This blog is a resource, not just a source of New Exciting or Enraging Stuff. Each year I review the most-read pages from the previous year, and am always relieved to find old posts, which were written to last, still doing well. This year, three of the top ten are from 2010-11, and a 2009 post is #13. (Two of those posts later became parts of my book.) Here’s the list:
- The Dangers of Elite Projection (July 2017). This is one of my most useful posts ever, about a basic mistake that’s everywhere in city planning. It’s an example of my attempt to talk very patiently and inclusively about a difficult topic that makes people very emotional. (Also #1 last year).
- The Problem of School Transportation (August 2017). Why don’t transit agencies serve schools in just the way they need? Here’s the answer. (Surprisingly viral. Not on the list last year, but then it was written late in the year.)
- Basics: Walking Distance to Transit. (2010) An explainer. (#4 last year.)
- Basics: The Spacing of Stops and Stations. (2010). This turned into Chapter 4 of my book. (#5 last year)
- That Photo That Explains Almost Everything (2011). You’ve seen the photo. I notice a few things in it beyond its first impression. (#6 last year)
- Streetcars vs Light Rail … Is there a Difference. (2010). Not linking to this one because it’s dated and I need to rewrite it, which I will do soon. (Not on the list last year.)
- Does Elon Musk Understand Urban Geometry? (2016) My first effort at laying out what’s wrong with Elon Musk’s attempts to make cars go faster through cities, and to provide “service to your door.” Written several months before I got Musk’s attention. (Down from #2 last year, which I hope means that my interaction with Musk is receding as a topic.}
- Microtransit: What I Think We Know. (February 2018). The summary of my “microtransit week” series of posts, which lays out my concerns about the over-hyping of this supposedly new idea.
- Do We Need a New Theory and Name for Bike Lanes? (August 2018) A brainstorm that happened on a bus. (Surprisingly high for a post written so late in the year.)
- Apps Are Not Transforming the Urban Transport Business. (February 2018) The urban passenger transport business is just not very profitable, and never has been. Apps, both for ride-hailing (Uber etc.) and microtransit, seem to improve customer experience without improving efficiency.
And a few important ones that are just outside the top ten:
- 11. Dublin: A New Map of Where You Can Go, and How. (August 2018). The link is dead, but this is still a good explanation of isochrone mapping, a surprisingly high rank for a piece written in August, in the midst of the Dublin network redesign phase 2 outreach. Again, surprisingly high for a piece written so late in the year.
- 12. Is Microtransit a Sensible Transit Investment? (February 2018). Part of “microtransit week,” see #8 above.
- 13. Streetcars: An Inconvenient Truth. (2009) My first controversial post, still starting arguments eight years later. (#9 last year)
- 14. Explainer: The Transit Ridership Recipe (2015). Perhaps my single most essential explainer, but it’s now been updated and improved as this page. (#11 last year)
- 15. Why Your Bus Network May Never Improve (August 2018). Understanding the political challenge of bus network redesign.
A very sensible selection, readers, by you and the publications that linked here! Honored to have such a thoughtful audiencc.
Happy New Year.
Your article, “Inconvenient Truth About Streetcars” is probably one of my favorite articles of all time. Although I strongly support city planning, I have some libertarian tendencies that I keep going back to.
I have always said that we need to prioritize people, and not vehicles. This is why many times these transit debates seem so frustrating to me. Infrastructure cost could be reduced by simply taking a lane for busses because then busses will move faster, moving more people.
Some will say this is not fair to the cars, but it is fair to people because it gives them a choice to get where they want faster by taking transit, or in comfort at the same speed as before because drivers will choose to move faster by bus.
Once the citizens in the city see it is faster and more efficient, they will demand more. But, I’m preaching to the choir.
Anyway, I have been following your blog for a few years now and I appreciate the level headed non political perspective you bring to the table based more on facts and geography and geometry, and less on ideology.
Here is a sincere thanks and best wishes to a new year.
looking forward to you rewriting your Light Rail vs Streetcars post, I know where I stand on that now, curious about where do you
Capacity for streetcars is higher than is possible with the same number of buses. The 504 King street car in Toronto is now carrying around 80,000 passengers per day on streets, more than many US rapid transit lines and two of Toronto’s. Granted there have been some traffic restrictions put in place on the downtown section but there is no exclusive right of way.