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Quality of Life

Americans Riding Public Transit In Record Numbers

Commuters board the San Diego Trolley near Old Town on June 20, 2013.
Susan Murphy
Commuters board the San Diego Trolley near Old Town on June 20, 2013.

LOS ANGELES — Americans are boarding public buses, trains and subways in greater numbers than any time since the suburbs began booming.

Nearly 10.7 billion trips in 2013, to be precise — the highest total since 1956.

The new numbers come from the American Public Transportation Association.

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Transit ridership has now fully recovered from a dip caused by the Great Recession. With services restored following economy-driven cutbacks, the numbers appear set to continue what had been a steady increase.

Expanding bus and train networks help spur the growth, as does the nation's urban shift.

The sprawling city of Houston had a large ridership gain. So did Los Angeles, Seattle, Miami, Denver and San Diego. San Diego ridership increased 10.4 percent in 2013.

The New York area's behemoth transit network saw the greatest gain, accounting for one in three trips nationally.