[first post, travel course, Concordia University]

Over 4.5 million people live in the greater Boston, Massachusetts metropolitan area. The metro stretches from Providence, Rhode Island in the south to Portsmouth, New Hampshire in the north. Over a third of the metro’s residents use commute via public transit; Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) operates the fourth-busiest rapid transit system in the country.

MBTA’s subway system was the first underground transit network in the US, built in 1897. The rail system was then confined to downtown Boston; today, the rail system expands to the north, south, and west of the central city.

Ideally, a mass transit system should cater to the greatest number of city residents and keep cars off the roads. A citizen should never be beyond reasonable walking distance from a train station or bus connection. Boston seems to have achieved this. This explains why nearly 31 percent of Bostonians commute to work via public transit.

The flow of people is essential to the flow of communication– in fact, it practically is the flow of communication. Transportation is a basic need in our society; we use transportation networks to travel anywhere. Ideas, innovations, and progress move along roads, telephone networks, subways, planes, elevated rails, etc. Their efficiency is dependent upon this transportation network.

While it’s likely no one on the MTBA Red Line is thinking about this, Boston’s train system is supporting the efficiency of its economy and society. I look forward to comparing it to similar rail systems in New York, Washington, and Chicago.

You can view some of my favorite photos from the trip on my photoblog.