The system of Mass Transportation in New York, (subway, buses, ferry), most of which operate 24 hours a day, is the most complex and extensive in the USA. and throughout North America.
About one in three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation’s rail passengers live in New York City and its suburbs. The New York City subway system is the busiest in the Western Hemisphere, while Grand Central Terminal, also referred to as “Grand Central Station”, is the largest train station in the world, with the largest number of platforms.
New York airspace is one of the busiest aviation corridors in the world. The George Washington Bridge is the world’s busiest bridge for motor vehicles. Public transit is New York’s most popular mode of transportation. In 2005, 54.6% of New Yorkers used public transportation to get to work.
This contrasts with the rest of the United States, where about 90% of commuters drive their cars to get to work. According to the US Census Bureau, New Yorkers spend an average of 38.4 minutes a day commuting to work, the longest in the country among major cities.
New York is served by rail by Amtrak, which uses the Pennsylvania station. Amtrak provides connections to Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., along the Northeast Line, and long-distance rail connections to cities such as Chicago, New Orleans, Miami, Toronto, and Montreal. The Port Authority Bus Terminal, the city’s main intercity bus terminal, serves 7,000 buses with 200,000 passengers traveling daily, making it the busiest bus terminal in the world.
The New York City subway is the largest rapid transit network in the world, with 468 stations in operation. It is the third largest in terms of annual passenger traffic (1.5 billion passengers in 2006). The New York subway is also special, because almost the entire network remains open 24 hours, unlike the networks of most cities, including London, Paris, Montreal, Washington, Madrid and Tokyo, which close during during the night.
The transportation system in New York City is extensive and complex. It includes the longest suspension bridge in North America, the world’s first mechanically ventilated tunnel vehicles, over 12,000 yellow cabs, an aerial tramway that transports passengers between Roosevelt Island and Manhattan, and a ferry that connects Manhattan with various destinations within and outside the city. The busiest ferry in the United States is the Staten Island Ferry, which annually carries over 19 million passengers on the 8.4 km that separates Staten Island and Lower Manhattan. The Staten Island rail network serves the island exclusively.
The “PATH” train (short for Port Authority Trans-Hudson) connects Midtown and Lower Manhattan with northeastern New Jersey, primarily Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark. Like the New York City subway, PATH operates 24 hours a day, meaning that two of the four rapid transit systems in the world that operate on a 24-hour basis are wholly or partially in New York City (the others are a segment of the Chicago “L” and the PATCO Speedline serving Philadelphia).
New York City’s public bus fleet and rail network are the largest in North America. The rail network, which connects the suburbs of the Tri-State area to the city, consists of the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and New Jersey Transit. The combined system converges at Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station, and includes more than 250 stations and 20 rail lines.
New York is the leading international passenger gateway to the United States. The area is served by three major airports, John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International and LaGuardia, with plans for a fourth airport, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, New York, to be taken over and developed by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (which manages the other three airports), as a “backup” airport to help cope with increased passenger volumes. 100 million travelers used the three airports in 2005 and the city’s airspace is the busiest in the country.
Passengers traveling abroad from JFK and Newark accounted for about a quarter of all US travelers who went abroad in 2004. JFK Airport is the largest hub for JetBlue. It is the fourth largest hub for American Airlines and the sixth largest hub for Delta Air Lines. Newark Airport will be United Airlines’ third largest hub once it completes its merger with Continental Airlines. This will make United Airlines the largest airline in the New York market.
Alternative movements such as the 120,000 cyclists per day, and many thousands of pedestrians also fluctuate at a high rate. This makes New York the most energy efficient large city in the United States. Walking and cycling account for 21% of all means of commuting in the city when nationally the figure for metro cities is around 8%.
To complement its vast mass transit network, the city also has an extensive network of expressways, connecting New York with northern New Jersey, Westchester County, Long Island, and southwest Connecticut through various bridges and tunnels. Because these highways serve the millions of commuters who commute to New York City, it is quite common for motorists to be stuck for hours in traffic jams that are a daily occurrence, especially during rush hour. The George Washington Bridge is the busiest bridge in the world in terms of vehicular traffic.
Despite New York’s reliance on public transportation, streets are a defining feature of the city. Manhattan’s street grid design greatly influenced the physical development of the city. Several of the city’s streets and avenues, such as Broadway Avenue, Wall Street, and Madison Avenue, are also used as landmarks for the national industries located there: the theater, financial transactions, and advertising organizations, respectively.