If even the Dutch don’t take public transit, can anyone expect Americans to?

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Of all the nations on this earth, the Netherlands is one where you’d figure public transit would prevail. The country is incredibly densely populated, you can get pretty much everywhere by train or tram or bus, and car ownership is a highly taxed hassle.

And yet, here’s what it says in an article (warning: it’s in Dutch!) in Saturday’s NRC Handelsblad:

The car is … far and away the favorite means of transportation. Of all moves from place to place, 62% are by car and only 5% with public transit.

That still leaves a healthy percentage over for bike rides and walks (the article doesn’t disclose the other shares). But still: Only 5% market share for public transit. In Holland.

I take the subway to work every day. But I can do that because I’m an anomaly: I work in a traditional downtown and I live in a neighborhood built before the car came along. Most people don’t live and work that way, not even in the Netherlands, and so they prefer their transit to be private. Spending billions of dollars on rapid transit, light rail, express buses, and the like probably won’t ever change that.

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