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. People wait in line, holding tote bags in the sunshine, outside a job fair.
    Equity

    How 3 Skill Sets Explain U.S. Economic Geography

    Metro areas in the U.S. with higher cognitive and people skills, versus motor skills, perform better economically and are more resilient during downturns.

  2. The Cincinnati skyline and river
    Life

    Maps Reveal Where the Creative Class Is Growing

    “The rise of the rest” may soon become a reality as once-lagging cities see growth of creative class employment.

  3. A man stands next to an electric scooter
    Transportation

    Why Electric Scooters Companies Are Getting Serious About Safety

    Lime has joined rival Bird in establishing a safety advisory board tasked with helping the e-scooter industry shape local regulations—and shake its risky reputation.

  4. Little kids under a blanket.
    Perspective

    How U.S. Child Care Is Segregated: a Brooklyn Story

    At a daycare in a gentrifying Brooklyn area, is the entrance of racially diverse, middle-class families income integration, or more akin to colonization?

  5. Perspective

    Hurricane Barry: Lessons From a Disaster That Wasn’t

    Hurricane Barry largely spared New Orleans, but it underscored that climate change brings complex impacts and hard choices.

×