Designed and built to operate independent of all other modes of transportation, subways offer relief to all other transportation networks, while imposing no conflict or disruption of any other system or setting, including pedestrian. Well-designed subway systems can provide congestion relief while offering new and extensive access opportunities in a dense urban environment. Strategic location of subway systems and stations can open service and ridership sufficient to justify the significant expenditures required for construction and long-term operation.
The direct connection and effect of subway development on traffic congestion does not always materialize as planned or assumed by planners and promoters of subway developments. A 2010 Preliminary Environmental Impact Report on the partial extension of the Los Angeles subway into West Los Angeles conceded that the minimal reduction in vehicle trips and related traffic congestion that the proposed subway stations were expected to provide would be exceeded by new traffic generated by projected urban growth in the vicinity over the coming decade. This effectively challenges the primary rationale presented by transportation and urban planners, as well as, political leaders and decision makers, for the continued development of the most expensive, and least cost effective of all transportation systems.
Presenting minimal traffic congestion relief to local government planners and communities, subway systems should be rigorously evaluated with regard to significant impacts on local economic conditions, community and workplace access, development patterns, support of economic growth, cost effectiveness and sustainability of service, rolling stock. and equipment at levels that would justify commitment of the vast resources required to implement subway construction and service.