- Most efficient system at scale
- Fewer cars on the road
- Don't have to bother with parking
- Sense of community?
- Buses not running on time
- Missing the bus
- Only viable on routes that the planners have planned for
- Transfers compound travel time
- Waiting for the bus in the rain
- Sometimes subways have fires
- The future of commuting - Vox
- How suburban sprawl hurts the poor - Vox
Suburban sprawl and bad transit can crush opportunity for the poor - Vox
- Twofold problem: jobs are moving away from city centers, and poor people can’t afford to commute out there because cars are expensive and buses take too long
- Public transit is often a poor choice for commuting because reliability is paramount
- Some cities have high housing costs, but very cheap public transit systems that work well; NYC, DC, San Fran.
- Long commutes (and sprawling metro areas) are correlated with lower economic mobility.
- Designing public transit that works well becomes very difficult as sprawl increases.
- The typical US metro resident can only reach 30% of jobs in their metro area.
- Interesting statistic: median income of rail riders is higher for most metro areas than the median income of bus riders. Conjecture: rail systems are built on routes that serve wealthier riders?
- Transit lines that connect high- and low-income neighborhoods can have positive impacts by reducing isolation of communities.
- The real reason American public transportation is such a disaster - Vox
- Cul-de-sacs are also bad for transit
- As suburbs expanded, they did not initially invest in strong transit lines, so it is hard to change that after the fact
- The suburbs were expanding at about the same time that the streetcar lines were all dying, so there wasn’t much opportunity for expansion
- The attitude that public transit is a welfare makes it a politically charged issue
- National politics is skewed towards rural interests
- We all have to transfer downtown!
- Everything you need to know about the streetcar craze - Vox
The real story behind the demise of America's once-mighty streetcars - Vox
- Streetcars run on rails, share the road with cars, make frequent stops, and largely serve downtown areas (as opposed to light rails that are separate from the road, have less frequent stops, and connect suburban areas to city cores.)
- Phased out in favor of busses. This is popularly attributed to meddling by car companies, but it was probably just helped along by them.
- Streetcar companies, in order to operate as a monopoly, had to agree to things like keeping fares 5 cents and maintaining the pavement around their tracks.
- This was fine until WW1. Once 10% of the population had cars, the street cars no longer operated as a monopoly. They had to maintain the pavement around their tracks, which served cars, and they couldn't raise fares to reflect actual costs. Gridlock meant that they couldn't run on time.
- Oh, and inflation meant that 5 cents was worthless at that point.
- Only in cities where they maintained right-of-way did they survive.
- Problem: they cost way more than busses, but aren’t nearly as fast as light rails. In the long term they can be cheaper than busses.
- Tourists and first-time users are more likely to use them than busses
- Encourage more growth in an area because the lines are permanent
- Building the lines creates local jobs
- These startups want to do for buses what Uber did for taxi rides - Vox
How the Microtransit Movement Is Changing Urban Mobility - CityLab
- Microtransit: like Uber, but specifically for work commutes
- Routes are partially predetermined, but alter themselves on the fly based on demand
- It’s kind of the dream of overall efficiency: using data on overall demand to only send vehicles where they are needed, and reducing travel time when compared to rigid transit routes
- Private companies running these companies will likely encounter legal hurdles like Uber has
- Problem: in the short term, they could be bad for public transit, because they attract higher-income passengers
- “The fear is that by creating a segregated, two-tiered transport system, we'd be allowing for fast, comfortable service for those who can afford it — and slower, less frequent service for those who can't.”
Okay, but right now we essentially have that situation; it’s just that the higher tier is owning your own car
- The best end-game scenario is that municipal transit systems will provide these, possibly as last-mile services
- The Beacon : Students have mixed feelings about metro buses
- Should we use transit buses to get students to and from school?
- Use of Public Transit in U.S. Reaches Highest Level Since 1956, Advocates Report - The New York Times
- Train to Nowhere | The Verge
- Twin Cities - Google Maps
- Pittsburgh - Google Maps
- Green Line on University - Google Maps Street View
- Free Music Archive: Broke For Free - Something Elated
- The Bus is Late | Satellite High
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