Rudin Center

Transportation Nation

Sandy Data Shows NYC Commuters Are Transpo-Adaptable: Report

Monday, November 26, 2012

In the days following Hurricane Sandy, when New York's regional transit systems were either completely shut down or barely limping along, commuters still found a way to work -- by biking more, embracing ferries, temporary "bus bridges" and HOV lanes, even leveraging social media to find rides or temporary office space.

According to a new report from New York University's Rudin Center, the storm's aftermath brought out a uniquely New York commuting creativity.

"In many U.S. cities, which are limited to cars, buses or other singular transportation modes," the report states, "the disruption caused by Hurricane Sandy would have, at least temporarily, crippled the economy." Not so in New York, where residents "displayed impressive inventiveness to maintain their mobility. Individuals created new routes and combinations of modes to get to work, using a variety of systems."

The report surveyed 315 commuters about modes of transport and commute times. That's a small sample considering the millions of people affected. And asking a commuter to estimate how long they took to get to work can invite exaggeration, the Rudin report is an impressive attempt to quantify the chaos of ad-hoc mobility choices during the storm.

While almost everyone saw their commutes increase, Staten Islanders fared the worst. For residents of that hard-hit borough, commute times in the days following Sandy nearly tripled.

It was no picnic on the roads, either: "Commute times by private car for survey respondents nearly tripled, from an average of 47 minutes pre-Sandy to an average of 115 minutes post-Sandy."

The report also praises New York's MTA for keeping the public updated about service changes, and recommends the agency maintain its adaptable subway map. But other transit providers don't come off as well: "During the Hurricane, the Port Authority [which operates the PATH train system] and NJ Transit provided remarkably limited information throughout and following the storm about their service."

Read the full report here. See an impressive interactive timeline of Sandy's impact on transportation.

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Transportation Nation

Infographic: How Far Can You Travel on a Single Subway Fare?

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

(NYU Rudin Center)

As New York's MTA mulls over specifics for its coming fare hike, NYU's Rudin Center is looking at what riders get for their money.

From the center's blog: "Even if the base fare is raised to $2.50, you’re still able to go about six times farther on a MetroCard than the MBTA Charlie Card, WMATA SmarTrip or any other city fare."

Unlike other systems -- DC's Metro, for example -- the New York City subway operates on a flat rate. So whether the trip is ten blocks or 31 miles (the distance of the longest ride with no change of trains), the undiscounted fare is $2.25.

Check out the twitter conversation about this story. And read the Rudin Center's post here.

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Transportation Nation

New York Beats London in Tourism During the Olympics.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Seven years ago, London beat out New York in the competition to host the 2012 Olympics. So with the lights snuffed out on the dazzling cauldron of torches at London's Olympic Stadium, it becomes official: New York wins in the tourist Olympics, even without the games.

Over the past two weeks, New York beat London in tourists-per-day by a score of 538,000 to 429,000. New York's hotel occupancy was higher too, at 93 percent compared to London's 80 percent. These numbers come from NYU's Rudin Center for Transportation Policy. The two cities are roughly the same size, so it's not a population disparity.

The authors, Professor Mitchell Moss and Carson Qing, cited average figures from tourism boards in the two cities. Moss says New York's loss to London in a bid to land the Olympics, wasn't so bad after all: "The key point about the Olympics is that the people who go there, they go to watch the sports. Tourists who come to NY, they come here to shop, they come to look at other people, they come here to go to the museums."

Moss posits that fear of Olympic crowding led non-games-related tourists to cancel or postpone their trips to London. He's also a New Yorker.

According to the report, New York also far outstripped London in museum and theater attendance over the past two Olympic weeks, though the researchers regrettably neglected crunching the numbers to compare Olympic men's field hockey attendance with recent Mets games.

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New Jersey News

Map | NJ Has Fastest Growing Commuter Counties

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Manhattan is the top work destination in the country for so-called extreme commuting – work trips that are more than 90 minutes each way. And the fastest growing commuter counties are in Northern New Jersey.

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Map | Growing Group of Super-Commuters Flock to Manhattan

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Some 4,000 commuters travel to and from New York City by air for work -- part of a tiny but rapidly growing group of super super-commuters.

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Transportation Nation

The Ten Worst Holiday Bottlenecks in the New York Area

Monday, December 19, 2011

There will be more cars out on the roads this week than any time during the year, motorists on the Whitestone Expressway, the Hutchinson Parkway, and the Pulaski Skyway will spend triple the time on the road that they normally would, according to a new report.

The New York University Rudin Center for Transportation Policy and Management  report says nine out of 10 Americans who travel this week do so by car, and AAA is predicting that the coming 11-day period will bring the highest traffic volume the country has seen in a decades.

The worst road in Manhattan this week? The FDR Drive during the evening rush.

Here's the Rudin Center List of What To Avoid

  • Whitestone Expressway: Exit 14/Linden Place to Whitestone Bridge (When to avoid: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Hutchinson Parkway: Cross-Country Parkway to Mamaroneck Road (When to avoid: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.)
  • Pulaski Skyway: I-95 to Tonnelle Avenue (When to avoid: 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.)
  • I-84 near Waterbury, Conn.: Interstate 691 to Austin Road (When to avoid: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Major Deegan Expressway: Van Cortlandt Park to I-95 (When to avoid: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • I-95 in the Bronx/Manhattan: Exit 13/Conner Street to Fort Lee, N.J. (When to avoid: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Conn. Turnpike in New Haven: Marsh Hill Road to Ella Grasso Blvd (When to avoid: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Major Deegan Expressway: I-278 to I-95 (When to avoid: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • FDR Drive 34th Street to 116th Street (When to avoid: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
  • Henry Hudson Parkway: 72nd Street to George Washington Bridge (When to avoid: 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.)
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