Randall McElroy at Catallarchy has a really nice post from Sunday on the construction and use of public transportation in Atlanta and Chicago. One thing that matters is history — when the city builds its transportation infrastructure. But his point is well taken, and it’s not only public transportation that was privately funded by early adopters. I like his conclusion:
These two cases indicate something very important for city planners. First, if a city demands mass transit, private enterprise will supply it. Second, if a city does not demand mass transit, building it anyway (publicly, since private enterprise does not supply what is not demanded) will result in a system so poor that few people want to ride it and that can only survive on continuous 11th-hour rescues with tax dollars. Either way, we will get from point A to point B without you.