Human Transit: clearer thinking how public transport can enrich communities and lives

Published on 28/12/2023 at 7:32 am.

Opinion - Since 1991, Jarrett Walker, has been a consulting transit planner, helping to design transit networks and policies for a huge range of communities.  His goal is to start conversations about how transit works and how we can use it to create better cities and towns.

For decades, the private car has seemed the ideal tool for free and spontaneous travel, and in rural areas and many small towns, that will continue to be true. But all over the world, people are moving into cities, and great cities just don’t have room for everyone’s car.

Meanwhile, the converging threats of climate change and the end of cheap oil are forcing a new assessment of how cities work. Public transit–the most efficient mode for moving large numbers of people long distances across cities–is an essential tool in that effort. Today, even Los Angeles and Houston, world famous for their extreme dependence on cars, are scrambling to grow their transit systems as fast as they can manage.

The frustrations of urban transportation have fed a growing public interest in public transit in many countries. But when well-intentioned people look at the public transit around them, many conclude that it doesn’t make sense for them to use it.

There are many logical reasons not to use transit. It may not go where you need it to go, or at the time you need to go. Perhaps you can get there three times faster by driving, or at half the cost. You may know from experience that you can’t trust your service to come on time.

Your transit agency’s vehicles and staff may fail to meet the most basic standards for civility, safety, and comfort. Your transit network may be too confusing, requiring you to wade through too much detail to figure out whether the service is useful to you.

To read more of Jarrett Walker article is available at -

The content used on is for education purposes only and the promotion of better public transport and sustainable environmentally friendly urban design in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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