Improved transportation more important than crime? Yes, that’s right! The results of a survey conducted by The Baltimore Collegetown Network show that college students in Baltimore increasingly want to stay here after graduation. However, there are a few factors keeping more from choosing to live here, and chief among them is a lack of transportation options. The Collegetown Network works to help “colleges work together to improve academic, professional, and social opportunities for Baltimore’s 120,000 college students” by connecting them with the wider community
The Collegetown Student Survey Report 2012 finds that students’ image of Baltimore has improved over time (“accessible” has now overtaken “dangerous” as the most common word used to describe Baltimore) and that the percentage of students who describe themselves as either definitely or likely to stay in Baltimore after their studies has nearly doubled over the last 9 years (19% in 2003 vs. 37.7% today). When it comes to the question “What is Baltimore missing that you wish it had?,” respondents send a clear message: the top answer was Better Transportation (36%), which came in well ahead of Less Crime (15%).
In a letter from Baltimore Collegetown sent with these results, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was quoted saying that “the priorities for college graduates are similar to those of long-term residents - they want to live in a safe community with good schools and a thriving economy.” While this is undoubtedly true, to achieve the Mayor’s goal of bringing 10,000 new households to Baltimore City, the Maryland Transit Authority, which is responsible for our bus system, must recognize that our transportation system too often fails to be reliable and responsive to the transportation needs of young Baltimoreans.
To get involved with improving the MTA’s system, please take a look a the four committees and advisory councils that are open to the public, and offer the community an opportunity to improve the region’s transportation system.