article. It doesn't matter that every city has a commute problem, but it's reasonable to discuss this issue and understand where their data is coming from. Here's the important block of information

To find them and others, Forbes.com looked at the 75 largest metro areas in the U.S. and evaluated them based on traffic delays, travel times and how efficiently commuters use existing infrastructure, based on data from the Texas Transportation Institute and the U.S. Census Bureau's 2006 American Community Survey. The worst commutes were those that ate up the most hours and were the least reliable. The best commutes were in cities with short, dependable treks to the office, where fellow commuters efficiently use transit options to reduce congestion.

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