Talking Headways Podcast: Peak Experience with Jarrett Walker

Jarrett Walker of Human Transit fame joins the podcast this week to talk about how to communicate transportation and planning concepts to the public. Jarrett tells us about the importance of humanities majors in transportation professions, why NIMBYs feel the way they do, and how we can think differently about the language we use to discuss housing and transportation.

  • Stephen Simac

    He makes an interesting point that micro-transit (smaller transit vehicles that follow demand rather than schedules) will never be as cost effective for transporting people (even when they’re not full) as larger buses because the expense of drivers is half the cost of operation. These expenses may not calculate capital costs for larger articulated buses, public meetings required to ‘sell them’ to skeptical more
    affluent communities and other expense, but apparently they pencil out as long as drivers are part of the equation. The aim of transit agencies should be to fill larger vehicles by increasing ease of boarding, speed of travel with bus only lanes, and improving ride quality to reduce subsidies per rider, utilizing ride sharing vehicles for the last mile if needed.

    Non-riders resent bigger buses because they’re frequently not full and feel more intrusive, dangerous, and other scary things, but most personal vehicles are driver only. They don’t seem to mind enormous work trucks driven around empty. Because of better gas mileage, even filled buses are less energy efficient per passenger mile traveled than capacity filled cars or vans, but these are rare. Shared, electric, automated pool vans supposedly will disrupt traffic jams as we know them, around the time flying vehicles finally arrive as winged monkeys.

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