Like many states in the USA, public transportation in Florida encompasses a complex combination of rail and bus terminuses. The Florida Department of Transportation is mandated to oversee interstate, state, and US highways. On the other hand, the state has an intercity rail that connects cities within the state. It is important to note that the state, like many others, relies on Amtrak services for its railway system. However, the service was stopped indefinitely in Florida after Hurricane Katrina.
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This essay uses a 3 criteria approach to evaluate the transportation system of Fort Lauderdale, a city in Florida. The three points that will be used to evaluate the city’s transportation system will be accessibility, reliability, and cost. Fort Lauderdale has county bus systems that offer public transport alongside a commuter railway and a waterway (ferry). In particular, the essay will analyze Broward County Transit station. To make the evaluation complete, Fort Lauderdale’s transportation system will be compared to Seattle’s which Spieler identifies as one of the best in the country (139).
Abdallah argues that one of the key elements of a good transport system is accessibility (10). There are two main elements of discussion in regards to accessibility of public transport. The two elements are ease of reach by the public and ease of connection from one terminus to the next. It is arguable that the public transport system of Fort Lauderdale in Florida is accessible. The city has a population of approximately 182,595, thus, transportation targets this same number. Whereas one can argue that the system is good, when compared to Seattle, Fort Lauderdale’s public transportation is limited.
One reason for this is the fact that Seattle has a variety of options for buses. Whereas Fort Lauderdale mainly uses traditional buses, Seattle has both traditional and electric trolleybuses. The two options affect accessibility in that they offer more variety to the public. Broward County Transit is highly accessible but only to some parts of the metropolitan. Looking at the ease of connection from one terminus to the next, Seattle’s system is still superior due to its advanced connectivity network. Broward can only be accessed by people in Dade County and Palm Tran.
Crucially, there have been plans to expand the public transportation system of the city over the years. This has been affected largely by the fact that the public will have to bear the costs of the expansion (Boisjoly et al. 434). It is important to note that it is the public that has on numerous occasions shown a lack of interest in the city expansions plans due to an expected rise in their taxes (Boisjoly et al. 434).
Reliability of the public transportation system focuses more on timeliness and availability of buses/trains to get passengers from point A to point B. Largely, Fort Lauderdale has a reliable public transportation system. This ensures that a significant percentage of the population prefers to use public transport for their day-to-day activities. The city uses the Broward County Transit that is described as most reliable due to its approximately 1600 bus stops across the city (Boisjoly et al. 435).
Amtrak, which is common across the US, is also highly reliable as it offers schedules and ticketing prior to boarding. One of the biggest differences between Seattle and Fort Lauderdale in terms of the reliability of their individual public transportation systems is that the general public in Seattle prefers the train system compared to the bus system. This is different in Fort Lauderdale, which does not have a comprehensive railway system. Overall, however, one can argue that Seattle has better and more reliable public transportation compared to Fort Lauderdale due to the different options mentioned.
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According to Abdallah, public transport is also preferred by many due to the fact that it is affordable compared to private transportation (13). The cost of public transport between Seattle and Fort Lauderdale is very meager and is caused by the fact that Seattle mainly uses trolleybuses. Fort Lauderdale, therefore, offers a more affordable rate for bus tickets within the city compared to Seattle. It is important to also note that regardless of the difference, populations in both cities are comfortable with the prices offered by public transportation. Boisjoly et al. note that critics have argued that the failed expansion of the public transportation system in Fort Lauderdale can be blamed on the expected increase in transport costs for the passengers (436). However, the scholar goes further to explain that the failed expansion is due to tax concerns.
In conclusion, Fort Lauderdale has a good public transport system. This is based on an evaluation of the city’s Broward County Transit. The transit is accessible, reliable, and offers friendly prices. However, when compared to Seattle, which is considered to have the best public transport system in the US, Fort Lauderdale’s public transport falls short in some aspects. It is important to note that the two cities, however, have focused on different aspects of their public transport. For example, Fort Lauderdale has focused on services offered by Broward County Transit whereas Seattle has focused mainly on their railway system.
Abdallah, Thomas. Sustainable Mass Transit: Challenges and Opportunities in Urban Public Transportation. Elsevier Science, 2017.
Boisjoly, Geneviève, et al. “Invest in the ride: A 14-year longitudinal analysis of the determinants of public transport ridership in 25 North American cities.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, vol. 116, 2018, pp. 434-445.
Spieler, Christof. Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit. Island Press, 2018.