Friday, October 03, 2008

Where The People Are

I was mostly kidding about building SUPERTRAINS to nowhere, but my point was that we'll know our thinking about transit has changed (if it happens) when at least conceptually it's incorporated into future regional development plans, if not actually built until a future date.

As for where to build mass transit now, I do think that too much talk about transit involves thinking about mass transit as simply a substitute for highway commuting for suburban commuters. It's something people use once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and that's it. These systems might be good ideas, but by themselves they don't necessarily encourage the kind of land use changes that create density and reduce car dependency. More focus on improving transit where it actually exists and around the edge of that would be desirable. While I think any decent public transit system needs to be anchored around a decent rail (subway, trolley, light rail, commuter rail) network, making modest improvements to bus systems, while not as sexy, can achieve a lot.