New York Public Transport

New York Public Transport

The public transportation network is by far the largest and most used in the United States, the population density is high enough to build a dense subway network, especially in Manhattan, and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. In length, New York has the largest metro network in the world, the network is the fourth busiest in the world in terms of crowds. 4.8 million people use the metro network every day. There are 26 metro lines. About 39% of all public transportation in the United States takes place in New York City.

According to topschoolsoflaw, in New York City, 53.7% of residents use public transportation for commuting. In the suburbs this is 12.5%, higher than all other American “core cities”. Of the entire urban area, 31% of the inhabitants use public transport for commuting. Despite its high population density and high public transit use, New York City commute time is the highest in the United States, averaging 48.5 minutes by public transit and 31.7 minutes by car one way.

In addition, there is PATH, the Port Authority Trans-Hudson, which connects Manhattan to the various cities in New Jersey, especially the first cities across the Hudson River. 240,000 travelers use this metro every day. PATH operates independently of the New York subway system itself.

The metro network is supplemented for medium and longer distances by a commuter rail connection, consisting of 20 lines and 250 stations. This consists of the LIRR (Long Island RailRoad), Metro-North Railroad and New Jersey transit. These lines converge at the busiest stations in the United States, Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, both in Manhattan. The LIRR carries about 280,000 travelers per day, which is not very much considering the population of Long Island (7.5 million). An intercity rail network of AMTRAK trains connects major cities in the region, such as Boston, Albany and Philadelphia. It is faster than the airplane for distances of 800 kilometres.

About 230 bus routes complete the large rail-public transport network, with a fleet of 5,800 buses. A ferry service connects Staten Island to Manhattan, a journey time of 25 minutes, faster than the traffic jams on I-278. The ferry service has only a marginal share of the total.

The MTA, the Metropolitan Transport Authority, has expenditures of $11.4 billion for 2009, compared to revenues of $10.1 billion. 42% of revenues are covered by ticket prices, 13% from tolls, 31% from taxes and 9% from local subsidies. There is a budget deficit of $1.3 billion. Only 37% of the expenses are covered by ticket sales.

New York congestion pricing


Despite the fact that New York has a gigantic public transport system, mainly consisting of metro lines, the congestion on the highways is enormous. This has a number of causes. The subway network is very dense in Manhattan, and western Queens and Brooklyn, but does not reach any of the suburbs. Suburban commuter rail, such as the Long Island RailRoad, Metro-North Railroad, and PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson), is not extensive enough, or fast enough, to meet the metropolitan transport demand.

Within the city of New York itself, public transport is the dominant mode of travel, but this is rapidly declining outside the city itself. The great distances and long travel times play a role here. Another cause of the many traffic jams is the seriously outdated state of the highway network, especially in New York state. Many Parkways are still according to the design requirements of the 1920s, with short or no slip roads, sharp bends and narrow lanes. In addition, the highways are virtually nowhere wider than 2×3 lanes, which causes more congestion the closer one gets to the city itself. The commute time for a New Yorker is the longest in the United States, even longer than other cities with severe congestion, such as Los Angeles.

The commute time for residents of the city of New York is on average 39.1 minutes, in Manhattan (60 km²) it is 30.1 minutes, longer than Los Angeles County (12,310 km²). Within the New York metropolitan area, the car is the dominant mode of commuting, with approximately 65% of journeys to work by car and 25% by public transport. About 22% of all urban employment is in Manhattan.

Furthermore, congestion also varies by state. Most congestion occurs in New York State. New Jersey has foreseen a different approach to the traffic jam problem than New York. Rather than just focusing on public transport, New Jersey has also invested heavily in highways. This results in a large number of fairly wide highways. This has resulted in significantly fewer traffic jams in New Jersey than in New York. The biggest delays are on the access roads to the bridges and tunnels to Manhattan.

A third problem is the geography of the agglomeration, the many water surfaces ensure that traffic is concentrated on the bridges and tunnels, which are also very outdated, and also all have tolls. To get off from Long Island one has to travel through New York City.

Nearly all roads are at their maximum capacity, or beyond. The most severe congestion occurs on the BQE (I-278), I-95, FDR Drive, and I-495, where traffic jams typically last all day. A half hour to an hour delay at the toll gates is a daily issue for many commuters. Opportunities to expand the highway network are mainly lacking in the city of New York itself, because that city is so densely built up, it can only be widened by massive demolition of buildings. In addition, many highways have been raised, making physical widening impossible. Beyond that, the exits in Manhattan have too little capacity. Within Manhattan itself, the traffic jams are not that bad, this is mainly due to the efficient grid pattern in the road network, so that the queues do not grow into endless traffic jams so quickly. 75% of Manhattan households do not own a car. However, this means that 250,000 vehicles still have a home in Manhattan.

Long Island Sound connection

see Long Island Sound connection for the main article.

Road safety

In 2018, there were 200 traffic fatalities in New York City, the lowest number in 100 years. This equates to a ratio of 23 per 1 million inhabitants, comparable to the safest countries in the world, although figures for cities cannot be compared 1-to-1 with those of entire countries.

The largest share of road deaths are pedestrians, who accounted for 57% of all road deaths in 2018. Motor vehicle occupants account for 18.5% of traffic fatalities in New York City.

The highest number of road deaths in New York City was recorded in 1929: with 1,360 deaths. At the time, car traffic was booming while the roads were little improved compared to the 19th century, so that pedestrians and cars often came into conflict with each other. In 1990, 701 more people died in New York City.

New York Public Transport