Thursday’s Headlines Are Politics-Free

  • While suburban commuter trains run empty during the pandemic, transit agencies are finally refocusing on their highest-ridership routes, which are not coincidentally used mostly by people of color and have often been the most underfunded. (Grist)
  • Human Transit‘s Jarrett Walker debates another transportation expert on whether access to jobs or ridership predictions should be the top priority of transit agencies.
  • American drivers are buying bigger and bigger vehicles that kill more and more people (Urban Wire). Convincing people to buy smaller and smaller vehicles that still meet most of their needs is key (Public Square).
  • The D.C. Metro says subways will be on reduced service at least through the weekend as an investigation continues into a derailment that forced the transit agency to pull about half its cars off the tracks. (The Hill)
  • Austin is fighting for transportation equity on two fronts: for a $7 billion transit plan and against the state’s plans to widen I-35 to 20 lanes. (Slate)
  • The new bus rapid transit G Line will connect some of Seattle’s densest neighborhoods (Intelligent Transport). And it looks like the Center City Streetcar is going back on ice after Mayor Jenny Durkin recommended it in her 2022 budget (The Urbanist)
  • As Atlanta prepares to elect a new mayor, light rail on the BeltLine is literally the third rail of city politics and may never fulfill its promise. (Saporta Report)
  • Ann Arbor has hired a consultant to make a Vision Zero plan that includes reducing traffic speeds (MLive).
  • It’s nice that customers pitched in to buy a 60-year-old Virginia fast-food worker a car (WUSA), but wouldn’t it be nicer if she had access to a reliable transit system?
  • A former prison bus is now an art exhibition/community center in Brooklyn. (Next City)
  • Now you can download and 3D print a carbon-friendly wooden bike. (Fast Company)

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Jarrett Walker: Empty Buses Serve a Purpose

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Most transit agencies have been through some version of this scenario: In one part of the city, buses drive around stuffed like sardine tins, while elsewhere they can be all but empty. Car drivers mock the empty buses in low-density parts of the city. Some elected official picks up the banner, demanding that the transit […]