Manhattan’s hordes of workers pour in by bus, subway, train, unicycle, and helicopter.

Parsons Brinckerhoff

So many commuters pour into Manhattan from other boroughs and elsewhere that it doubles the island’s daily population from 1.6 million to 3.1 million, as per a 2013 Census estimate.

How are they traveling there—by bus, train, car, or canoe? A report commissioned by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, called the Trans-Hudson Commuting Capacity Study, answers (most) of that question in excruciating detail, showing the commutes of people who work in Manhattan in a pointillistic, rainbow-colored smorgasbord.

The agency tasked Parsons Brinckerhoff to prepare the report to study a possible overhaul or replacement of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, whose daily users are expected to increase from 232,000 to 337,000 by 2040. Included in the document is this map, highlighted by Redditor legalskeptic, that’s based on port and Census data and that shows “1 Dot = 1 Commuter.”

Parsons Brinckerhoff

A couple things stand out: Folks in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens overwhelmingly use the subway. Much of Staten Island takes the bus, and there’s a hot spot of ferry activity near its northern terminal. Commuters in Westchester like to come down on the railway, while New Jersey workers are all over the place, but seem to prefer cars more than most other areas.

Unfortunately, the map does not depict people who bike to the office. It also misses the two guys who paddle kayaks across the Hudson River from Hoboken, the nut who pedals a unicycle, or the people who zoom from Morristown, New Jersey, to Wall Street in 12 minutes in helicopters. Perhaps a future version will catch up on these outliers.

For folks who are interested in the study’s recommendations, it’s basically “build a new Port Authority.” Here’s part of its conclusion:

The authors have not found convincing evidence that a reconstructed bus terminal with substantially fewer gates than the full-build options presented in the [Midtown Bus Master Plan] could be relied upon to accommodate future demand for trans-Hudson bus travel over the useful life of the facility. Some adjustments in capacity and scope may be possible, but the evidence does not support large reductions in the number of bus gates.

The review of available trans-Hudson alternatives and commuter market trends affirms that there is no effective or practical substitute for expanded trans-Hudson commuter bus service. Meeting this regional need will require a replacement [Port Authority Bus Terminal] with expanded peak-period operations capacity, as well as infrastructure and operational innovations west-of-the-Hudson, especially along the Lincoln Tunnel corridor, that would enable the tunnel and the replacement [terminal] to operate with increased efficiency that contributes to safer and less congested mobility in West Midtown.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    What Happened When Tulsa Paid People to Work Remotely

    The first class of hand-picked remote workers moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in exchange for $10,000 and a built-in community. The city might just be luring them to stay.

  2. Photo: A protected bike lane along San Francisco's Market Street, which went car-free in January.
    Transportation

    Why Would a Bike Shop Fight a Bike Lane?

    A store owner is objecting to San Francisco’s plan to install a protected bike lane, because of parking worries. Should it matter that it’s a bike shop?

  3. Maps

    For Those Living in Public Housing, It’s a Long Way to Work

    A new Urban Institute study measures the spatial mismatch between where job seekers live and employment opportunities.

  4. Design

    Changing Tides Engulf the South Street Seaport

    Mayor Ed Koch wanted a family-friendly attraction for Lower Manhattan. But this 1983 icon of yuppie-era NYC was swept off course by changing tastes.

  5. photo: a man with a smartphone in front of a rental apartment building in Boston.
    Equity

    Landlords Are Using Next-Generation Eviction Tech

    As tenant protections get stronger, corporate landlords use software to manage delinquent renters. But housing advocates see a tool for quicker evictions.

×