The popular view when discussing urban transportation in American cities today is to decry its sorry state. Newspaper and journals are filled with talk of "urban transportation crisis," of the "difficulties of getting from here to there, " and so on at great length. Matters are reported to get worse and very quickly.
Everyone has his own favorite traumatic experience to report: of the occasion when many of the switches froze on New York's commuter railroads; of the sneak snowstorm in Boston that converted thirty-minute commuter trips into seven hour ordeals; of the extreme difficulties in Chicago and other Midwestern cities when some particularly heavy and successive snowstorms were endured.
One reason for the talk of an urban transportation crisis in the United States today perhaps lies in a failure to meet anticipations. Many commuters expected to reduce their commuting times as systems improved, but instead found themselves barely able to maintain the status quo in terms of time requirements./ Another reason for talk of crisis, almost certainly, is the rate of improvement in the performance of urban transportation systems during rush hours has been markedly inferior to that expected during off-peak hours. Specifically, the ability to move quickly about American cities during non-rush hours has improved in a truly phenomenal fashion.