The Atlantic Cities
Ridership on U.S. public transportation has reached its highest levels (in raw numbers,
at least) since the mid-1950s. There's a complex set of explanations
for this resurgence, but a big part of it boils down to money. When the
cost of driving gets too high, or when gas prices get too unpredictable, more people take the train or the bus.
And so most American transit riders tend to be lower-income. They also tend to be women, who of course work in lower-paid jobs. American women of all ethnicities accounted for a greater share of transit trips than men in 1997 (below); far more recent commuting figures show a similar breakdown, with 114 women taking transit to work for every 100 men. In many cases, these are the women who take public transit because it's the only financially viable option.
As cities try to figure out how to boost transit ridership, and
unpredictable gas prices force people to reconsider their commute, the
threat of harassment and assault has been granted surprisingly little