“Abundant Access”: a map of a community’s transit choices, and a possible goal of transit

In my book Human Transit, I argued that the underlying geometry of transit requires communities to make a series of choices, each of which is a tradeoff between two things that are popular.  I argued that these hard choices are appropriate assignments for elected boards, because there is no technical ground for making one choice or the other.  What you choose should depend on what your community wants transit to do.  Examples of these choices include the following:  Continue Reading →

network design for high ridership, a dense city example

How do transit network designers go about their task? Surprisingly little has been written about this.  You can pick up books that appear to cover the “network planning” process and find examples of good and bad networks but rarely a description of how to do the design thinking itself.  EMBARQ’s recent manual for network planners in India, for example, provides great detail about how to analyze demand and evaluate results, but show no awareness of the really challenging task of network design, which sits in between those tasks. Continue Reading →

basics: dead running

P1010471 The British/Australian term “dead running” means “running out of service, unavailable for passengers.”  I like the term because it could be the title of a zombie movie.  I look forward to seeing if it attracts hits. Continue Reading →

basics: walking distance to transit

The question of walking distance in transit is much bigger than it seems.  A huge range of consequential decisions — including stop spacing, network structure, travel time, reliability standards, frequency and even mode choice — depend on assumptions about how far customers will be willing to walk.  The same issue also governs the amount of money an agency will have to spend on predictably low-ridership services that exist purely for social-service or “equity” reasons. Continue Reading →