Many Americans are taking the train more, flying and driving less

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 Contact: Ken Prendergast,
Nov 20, 2012                                                  Executive Director (216) 288-4883

UPDATED DEC. 1, 2012

CLEVELAND – Times are changing. Remember when Thanksgiving meant piling the kids into the family car for a trip on crowded, icy roads over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house? Or maybe you waited in long security lines at airports so you could overpay for cramped seats aboard noisy puddle-jumpers?

Most Americans still do that. But an interesting trend may have started, especially if the next dozen years in the travel industry are anything like the last dozen.

Consider these stunning changes since 2000:

  • America’s population grew 12 percent (from 281.4 million to 314.6 million).
  • Amtrak’s Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland-New York City-Boston “Lake Shore Limited” saw its ridership grow 33 percent 2000-2012. A record 403,700 trips were made on this daily eastbound/westbound train service in Amtrak’s fiscal year ending Sept. 30. Other Amtrak trains traveling on more than 100 miles of the Lake Shore’s route carried an additional 1.2 million passengers in 2012.
  • While domestic enplanements on regularly scheduled commercial flights rose 3 percent overall at U.S. airports 2000-2011, enplanments fell sharply 2000-2011 at many medium and large hub airports in between Chicago and the East Coast despite serving stable populations:

Akron-Canton, OH: +107 percent
Huntington, WV: +96 percent
Elmira-Corning, NY: +35 percent
Latrobe-Arnold Palmer, PA: +29 percent
Buffalo-Niagara, NY: +24 percent
Ithaca-Thompkins County, NY: +22 percent
Youngstown-Warren, OH: +17 percent
State College-University Park, PA: +15 percent
Dayton, OH: +7 percent
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA: +4 percent
Charleston, WV: +2 percent
Harrisburg, PA: +2 percent
Indianapolis, IN: -4 percent
Syracuse, NY: -7 percent
Albany, NY: -7 percent
Columbus, OH: -9 percent
Detroit Metro, MI: -9 percent
Allentown-Lehigh Valley, PA: -13 percent
Binghamton-Link, NY: -16 percent
Fort Wayne, IN: -22 percent
Newburgh-Stewart, NY: -23 percent
Rochester, NY: -26 percent
Erie, PA: -28 percent
South Bend, IN: -29 percent
Cleveland, OH: -31 percent
Williamsport, PA: -41 percent
Kalamazoo/Battle Creek -43 percent
Lancaster, PA: -52 percent
Pittsburgh, PA: -59 percent
Du Bois-Jefferson County, PA: -61 percent
Johnstown-Cambria County, PA: -63 percent
Parkersburg-Wood County, WV: -66 percent
Cincinnati, OH: -70 percent
Toledo, OH: -71 percent
Altoona-Blair County, PA: -74 percent
Bradford, PA: -78 percent
Jamestown-Chautauqua County, NY: -81 percent
Detroit City, MI: -100 percent
Gary-Chicago, IN: -100 percent*
Port Clinton-Keller, OH: -100 percent
Put-In-Bay, OH: -100 percent
Reading, PA: -100 percent

* Allegiant Air began serving Gary-Chicago in 2012 with 7,567 enplanements as of Aug. 2012, according to USDOT BTS.

AIRPORTS SHOWN IN BOLD: had 400,000 or more enplanements on regularly scheduled commercial flights in 2011, making those airports an FAA-rated medium hub or larger.

2011 enplanements source data
2000 enplanements source data

With commercial aviation in overall decline in the region, expanded passenger rail can do more than fill the void with affordable travel options during the holidays. High performance trains can be year-round economic engines that swiftly link small- and medium-sized markets to the international business centers of Chicago and New York City. When developed, trains provide fast, affordable and comfortable transportation aboard which business travelers can be more productive than in cars or planes.


1 Comment to "Many Americans are taking the train more, flying and driving less"

  1. Heyo van Iten's Gravatar Heyo van Iten
    November 22, 2012 - 4:50 PM | Permalink

    Time to face reality and get to work on improving/expanding our passenger rail network. Senior citizens should not be forced to drive or to endure American airports.

Leave a Reply