I was in Brazil for the last two weeks; more on that later. For now, here are three things I wrote for City Observatory that were published in the interim: 1. Between highrises and single family homes: housing’s “missing middle” This kind of mid-density, low-rise housing—including duplexes, triplexes, townhomes, and other low-density multi-family buildings—has been called the … Continue reading While I was gone: three posts!
At City Observatory: And that matters because the people who make decisions about transit investments – politicians – look at how many of their constituents benefit from a given service as a major component of whether they benefit politically from supporting it. And if they’re just looking at commute share, they’re looking at too few people. Even … Continue reading Undercounting the transit constituency
I’ve written these roughly in descending order of how much sense they seem to make for the city, but I should say that I think context matters an enormous amount in determining what kind of transit service makes the most sense, and this is meant more as an attempt at an outline of the tradeoffs … Continue reading Rail transit options in Chicago
Very briefly, before a trip to China (yay!): 1. December 2014 was the first month of year-over-year ridership growth for CTA buses since November 2012. (Zero point one percent growth, but you know, it’s the trend that counts.) January 2015 was the second. (5.6% – though from a very low baseline of Polar Vortex-ified January … Continue reading Sometimes things are nice
The news from the CTA last week was that a longtime trend of convergence between bus and rail ridership is, if anything, picking up speed: CTA ridership from 1995>2014, w/ future estimates based on 20-yr trend. Rail should be higher than bus in 2017 pic.twitter.com/Vm4FVTfQPV — Yonah Freemark (@yfreemark) March 6, 2015 It’s hard to … Continue reading Two pieces of context re: bus ridership declines
A story about MARTA from Atlanta Magazine accidentally stumbles on the secret to transit ridership (emphasis is mine): Parker and MARTA supporters need to re-engineer a mindset that’s prevailed for more than a half century. In many major cities—New York, Chicago, and Paris, for instance—transit is considered the smart, efficient way to get around town. Everyone … Continue reading The transit mindset
Redeye‘s Tracy Swartz – one of the city’s best writers on the transportation beat outside of Streetsblog Chicago, to whom you should still give money – has an interesting article about why people choose to remain on transit (or not) while gas prices plummet. There are actually some interesting lessons in that part of the article, but I … Continue reading How many carless workers are there in Chicago?
One of the weirder recurring intra-urbanist fights is about whether buses or trains are better. This seems like a deeply silly argument to me, akin to angrily taking sides about whether people should eat cereal or spaghetti. That is to say: surely that depends on the time of day, and surely the “best” transportation technology … Continue reading A matter of scale
Very often when I say the word “bus” out loud, someone will volunteer that they hate buses. The conversation might go like this: ME: Bus ridership is down. It’s not clear why. FRIEND: Have you considered the possibility that buses just suck? I find these conversations frustrating, because the people I’m talking to are wrong, … Continue reading Buses: they don’t have to suck
A while ago, I pretty much lost a debate in the comments with transit writer extraordinaire Alon Levy. At issue was whether mode share – the percentage of commuters who use transit, cars, biking, etc., to get to work – was the best way to measure the effectiveness of a city’s public transportation. The debate … Continue reading Why do we care about mode share, ctd.