Is there any societal ill that rapid transit cannot fix? According to this 1970s-era public-service announcement for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (dug up by the Ghost of DC), there really isn't. The claims, set to chirpy and upbeat elevator music, may not have been realized in the decades since the Metro rails were installed. You be the judge:
"Metro will help enlarge the scope of our lives!"
"Living in the suburbs will be easier!"
"Employers benefit too, because Metro helps to put a wider range of people and skills within their reach" (Meanwhile the video stops on a frame of people leaving the Metro and circles only what appears to be the white people in the shot. Skip to 5:30.)
"The area's many attractions become more accessible for tourists and residents alike, without parking or traffic problems."
"By helping to reduce the number of cars on the road, metro contributes to cleaner air. "
"The effectiveness of rapid rail transit is due to its exclusive right of way. Metro does not have to compete for space in its transportation corridor; hence no traffic jams, no stop lights, no long waits, just train after train moving people." (This claim appears to be most dubious, if you've ever been delayed on a train due to a problem, say, 12 or so stops away.)
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.