In the Atlantic today, Richard Florida announces that:
- the non-car renaissance is being led by relatively dense metro areas and university towns and
- that the strongest correlation with non-car use is belonging to his trademark Creative Class.
This will not be breaking news to anyone who's worked in transit for more than 15 minutes.
Before we make policy based on regression analyses like this, we need to think about which of these factors are durable, and which are ephemeral. As a transit network planner I feel much more confident basing my designs on long-term stable things like density, rather than ephemeral things like what the current generation seems to want.
It is also important to caution against any suggestion that "class," creative or otherwise, should guide transit planning decisions. Such thinking tends to result in "symbolic transit." See my recent article on a textbook example of this:
More importantly: if "creative class" simply means "relatively educated and open-minded people who are more adaptable than average," then of course they are best suited to non-car modes. Any growing trend relies on early adoption, which by definition is done by more open-minded and adaptable people. So a claim that a transit renaissance is led by the "creative class" is almost a tautology.