Guest Post Policy

Human Transit welcomes guest posts. Guest posts are usually from people who are very familiar with this blog and/or have some proven expertise in the area to be discussed.   Explore the Guest Post category to see examples of others that have been accepted.  

This blog assumes readers have decent critical thinking skills.  They don’t need happy talk or vagueness; they need information and clear argument that explores real issues and trade-offs. 

Every day I receive inquiries about guest posting from people who don’t seem to be writing to me in particular, and who are offering either very generic material, or happy-talk, or something off-topic.  I treat those as spam.

Guest posts have to deal centrally with public transit — this blog’s core topic — but, like the blog, they can range across broader issues of urbanism, ecology, and culture so long as this discussion remains rooted in a transit issue.

Guest posts can be original for HT or cross-posts from other publications, so long as (a) no copyright is being violated and (b) the piece is appropriate to HT’s standards, as outlined below.  Cross-posts are especially welcome from blogs that don’t interact with HT routinely.

HT posts are of several kinds and guest posts can be as well:

Discussions of a Specific Issue

Transit issues can be discussed either in the abstract, as I do in the Basics post series, or in a specific case.  Most guest posts are about the latter.  When discussing issues, the rules are:

  • Make sure that a reader unfamiliar with the city in question can still understand the issue and learn from its example.  Emphasise how the local issue illustrates a more universal observation or question.
  • Guest posts that attack individuals or organizations, or that tell stories that are mainly about local politics, are usually not welcome.  Talk about policies defined and decisions made, and what can be learned from the results that’s similar to other cities.
  • Provide a clear map of the issue, if the issue has a geographic form — e.g. a network design or alignment question.  Use some form of Frequent Network mapping if this is necessary to make the issue clear.
  • Respect the primary motive of this blog, which is to help readers form their own defensible opinions about transit, opinions that reflect their values, not necessarily mine or yours.  I try to do this not by giving you my opinions, but rather by exploring the consequences of various possible choices.  Where my values inevitably intrude, I try to mark that clearly so that the reader can see this and choose whether to take my values on.  Good guest posts will do this too.  They don’t say “xxx is a dumb idea because it will hurt seniors.”   They say something like “xxx, however, may create problems for seniors.”  Perhaps they then go on to evaluate that impact and how the reader might go about forming her own view on whether the benefits outweigh that impact.
  • If the local issue you’re discussing is an example of a larger theme that shows up often on HT, link to other posts on that theme, including a “Basics” post if it exists.  Obviously you should link to other relevant sources liberally as well.  However, links back to HT help to enrich the internal coherence and completeness of the blog, which is a priority of mine.

“Reviews” of Transit Architecture and Other Arts

Commentary on transit architecture, public art, creative writing on the theme, etc, are welcome.  Your own values inevitably affect your aesthetic response, but good reviews try to relate their opinions to widely held concerns or views.  Again, reviews must make sense to people who don’t have access to the original work, so they must have adequate photos, drawings, quotations etc.  I will tend to judge these based on the depth and originality and usefulness of your perceptions, which is quite different from whether I share the reviewer’s aesthetic opinion.

Reviews of Nonfiction Books

These are very welcome because I don’t have time to read every book on the many topics related to transit.  The book can be on any transportation or urbanism topic that connects with transit.  The review should give emphasis to the transit dimension of the issue, or how the book discusses transit.  It should be clear from your review that you know the territory well enough to evaluate the book in the context of current trends of thinking about the issue.

Commentaries on Journalism

Now and then, a journalist writes something that’s especially adept, or especially bad, in a way that’s useful as an example to others.  I encourage guest posts on these (as well as a simple link to them if you want my comment on them).

How to Submit

To submit, just email me a draft post, including any photos or images (JPG or PNG format).  Include a short (5-10 line) bio of you and any links to your own blog or professional website.  If you have an idea you want to run past me before you write it, that’s fine; send a few paragraphs.  Present your idea as specifically as you can so that it stands out clearly from all the generic stuff in my inbox, and explain the professional or personal experience that can help to establish your credibility, if any.

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