If you are one of the thousands of Utah residents who leave work in the evening, jump into your car, and prepare for a long commute home, then you may have noticed that the roads are a little less busy and the air is a little cleaner than it was at this time last year.
KSL reports the following:
For Utah County commuter Chris Miles, having to battle crowded freeway traffic en route to Salt Lake City every day was a grind. But since December 2012, he said, his stress level has dropped dramatically thanks to the extension of the FrontRunner commuter rail line, launched nearly a year and a half ago by Utah Transit Authority. A Lehi resident, Miles, 40, said taking the train as made his hour long daily commute much less nerve-racking now that someone else is doing the driving. “What really started it was that I moved next to a train station and so it was really (convenient),” he said. “The advantages are that the commute kind of disappears. It just removes a certain amount of stress every day. “You don’t even think about the commute anymore,” Miles said. “And I’ve also gotten some of my friends to ride, so it has become a social event, too.”
With less stress, less danger, and less wear and tear on his car, Chris is just one of the many riders who helped Salt Lake City top the American Public Transportation Association’s list for performance gains among cities nationwide. This contribution is significant when considering that the overall commuter-rail travel in the nation increased by only 2 percent.
With light rail (TRAX) ridership also beating the national average, it is easy to see that Utahns are becoming more and more serious about safer roads and cleaner air.
KSL writes that the report shows that “Americans boarded public transit buses, trains and subways in greater numbers [now] than any time since the suburbs began booming, with nearly 10.7 billion trips in 2013, the highest total since 1956. The numbers also showed transit ridership had fully recovered from a dip caused by the Great Recession.”
The Salt Lake area is lucky enough to feature one of the newest and fastest-growing public transportation systems in the country. In about 12 years, the rail system has expanded to cover almost 140 miles. It has reached this number with the recent Salt Lake-to-Provo connection, the Trax Salt Lake to the SLC Airport Green line and the Blue line in Draper. These extensions led the Brookings Institute to determine that the system was convenient for about 65 percent of commuters in its service territory — more than any other U.S. metro area. KSL finishes their report by saying that “[d]espite the expansion of commuter and light rail and an 8 percent decline from the previous year, the most-used form of public transit in Utah remains buses, with 19.4 million riders last year. Between trains and buses, riders took more than 44 million trips on UTA transit lines last year — up 3 percent from 2012.”
What Does this Mean for You?
If you have ever driven in Utah during rush hour, you know that the frequency of accidents is pretty high. Most of the daily delays are caused by accidents on the road and other vehicle complications. Public transportation seems to offer a safer and more peaceful alternative when considering the stress and dangers associated with rush hour traffic. If you have recently been injured or you are unable to operate a car, Frontrunner is handicap friendly and each train car has an attendant that can help you on and off at any stop. Try it out!
PLEASE NOTE: We are not trying to officially promote or otherwise advertise for UTA. We are advocating for you and a safe, timely, and stress-free commute!