Indianapolis: Let’s Talk Transit on Thursday Oct 20

The Indianapolis area votes this fall on a big measure that would create an effective citywide transit system, including a high-frequency grid covering the inner city and several Bus Rapid Transit Lines.  Read all about the plan here.

On October 20 I’ll be at an event called “Real Talk: Transit is On the Ballot”.  We’ll be doing an open house about the plan and I’ll also do a presentation about the big issues that are stake.

It’s 5:30-7 PM at Tindley Accelerated Schools, 3960 Meadows Drive.  Hope to see you there.


Moscow: Reinventing Surface Transit in a European Urban Core


Earlier this year, the Moscow Department of Transportation asked us to help rethink the bus network in the innermost part of the city, an area about 3 km in radius centered on Red Square and the Kremlin.   The first phase of this project just went into operation, so this is a good time to share some of the details of why and how a bus network redesign of this magnitude happens.

Our work was a lively collaboration with DoT staff, local consultants at Mobility in Chain (MIC) and the excellent Moscow-based geographic analysts at Urbica.  As with our recent work in Yekaterinburg, I worked with local experts and DoT staff in an intensive multi-day workshop to hammer out the ideas.  We also helped with some of the analysis and storytelling, and developed the main ideas of the map designs shown here.

Buses Matter in Moscow

You may be thinking: “Moscow has an extensive, highly useful Metro network. Is surface transit even a big deal?”  Yes.  Even in Paris, with the world’s densest metro network, an intensive subway system doesn’t eliminate the need for an excellent and celebrated surface transit network.  Compared to Paris, Moscow stations are spaced more widely, and they are also famously deep, which means longer walks and escalator rides. It takes at least five minutes to move between the surface and a metro platform, or between one platform and another in a transfer station.  And if you’re making a 10-15 minute trip within the core, five minutes is a very long time. Together, these factors make trips using surface modes attractive, provided that the bus and tram network is designed to take people to where they need to go.

Let’s get oriented.  Of all the world’s major cities, Moscow comes closest to being an absolutely regular spiderweb or polar grid.  Major corridors are either concentric circles or straight radial links between these circles.  This is true of the whole urban region, but for now let’s zoom into the center:


From inside to outside, we have:

  • The Kremlin Ring, which orbits the Kremlin, Red Square, and world-famous citadels of religion and commerce.  It’s a wide, fast street and a key stretch of it is one-way clockwise.
  • The Boulevard Ring, consisting mostly of beautiful European-style boulevards with grand parks in the median.
  • The Garden Ring, a very wide and fast high-speed arterial for cars, featuring many grade separations and a generally awful pedestrian environment. Memory crutch: If it has gardens, it’s not the Garden Ring.
  • The Brown Metro Ring — a metro but not a street.  It is outside the Garden Ring on the north and west but follows the Garden Ring in the south and east.  This is the ring of intercity rail stations — just like Paris and London have — and it’s only orbital line in an otherwise radial metro network.


And here’s the bus network as it was until Saturday, October 8.  (Download the fullsize PNG for more detail.)  Wide lines in hot colors mean very high frequency.  The black line is a frequent tram.


If you look closely you’ll notice several problems, apart from the staggering complexity.  They all arise from the design of major streets.

Taming the Moscow Arterial

Inner Moscow is a mostly 17th-18th century European city — reminiscent in many ways of Paris, Vienna, or Prague.  It’s beautiful and very walkable, except for the major arterial streets.  This is an old photo of the Garden Ring, and most of the ring still looks like this.

Garden Ring on the west side. Photo by

Garden Ring on the NW side. Old photo but typical of how most of the street looks today. Photo by


For years Moscow expanded and redesigned its major streets with the sole objective of moving as much car traffic as possible, at as high a speed as possible.  (It’s routine to see cars going 80 km/hr [50 mi/hr] or more on these streets.)  This goal of car traffic flow caused several decisions to be made that were bad for surface transit.

  • Grade separations: The Garden Ring has numerous grade-separations with intersecting roads.  These grade separations prevent transit on one street from stopping anywhere near transit stops on the intersecting street.  Sometimes your bus will miss a Metro station because it’s flying over or under it, unable to stop nearby.
  • Underpassages instead of crosswalks.   Many of the wide, fast arterials have no crosswalks.  Instead, there are occasional underpasses or bridges for pedestrians, and Metro stations also serve this purpose.  This means the two sides of one of these streets are very far apart, which means the two directions of transit service are not always serving the same place.
  • Forced Turns.  As arterials were expanded and sped up, secondary collector streets — often walkable used by transit — were turned into “right in, right out” where they touch these arterials.  This disrupted many logical bus routes that formerly ran straight across these intersections.  Along the Garden Ring in the map above you’ll notice lots of local routes making U-turns and bizarre looping patterns.  These are mandated by the forced turns.
  • Limited Turns and One-Way Streets.  As we see worldwide, when the goal is to flush cars through a city, you’ll see many one-way streets and restrictions on cross-traffic turns (i.e. left turns if you drive on the right as in Russia, right turns if you drive on the left).  This forces the two directions of a transit line apart — often very far apart so that they no longer serve the same places.  For example, try tracing route T1 (pale blue) from where it enters the map in the northwest.  It ends up serving completely different places in the two directions, all the result of one-way streets and prohibited turns.
  • One-way loops.  Very few people want to travel in circles, but that’s what the buses have to do.  At the very center of Moscow, the Kremlin Ring flows clockwise-only around the innermost core.   This is the biggest obstacle to transit of all.  There are no stops on the south side of the ring, which is essentially a freeway.  So a two-way line flowing across this area would be able to serve the core in the eastbound direction only.  Westbound it would fly nonstop past the core — missing all its major destinations and metro connections.  This is why almost all existing routes have to terminate in the core rather than flow across.  The entire structure of the inner city bus network was dictated by the one-way traffic pattern of the Kremlin Ring.  Indeed, this diagram shows pretty much all of the things that a bus could do at the Kremlin Ring, which is not much:


Fortunately, the Kremlin Ring has just been fixed.  A continuous bus lane has been built allowing buses to run two-way across all parts of the Ring.  Various limited-turn and forced-turn problems are also being solved through infrastructure projects, over the next few years.  (Even the Garden Ring is starting to be civilized, with help from our colleagues at Mobility in Chain.)

This changes everything, and allows for a totally new network that will be vastly more useful.

The New October 2016 Network

The new network, implemented on Saturday, October 8, looks like this.  For greater detail, download the file here.


At this early stage, most lines that could be connected across the core haven’t been connected yet.  Note the dark blue line from southwest to northeast, which is the only new one.  But the network has been reorganized so that it all flows two-way through the core of Moscow, serving the same places in both directions.  This is already a huge improvement.  Note the vast increase in the number of wide lines — meaning very high frequency.  (They are all colors in this map but only hot colors in the existing system map above.)

As always when you’re trying to expand liberty and opportunity for most people, the result is fewer routes running more frequently in simpler, straighter, two-way patterns.

And That’s Not All …

We got to this network by first designing a network for 2018, then backing up to identify the things we could implement immediately.  That means there’s more to come:  The next phase combines these routes into more patterns that run right across the city.  That means even more frequent and direct routes, even simpler routings, even better access across this dense and diverse urban core, all while reducing the actual volume of buses along the Kremlin Ring and vastly reducing the number of buses that need to park there at the end of the line.  We look forward to being able to show those maps soon!


Useful New Term: Captive Driver

The insulting and generally inaccurate term captive rider — for someone who supposedly has no choice but to use transit — still shows up in transit studies now and then, but it seems to be receding.  I’ve certainly tried to do my part to drive the stake into it.

But sometimes the best way to undermine a misleading or prejudicial term is to promote an analogous term.  So I loved this exchange:


Yes, much of my life I’ve been a captive driver, in that I’ve been forced to live and work in landscapes where there are no reasonable choices for how to get around.

One of the worst things about being a captive driver is having to drive when you know you really shouldn’t. I’m careful with alcohol, but there are times when I’m just tired, or irritable, and there’s no choice but to drive.

I know several older people who are captive drivers. They know they probably should stop driving soon, but their happiness and even sanity may require them to stay in the house and garden that they’ve known for decades, even though that’s a place where transit isn’t viable. (And they often lack the smartphone skills to use Uber or Lyft, or have disabilities that those companies can’t handle.)

Captive drivers are everywhere. Will they rise up to shake off their chains?

Pushing Back on Apathy about Bus Service


If you want to know why your bus system isn’t better, the answer is almost always that not enough people care, and that in particular, not enough influential people care.  Sure, there are other kinds of resistance, but those can all be overcome when civic leaders decide that better bus service is important.

We’ve had two or three decades of architects and developers and other elite voices telling us that rail “matters” and buses don’t.  Now we have Uber, Lyft, and all their peers.  Their role is partly helpful — when they help transit agencies withdraw services that are wildly unproductive for them — but also partly harmful — as their PR can help urban elites feel good about not caring about bus service, or even about transit in general, regardless if that’s the intent.

But most people can’t afford to use Uber/Lyft/taxi all day.  What’s more, not everybody lives on a rail line, and not everybody should.  Some places are just not suited to rail transit.  So if you want to serve your entire city, buses just have to work.  (Buses, remember, are also the ideal tool for building a market to the point where rail transit starts to make sense.)

I’ve been working on this issue — against the enormous forces of apathy — for most of my career in North America and Australia.  Lately, we’re starting to see progress, not just in the newly spectacular bus networks of Europe but also in North America’s denser cities.  (Australia, sad to say, still lags a bit.)

In these places, it’s becoming obvious to everyone, not just to transit geeks, that

  • … car-based travel (including Uber/Lyft/taxi) is hitting a wall of limited street space
  • … rail transit systems, if any, aren’t adequate for everyone’s needs.  (And remember, even cities with very extensive subways — like Paris and Barcelona — end up needing extensive, efficient and attractive bus systems too.)

So bus network redesign and reform is taking off in North America.   I’ve been doing these designs for over 20 years, but only recently has it been politically possible to do really transformative redesigns in big cities, like our recent one in Houston.  Up to now, the political direction has often been: “Don’t make any existing rider unhappy.”  This, of course, is a flat prohibition on transformative design, and it ignores the fact that a lot of existing riders, not to mention potential riders, are unhappy already.

That’s why everyone in North America should be following, and replicating, successful campaigns for better bus service.  For example, TransitCenter in New York is helping spearhead a “Turnaround” campaign to get leaders to pay attention to the city’s bus system.

Their excellent report, which I first wrote about here, is impressive because it talks about what really matters to every transit customer: logical network design and improvements to speed and reliability.  They’re getting traction at City Council, which is impacting local media editorials.

The New York transit agency, MTA, is sounding defensive at first, which is understandable and can be overcome  I try to encourage transit agencies to avoid talking this way, because I think it’s bad for their long term public support, but you should understand why they do. Every senior transit agency staffer in North America has been though endless hearings where people angrily demand things from them but refuse to do anything to help.  (For example, in cases where transit service consistently inadequate everywhere, people spend too much time yelling about how they are being poorly service but everything would be fine if the agency just cut service to those other people.)

These days, most great transit improvements arise from partnerships, where transit agencies, city governments, unions, and key constituent groups, and voters at the ballot box are cooperating to put all the pieces in place.   (There are places where transit agencies must lead, most obviously in network design and service quality, but when I lead service designs I do my best to involve cities and key stakeholders in that too.)   There’s always tension in these relationships, but they get a lot more done that yelling at transit agencies does.

So takeaways:

  • Your city would probably be better off with better bus service.
  • Better bus service for your city is not the same as service micro-designed around your personal needs.
  • If you want better bus service, be confident that there are people inside your transit agency who want the same thing.
  • Still, some transit agencies can sometimes sound resistant and defensive.  This reflects their decades of experience of being bombarded with unrealistic demands, often belligerently expressed.  Yelling at them louder does not make this better.  You have to work with them, take the time to understand their situation, and offer to help.




Is the Tide Turning Against Techno-Libertarian Transport Planning?

My little stoush with Uber over the last few days — observing that its advertising seems to be presenting itself as a threat to all public transit, including rail — went modestly viral, coming close to a pageview record for this seven year old blog.  Uber quickly pulled the offending ad.

Again, as I laid out here, if Uber and its ilk — collectively and misleadingly called Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) — successfully draw customers away from high-ridership transit services, rail or bus, the result would be several overlapping disasters for our cities, including massive increases in congestion, emissions, road space demanded by vehicles, and inequality of opportunity.

And of course, there will always be people saying that as long as customers want something they should have it, and the consequences don’t matter.  This is how we got all of the environmental problems we deal with today, and many of our problems of inequality.

Meanwhile, the resistance is getting traction.  A Boston Consulting Group report, flagged in Citylab, argues that autonomous taxis will destroy the passenger rail industry, including urban subways.  Anyone with the slightest sense of geometry can see immediately what a disastrous increase in vehicle trips that would be.

Then, Greg Lindsay, a leading observer and commenter on urban tech, noted this:

Alphaville is a blog at the Financial Times, usually a pro-business outfit.  But they’re not just quoting me; they’re sounding a serious alarm:

At FT Alphaville we’ve questioned the rationality of glorifying a business model (Transportation Network Companies, ‘TNCs’ like Uber) that undermines decades worth of urban planning work focused on encouraging mass transit options like buses and trains, whilst marginalising petrol-guzzling space-consuming single-occupant cars. It seems backward, to say the least.

But the tech world seems oblivious to the limitations posed by urban geometry, seemingly convinced that app-controlled taxis can overcome the space constraints of London Bridge at 5pm more effectively than non-app controlled taxis. Why this should be the case, however, is never clearly explained.

They also cite this paper by Matthew Daus, outlining the numerous dangers of the current prevailing TNC business model, including environmental dangers as well as issues of equality of opportunity.  (See his page 20 of his report for the formal litany.)  Here’s the critical bit:

TNCs have grown at a near exponential rate, adding a significant amount of automobiles on the streets of already congested cities. For example, Uber grew from zero (0) drivers in 2012 to 160,000 actively partnered drivers (defined as drivers that have completed more than four trips per month) by the end of 2014 in the United States alone.

As demonstrated in the graph below, the rate of growth has risen rapidly since July 2012:


Uber and its fellow travellers can “grow” like this by continuing to flood dense inner cities with cars, but of course we will run out of space, so that’s not going to continue.  The danger is that the attempt to do this will strangle all of our other options, notably public transit, so that once Uber has taken over our streets we’ll have no alternatives, even though they are all sitting in self-made gridlock, shoving cyclists and pedestrians out of the way.  This is exactly how cars took over the world, 60-100 years ago.

In other words, this seems to be an issue where only strong government intervention, over the noisy objections of the techno-libertarians, is going to save us.

Of course, there is a free-market solution to this problem, which is to charge for the actual market value of limited urban road space.  Once most cars on the road are run by some corporation instead of by individuals, it may be easier to impose the necessary free market forces so that traffic is limited to match the space available.  That, in turn, would drive massive demand back to space-efficient modes such as public transit, but only if techno-libertarian public relations campaigns haven’t destroyed those options first, by encouraging apathy about them.

So it’s an interesting time.  Maybe the tide really is turning.

Speech Has Consequences, or Why I Called Out Uber Yesterday

Early yesterday, I saw an Uber ad which expressed the company’s intent to attract passengers from high-capacity public transit.  The ad is below, and my post in response is here.


In my response I reminded readers of what it would mean to shift large numbers of people from big transit vehicles, like the subway pictured here, to individual Uber cars — in terms of outcomes for cities, society, and the environment.

Within hours I got a Twitter message from a senior person at Uber, asking where I’d seen the ad and then assuring me the ad had been removed.  All good.

But readers wondered if I was over-reacting to a mere ad, or if I regretted my post now that the ad had been taken down.  No, and here’s why.

Advertising, like political speech, has a long history that we can study and learn from.  Precisely because it seems so fleeting and insubstantial, it disarms our skepticism, exploits our desire to be “in” or “cool,” and thus shapes attitudes that will define the world of the future.

This ad also had a context, as part of a torrent of messages — from many parts of the culture including the tech industry — that encourage contempt for public transit, or at least apathy about it, among the relatively fortunate.  And when our transit systems are not what our cities need or deserve, that apathy is the main reason why.  With that ad, Uber had identified itself as an advocate of that apathy.

The only way to disarm that ad was to take it seriously.  Advertising always wants to engage us with a wink and a nod, so that we’ll forgive it for implying things that the company wouldn’t want to defend having said directly.  So to confront it, you have to strip off that mask and make clear that you hear what the ad is saying, and what that implies.

It’s like what you have to do to stop any ongoing pattern of abuse.  Sooner or later, you have to speak up about something that seems minor in isolation.  You have to say: “I know you think this is isn’t a big deal, but in the context of 100 similar things that are being said, it’s doing harm.”  You’ll sound like a killjoy, but you’ll sleep better knowing you did what you could.

It worked.  Somebody at Uber read my post, saw the problem and fixed it as a matter of urgency.  Clearly there are people inside of Uber who want the company to be a more responsible player in urban issues.  I look forward to meeting more of these people, and I hope they prevail in defining Uber’s future.

This is the stance that I encourage transit agencies to take toward Uber, Lyft, and similar companies.  Negotiate from a position of confidence that demands respect for the things that only high-ridership transit can do.  The companies worth working with are those that will be happy to meet you in that space, ready to collaborate to build better, more liberated cities.


Let’s Quit Pretending About Uber

UPDATE: Uber contacted me in response to this post and told me that the advertisement it describes had been taken down.  This response was very encouraging.  This post remains as part of the record, but if you read it, please also read my follow-up, here.


Can we stop pretending that Uber doesn’t want to destroy our high-capacity transit systems?  Because this ad really clears up any doubt, doesn’t it?



So Uber isn’t even just trying to attract customers off of buses.  This ad shows that it wants them off the subway too.  In this implied vision of the future, most useful transit systems die from elite apathy once the elites are all on Uber.  From this we can deduce that Uber’s notion of the ideal city includes:

  • moving people from big vehicles (transit) into more numerous small ones (Uber), and therefore …
  • increasing the total volume of vehicle traffic, which is to say, increasing congestion, … which means:
  • creating a new imperative to wipe out sidewalks, parks, bike lanes so as to make room for all these cars, and also
  • destroying one of the last few places in the city where a millionaire might sit next to the guy who washes dishes in her favorite restaurant, thus achieving an even more perfect state of rigid class segregation.  In this world, a majority who can’t afford Uber has no good transport options and is therefore pushed further away from the sources of opportunity that they could use to improve their lives.

I apologize if I sound like a killjoy, but the logic here is as firm as the logic behind climate change.

When corporations state their intentions this clearly — especially if those intentions line up with universal corporate goals of growth and profitability — we should believe them.  We should believe that Uber, given the chance, really would lead us into the dystopia of gridlock and class segregation that this ad implies.  And when it comes time for transit agencies to make deals with these organizations, they should know who they’re dealing with.

And yes, when I really need ridesharing (only after checking the transit options first), I prefer Lyft for now, a company that actually seems to respect public transit and wants to complement it rather than destroy it.  And I look for the local companies that are doing the same things.

Because every purchase you make is a statement about what kind of world you want, regardless of whether you mean that consciously.

A response from Uber would be welcome, but really, this ad says what it says, doesn’t it?


How Should Transit Agencies Respond to New Mobility Options? An Excellent Report


The rapid growth of private ridesourcing (Lyft, Uber) and microtransit (Bridj, Split) has been a challenge for local governments, including transit agencies. The tech media like to talk about private sector innovation as naturally superior to government, as though government’s sole role is to react.  Local governments are harangued to “get ready” or “get out of the way,” as though they are about to be swept by some tsunami of transformation.  Yet local government — cities and transit agencies — urgently need to lead in forging a mutually beneficial outcome, drawing out the benefits of the new tools while preventing their potential for harm.  I explored these issues, in text and video, here.

A century ago our city leaders were told to get ready for an onslaught of cars.  The onslaught overwhelmed them only because they didn’t have the courage and clarity to demand clear thinking about how to manage the new thing’s impact.

In my own transit planning work I’m already hearing people say that now that we have “door to door” service, we no longer need those big-bus transit lines.   If you take that step, there’s no longer any reason to plan density around logical corridors, so we might as well sprawl into patterns that will guarantee long-term car dependence.  As we gut our transit systems through apathy, what’s left are miserable remnants for the poor who can’t afford an Uber ride, and who are further ghettoized by their exclusion from the new mobilty paradise.  And we also increase Vehicle Miles Travelled, which means more congestion and less space in the public realm for other things we value.  That, admittedly, is the worst case scenario, but it would be foolish not to think about how to prevent it.  And that’s even before we start talking about driverless technology, whose potential benefits and downsides are both even more extreme.

So it was a relief to pick up TransitCenter’s new report, “Private Mobility, Public Interest,”(by Shin-pei Tsay, Zak Accuardi, and Bruce Schaller) and read:

One clear finding is that today’s practice does not support the popular but superficial narrative that emerging mobility providers are on their way to replacing traditional bus service. …

Emerging mobility services … will not replace high-quality, fixed-route transit as the most efficient means of moving people along dense urban corridors, and focusing on emerging mobility services is not a substitute for designing walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods or engaging in pedestrian- and transit-oriented planning.


With that clearly established, the report lays out the many opportunities for collaboration or partnership in providing the best possible mobility for an entire city.  The private players can be very helpful on the peak of the rush hour, when the incremental cost of bus service is very high, and also in providing the low-density services that are not cost-effective for full-wage city buses.  But that’s why the public sector must recognize its own leverage, and make the most of it

The public sector controls valuable assets, like parking spaces and street right-of-way, that can be used to negotiate for contracted services, access to data, or equitable geographic coverage, for example.

Common weaknesses of the public sector side are also explored:

Agencies need to proactively start to break down barriers to collaboration with emerging mobility providers––barriers like restrictive procurement processes, work rules, or agency traditions––by creating clear pathways to working together.

I recommend the whole report to any local leaders, or advocates, who need help describing what needs to be done to ensure that the new technologies help foster a better city for everyone.

Paris: The Triumph of the Bus Stop

Do you think bus service is never as “permanent” as rail service?  Well, it depends on how much infrastructure you build, and how proudly it announces the bus service as an essential part of the cityscape, both as icon and as opportunity.

Each time I visit Paris there’s something new in its public transit, but these new bus stop signs, now standard across the city, are remarkable.


They’re around 4m (12 ft) high, towering over the bus shelter to which they’re attached.  At night they are the most prominent informational icons in the streetscape, by an order of magnitude.

Look closer:

Version 2

Every stop has a name, reaffirming your sense of your place in the city.  (At night, these are actually the easiest locational signs to read, so they have navigational value extending beyond transit.)  For each route, there’s the number, the endpoint (indicating direction of travel) and the number of minutes until the next bus arrives.  If you know the network, you don’t even have to look down to know where you are, and when the next bus is coming.

Here’s one in the daytime, when the little realtime displays are harder to catch in a photo.


I don’t have a good pic of the entire shelter, but it has everything you’d expect of a rail stop, including maps of each route, a diagram of the bus network, a diagram of the metro and regional rail network, and timetable and fare information.  It also has more extensive realtime information displays, showing the next several buses departing.

On the other hand, it doesn’t have the extraneous things that my architecture and built-environment friends often suggest, such as distinctive architectural designs or “community hub” features like coffee vending or (yes) lending libraries — all of which have been explored.  A big city needs lots of bus stops, so the ideas that matter are the ones that scale.  In any case, the more you respect your bus system, the more you can celebrate it for what it is, rather than expecting it to entertain us in ways that distract from the liberty it provides.

When I lived in Paris in 1986, the buses and bus shelters were like what most Americans are used to: basic, functional, but sometimes dirty and poorly maintained.  It was presumed, back then, that the Metro and regional rail systems were the serious transit, and that the buses didn’t matter much, and the infrastructure reinforced that message.

All that has changed.  Buses are so nice that you can scarcely distinguish them from trams (streetcars).  Many streets have car-free lanes that buses can use.  Now, with these pillars of information, bus stops are even easier to find than metro stations, and almost as easy to navigate.

There are several principles at work here:

  • The more subways you have, the more surface transit you need.  This excellent bus system operates right on top of the world’s densest metro network (in terms of stations/sq km).  Almost everyone in Paris is near a metro station, but there are still plenty of markets (short trips, trips along paths not followed by metro) where surface transit is the right tool.
  • Unless you already have streetcar tracks everywhere, the only surface transit that can cover your whole city, soon, is bus service.
  • So if you want an effective transit system for everyone, you have to convey that the bus system matters, through network design, branding, and infrastructure.
  • The order is important.  First get the network design right, then develop branding that works with the network design.  Finally, conceive infrastructure that serves and celebrates both.

I could quibble with Paris on that last point.  As with most bus networks, Paris’s seems to be more complex than it needs to be, though a modest simplification is underway, as you can see by playing the map here* .  The signage doesn’t help us distinguish major routes from minor ones.  Imagine the extreme transparency that would arise from fusing Paris’s level of bus signage with Barcelona’s commitment to extreme simplicity and legibility in network design.

But the big point is this:  Buses can be as liberating and efficient as your city wants them to be.  The more efficient and liberating they are, the more they deserve to be celebrated in infrastructure.  The bus stop is one of the biggest signals, to everyone in the city, about the community’s attitude toward buses and their customers.


* At this page, you can move the map left or right to see the changes.  The current network is on the left, the proposed one on the right.  It’s simpler but not that much simpler, and it still doesn’t help you distinguish major routes (high frequency, long duration) from minor ones (lower frequency, short duration).