We are presented with this question: If gasoline for automobiles suddenly were no longer available in the quantities to which we have become accustomed, could mass transit systems in the U.S. absorb the great ridership increases that would inevitably result? In examining this question we are reminded of the U.S. love affair with the automobile around which we have built our life styles. We are then reminded of the oil embargo of 1974 when millions of citizens turned to the much-neglected mass transit system as an alternative to waiting in lines for gasoline. The mass transit systems were quickly overwhelmed and the outraged public cried out at not having enough transit seats to meet their commuting needs. However, when the crisis situation ended U.S. reliance on the automobile returned to its original intensity. Although today the public transit systems have been improved, they are seen as still falling short of the much needed increase in overall capacity. Following a discussion of key elements in solving the problem, several case studies of transit systems of varying sizes across the country are reviewed. In conclusion we are urged to seek a solution through such actions as the development of emergency energy contingency plans for every mass transit provider, the initiation of effective short and long range planning, and the enhancement of public awareness of this potential problem.

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    • Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. This paper appeared in Transportation Research Special Report No. 191, Considerations in Transportation Energy Contingency Planning. Proceedings of the National Energy Users' Conference.
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    Transportation Research Board

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  • Authors:
    • Taylor, Gary F
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  • Publication Date: 1980

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  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Pagination: pp 43-48
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  • Accession Number: 00330092
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 28 1981 12:00AM