Future of Philly transit is steering away from cars, study suggests

Kim Glovas
February 24, 2020 - 12:55 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A new study suggests Philadelphia residents are not relying on cars as much as they used to, and other forms of transportation are picking up the slack. 

The study, conducted by Compare Car Insurance, found that Philadelphia is the eighth least car-dependent city in the nation. Pittsburgh came in at No. 7.

On average, Philly drivers travel about 9,600 miles annually. 

Matthew Nichol, co-organizer of Philly E-Riders — a group comprised of commuters who utilize e-scooters, e-bikes and e-skateboards — said he’s seen a growing trend in Philadelphia steering away from cars.

“I definitely see Philadelphia being one of those leaders in this movement to renewable forms of transportation, as well as these personal transportation devices in the upcoming months and years,” he said. “I've ridden on scooters and skateboards where I'm wearing a full suit, and I walk up and check in my board and it's as if I took an Uber.”

Related:

But Aaron Ritz, the city's transportation programs manager, said cars are not completely going away any time soon.

“They're important to how people get around, but we also realize the roads aren't going to get any wider in Center City, or really any place in Philadelphia,” he noted.

Ritz, a bike rider himself, knows eliminating cars altogether is not the answer to navigating the city's narrow streets and heavy volume of traffic.

“There's got to be a mix of things,” he explained. “It's not going to be an all-biking city or an all-driving city, or an all-bus and -rail city. It's got to be this healthy mix of all of these things.” 

For that reason, the city has a long-term plan to incorporate more bike trails; better, more walkable options; and an improved transit system.