Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

D.C. is America's number-two travel destination this summer

June 1, 2012 - 10:45 AM
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(Photo: Jay Westcott)

Beware, commuters, the tourists are coming! The American Public Transportation Association revealed that about 104 million Americans — a third of the country — plan to travel to a big city this summer. D.C., with its monuments and National Mall and White House, is super popular, and tourists love coming here in full force. How many tourist exactly? More than eight million slated for this summer ... and you thought the spring Cherry Blossom season was bad.

Here's the top 10 destinations for the summer of 2012:

Chicago 11.1 Trips (in Millions)

Washington, D.C. 8.3

New York City 6.8

Los Angeles 5.3

Miami 4.9

San Francisco 4 .0

Las Vegas 3.7

Boston 3.4

Atlanta 3.4

St. Louis 3.4

These tourists will, by and large, want to take our public transportation. An APTA survey conducted earlier this month estimates that 62 million people of those 104 (about 57%) want to embrace public transportation amid their travels. The reasoning? "71 percent said using public transportation relieves them from the worry of finding parking for their vehicle, while 68 percent believe that it is less expensive than taxis and rental cars. Sixty-seven percent will use public transportation to save money on parking and 52 percent responded they can save money on gas for their vehicle."

Express Night Out transit columnist Vicky Hallett sees environmental virtues in these numbers as well as relief for our roads. "Considering how many local drivers pull stupid stunts, I don’t even want to think about what would happen if every out-of-towner showed up behind the wheel of a rental car," she writes.

I suspect the number of tourists who take public transportation will be higher in D.C. than in many other destination cities given how established our publication transportation networks are. And besides, no one wants to drive driving and parking in downtown D.C. anyway. Metro tourists are a perennial feature and let's just hope they stick to the right on functional escalators we have left. How do you imagine tourists will respond to all the Metro track work and July 1 fare hikes on the way?

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