Let’s Take A Ride: 5 Largest US Public Transit Systems [Infographic]

Five major US cities including Chicago, New York City, Boston, Washington, DC, and San Francisco have the largest, most extensive public transit systems in the country. To gain a better understanding of the history and scope of each city and its public transportation system, MPA@UNC, the online mpa degree, has created a visualization to show how millions of Americans travel daily via mass transit—Let’s Take a Ride: 5 Largest US Public Transit Systems.


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  • Alan
  • objectathand

    Chicago’s first L lines went up in the 1890s, privately owned and operated (like New York’s) until a series of consolidations that eventually led to the CTA, which as an organization is what didn’t exist until 1947. Way to research.

  • IT

    The sources of information at the end are not readable. I assume that your sources for complaints are the transit systems themselves. In the case of DC’s WMATA, they have been known to cherry pick and misrepresent their data, but I suppose it is the only data available…

  • HA

    Why would you only include ridership for rail for WMATA but for rail and bus for other systems? And where is Los ANgeles? LACMTA ridership outstrips a bunch of these other cities.

    • beardo

      You don’t live on the Westside, do you?

  • HStreetLandlord

    Very well done graphic and interesting information, but doesn’t seem to be even comparisons necessarily. For instance you list Metra but not Caltrain, MARC or VRE.

    And I would say the first phase of the BART to SJ extension is more worthy of listing than the OAC. Or list both.

  • dto510

    Why BART instead of SF’s MUNI system? It carries more passengers than BART every day.

    • djconnel

      Because BART is good and MUNI is terrible, I suspect.

  • Mimihaha

    Moving towards Ventra in Chicago is *not* an improvement.

  • Pavelsauce

    The CTA does not operate in six counties, the RTA (which oversees CTA, Metra, and Pace) does.