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Public Transport: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
How Much Does A Bus Cost to Purchase and Operate?
This article describes how much it costs transit agencies to purchase and then operate a bus in daily service.
Why Don't Buses Have Seatbelts?
This article examines why buses are not required to have seatbelts and concludes that it is for two main reasons - cost and the fact that adding seatbelts is unlikely to make travel by bus, already the safest mode of travel, even safer.
How Much Do Rail Transit Projects Cost to Build...
This article examines the capital costs of recent rail transit projects in the United States and Canada and describes some factors that help to explain the differences in costs.
Electric Buses - An Introduction
This article describes everything you would like to know about electric buses - how they work, how much they cost, the advantages and disadvantages of using them, and the prognosis for their future usage.
The Basics of Transit Funding
After defining the difference between operating and capital funding, this article describes the different ways of financially supporting transit, including farebox revenues and revenues from sales, gas, property, and income taxes. Next, the article talks about transit support at the local, state, and federal level and refers to the New Starts Program, the JARC program, and transit funding in California and New York. Local funding is then discussed, including innovative local transit funding programs such as Los Angeles's Measure R and America Fast Forward.
What Happens to Buses After Their Useful Life...
Obviously the bus does not disintegrate at that time. The answer is that the buses are often sold at an auction, and sometimes sold through dealerships.
Rail Transit and Property Values
A summary of the effect that rail transit has on property values.
How Do Bus Routes and Schedules Get Planned?
This article provides an overview of how bus routes and schedules get planned. It includes discussion of the following: long range planning, grant applications, and short-range route and schedule planning.
What Are the True Operating Cost Differences...
This article examines the operating cost differences between bus and light rail and concludes that the data show that buses are considerably cheaper to operate than light rail vehicles.
Becoming a Bus Driver: From the Initial Testing...
This article goes over how to become and stay a bus driver, from the initial testing to continuing education.
Software Used in the Public Transit Industry:...
This article provides a brief overview of the scheduling software used in the public transit industry and then focuses on Hastus by GIRO, and includes what kind of prices you are likely to pay for Hastus. It then finishes with a short discussion of what the future is likely to hold for scheduling software packages.
The Two Methods of Subway Construction
This article describes the two basic methods of building a subway.
How Long Do Buses (and Other Transit Vehicles)...
This article discusses how long transit buses and other vehicles are expected to last in the United States and other countries.
Profile of the Texas High Speed Rail "T-Bone"...
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Do People Who Ride Public Transit Get Sick More?
This article examines if people who ride public transit get sick more than other people, and concludes that there is insufficient evidence to answer this question.
Why We Cannot Cancel the Subway Line and Use...
This article describes the difference between transit capital and operating funding.
Designing Bus Routes and Schedules Part I:...
This article describes the steps to follow in determining the initial placement of a new bus route.
What Is the Capacity of Different Modes of...
This article describes the relative capacities of different modes of transit. Cities are cautioned against building rapid transit lines with either too much capacity - since it wastes money - or too little capacity - since a day will come when the line is saturated with passengers and cannot add any more.
Contracting Out of Public Transit - Types of...
This article describes the two possible ways that transit authorities could contract out to private operators - just contract out operations or contract out planning and operations - and the advantages and disadvantages of each in comparison with public sector operation.
How Do Transit Agencies Decide on What Buses to...
This is the first in a series or article examine how transit agencies decide on what kind of bus to purchase. This entry describes how transit agencies determine what size of bus to buy.
Designing Bus Routes and Schedules Part III:...
This installment describes how times for the bus are calculated, and how time points are determined.
Review of Sustainable Transportation: Problems...
This is a review of Sustainable Transportation: Problems and Solutions by William Black.
Vancouver Night Shelter 1
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in British Columbia. Currently featured are the buses, trolley buses, and Skytrain operated by Vancouver Translink. Page 13.
How Transit Agencies Decide on What Buses to...
This is the third in a series or article examine how transit agencies decide on what kind of bus to purchase. This entry describes how transit agencies determine whether to buy high or low floor buses, and what manufacturer to buy from.
How Will Self-Driving Cars Affect Public...
This article examines how self-driving cars could affect public transit and public transportation and concludes that while some demand for transit will be reduced, many current transit passengers will be too poor to take advantage of these new technologies and transit systems, by significantly reducing labor costs, will be able to rely on fewer government subsidies.
Six Tips To Market and Promote Your Transit...
These are six basic tips to keep in mind while marketing your public transportation system.
How AVL Works and How It Is Used in the Transit...
This article described how AVL (automatic vehicle location) works and how it is used in the transit industry.
Bus Rapid Transit - A Definition
A definition of Bus Rapid Transit
Transit 101: The Load Factor
This article advocates for a new lower load factor standard for low floor transit vehicles. It also advocated for a lower load factor when buses operate less frequently, because the negative effect of being passed up is obviously greater when the wait for the next bus is longer.
The Last Mile Problem
This article examines the last mile problem in transit planning and how it could be overcome.
How Transit Agencies Decide on What Buses To...
This is the second in a series or article examine how transit agencies decide on what kind of bus to purchase. This entry describes how transit agencies determine what kind of propulsion system to buy.
Bus Driver Health
This article describes the unhealthy nature of bus driving and makes three recommendations to improve bus driver health.
Automated Passenger Counting (APC) Systems: How...
Automated Passenger Counting (APC) systems are revolutionizing the transit industry by providing much more information about ridership and on-time performance than has historically been available. Read about how they work here.
Designing Bus Routes and Schedules Part II:...
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Overview of the Bus Rapid Transit versus light...
This article provides an overview of the debate between whether light rail or bus rapid transit will/should be built in a particular corridor.
Designing Bus Routes and Schedules Part V:...
The fifth in a series of five articles giving a brief overview of how bus routes and schedules get designed.
Designing Bus Routes and Schedules Part IV:...
The fourth part of the series in which I describe how bus routes and schedules get designed. Page 2.
Route and Schedule Planning Part I: Placement...
This article describes the steps to follow in determining the initial placement of a new bus route. Page 2.
Five Top Employment Issues
This list describes the five top employment issues in the transit industry. They are: absenteeism, workers compensation, interactions between drivers and passengers, split shifts, and employee breaks.
Vancouver Night Shelter 2
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in British Columbia. Currently featured are the buses, trolley buses, and Skytrain operated by Vancouver Translink. Page 14.
Progression of Writing a Vehicle Schedule in...
This is the first of a series of articles describing more specifically the steps of writing schedules in Hastus and other scheduling software programs.
How Do Bus Drivers Pick What Routes They Drive?
This article describes how bus drivers pick what routes they drive and how the way in which they pick their routes helps us improve our transit system.
Profile of the California High Speed Rail Project
This article profiles the California High Speed Rail Project, including the route, cost, annual ridership, and outlook.
Fare Evasion
An examination of fare evasion; included are descriptions of what is is, how many people do it, and what it costs transit agencies.
Five Ways to Improve Transit Passenger Security
This article describes five ways that transit systems can improve passenger security: install security cameras, improve lighting at stops and stations, initiate a request stop program, make real time schedule information available on phones, and employ CPTED (crime prevention through environmental design) principles.
A Common Scheduling Problem
This article describes a common bus scheduling problem and four ways in which it can be resolved.
High Speed Rail in the United States: Corridor...
An overview of the current progress on each of the ten federally designated high speed rail corridors in the United States, including links to specific pages on each of the ten.
Three Union Work Rules That Increase the Cost...
Here I describe three union work rules that increase the cost of operating transit, and conclude that eliminating the rules would make transit more economically efficient without affecting the wages or benefits of the bus drivers.
Three Ways to Improve Recruitment of Bus Drivers
This article describes the requirements of being a bus driver and how transit agencies could improve the recruitment of bus drivers by relaxing some of the requirements.
The Use of Gondola Lifts and Aerial Trams in...
This article examines how gondola lifts and aerial trams, usually found only in ski resort settings, are used more broadly for public transportation.
New York State Public Transit Funding
This is a quick overview of New York Public Transit Funding, and includes detailed information about state and local sources of transit revenue and outlays of transit revenue. An analysis of the future of California public transit funding is also presented. This article also includes an off-site link for more information.
Overview of the National Transit Database (NTD)
This article gives an overview of the federal requirement that transit agencies submit annual data about the number of accidents, crimes, ridership, and passenger miles to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) for inclusion in the NTD (National Transit Database). Agencies gather this information either by using automated passenger counting systems (APCs) or by manually collecting the data through riding randomly selected trips.
Los Angeles Metro Profile
This is a profile of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
California Public Transit Funding
This is a quick overview of California Public Transit Funding, and includes detailed information about state and local sources of transit revenue and outlays of transit revenue. An analysis of the future of California public transit funding is also presented. This article also includes an off-site link for more information.
How Do I Become a Transit Planner or Bus...
This article describes two ways in which you can land a transit planning or bus scheduling job.
How Safe Is Transit?
This article assesses the safety of transit, and concludes it is much safer to take transit than it is to drive or ride a bicycle despite the high profile transit fatalities that occurred as a result of the London terrorist bombings in 2005 and the Metrolink commuter train crash in Los Angeles in 2008. It ends by describing new safety procedures that have been put in place since the above incidents that have increased transit safety.
Transit 101: Transit Centers
This article describes the advantages and disadvantages of off-street transit centers and concludes that if used correctly they can improve the transit experience for passengers in small to medium sized cities, but space limitations prevent effective usage in large cities with the most robust transit systems.
Transit 101: The Layover
An article describing an essential aspect of transit, the layover location.
Lessons Learned: Sequoia Shuttle
This is an overview of the Sequoia Shuttle, a partnership between the National Park Service and Visalia Transit which connects the city of Visalia, CA to Sequoia National Park.
Software Used in the Public Transit Profession:...
A quick overview of ESRI's Arc GIS products and how they are used in the public transit industry.
Where Do People Like to Sit in the Subway?
This article examines a study which examined where people like to sit in the subway.
The Proper Stop Spacing of Rapid Transit Lines
This article examines how closely together subway stations should be, and concludes that 1/2 mile is the optimum stop spacing for subway lines.
Transit Fare Payment Systems - A Primer
This article introduces the different ways transit fares can be paid, including by cash, token, ticket, transfer, day pass, monthly pass, UPASSES, tap cards, and through open fare payments by using credit cards.
GET 4
This image gallery contains pictures of transit from Bakersfield and Fresno in the Central Valley of California. Page 6.
Transit in Sydney, Australia
This article describes transit in Sydney, Australia and lessons that North American transit operators can learn from Sydney.
Transit 101: Extra Board Operators
This article describes extra board operators. Extra board operators fill in for regular bus drivers when the regular drivers are sick or on vacation.
New York MTA Capital Projects
This article goes over the three major capital projects currently being constructed by the New York MTA - the Long Island Railroad access to Grand Central Station, the extension of subway Line 7 to the far west side of Manhattan, and the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway from 63rd to 96th Street.
Elasticty of Ridership In Regards to Transit...
This article examines the elasticity of transit ridership in response to changes in fares and service levels.
The Branding and Marketing of Transit Systems...
This article examines the importance of the name to a transit system's identity, and goes through a list of good and bad transit agency names and what makes each one good or bad. Finally, it suggests setting up an outlet through which transit agencies can see branded product.
Walking Distance to Transit
This article examines how far people are willing to walk to transit.
Canada Line 1
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in British Columbia. Currently featured are the buses, trolley buses, and Skytrain operated by Vancouver Translink. Page 15.
Learn what goes into making a perfect bus stop...
An article which describe the aspects of a perfect bus stop.
Review of Public Transport in Developing...
A review of Public Transport in Developing Countries by Richard Iles.
How You Can Design Transit Networks at Home -...
This article describes the basic makeup of a recent urban planning class taught by Jarrett Walker and how in a simplified format any person can engage in a similar activity, which is an effective way to think more about how public transit can better serve a particular city.
The Charter Rule
This article described under what circumstances public transit agencies are allowed to provide charter bus services.
Review of the New Federal Transportation Bill -...
Here is my review of the new federal transportation bill - MAP-21 (Moving Ahead for Progress In the 21st Century).
Review of the Acela Express
A review and profile of the Acela Express, an Amtrak train that is America's only kind of high speed train.
Transit In Detroit
This article goes over the public transit options available in the Motor City, including a description of the network, funding, fares, and planned projects.
Park and Ride Lots
An article about park and ride lots that describes their need, the last mile problem, proper placement, transit oriented development, and whether we should charge for parking.
Value Engineering
This article describes value engineering - a concept used in rapid transit project management to control costs that sometimes leaves the resulting project unusable to unable to accommodate larger than expected demand.
California High Speed Rail Business Plan Part I...
The California High Speed Rail project recently came out with a revised business plan. This article is the first of three that will review elements of the plan, in this case, the cost.
Exploring Comparative Ridership and Ridership...
This article reviews an article exploring ridership differentials between bus rapid transit and light rail transit.
Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) - Does It...
This entry examines whether transit-oriented development increases ridership, and be referencing several case studies demonstrates that it does. It calls for more analysis to determine if the size of the city's rapid transit network predicts the success of transit oriented development.
Demise of the Streetcar in the United States
This article describes six major reasons why streetcars were replaced by buses in the United States, why streetcars, also called trams, continue to be used extensively in Europe, and the recent trend towards construction of new streetcar and light rail lines.
Transit In Denver
This article examines public transportation in Denver, Colorado.
Transit Advocacy Groups: How to Make a Difference
Learn how you can make a difference in your transit system even if you do not work for the local transit agency.
Profile of New York MTA
Overview of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including facts about ridership, the network, funding, and future transit projects.
Transit 101: The Spare Ratio
This article explains what the spare ratio is in transit, how much the spare ratio usually is, and factors that can affect the spare ratio.
Profile of the Bus Riders Union
A profile of the Bus Riders Union, a citizens activist group bases in Los Angeles.
Overview of Title VI
This article provides an overview of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and how it ensures that transit agencies provide their services in a racially equitable manner.
Review of Urban Transportation Planning, Second...
A review of Urban Transportation, Second Edition by Michael Meyer and Eric Miller.
Fuel Cell Buses
A review of fuel cell buses. Public Transport.
Technology in Transit
An article reviewing how technology has made its mark in transit.
Electric Buses
A gallery of electric buses, especially the new BYD electric bus purchased by Long Beach Transit.
Transit in Ann Arbor, MI: A Tale of Two Providers
A description of transit in Ann Arbor, MI.
San Diego Bus 2
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from San Diego, California, including the San Diego Trolley, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's buses, and the North County Transit District. Page 2.
Review of Underground Woman
A review of Underground Woman - My Four Years As a New York City Subway Conductor by Marian Swerdlow.
Discrediting Three Major Arguments Against High...
This article discredits three major arguments against high speed rail - that we don't need it now (we're going to need it in the future); that it's too expensive (the cost is reasonable); and that the first segment is going from nowhere to nowhere (it's the first incomplete step - you have to start somewhere).
Two Ways of Looking at Transit Network Design
Two ways of looking at transit network design are described - the point-to-point system, in which many routes exist that attempt to connect everywhere to everywhere - and the grid system, in which every major street tends to have one route, and routes tend to be straight lines.
A Review of Embarq Corporation's Article About...
A review of Embarq corporation's recent article about how to improve transit ridership through marketing tools. Some of the tools include build a strong brand and identity, value internal communication, educate the users of your system early and often, provide simple but informative maps and schedules, tailor marketing messages to specific groups, control the media, be responsive to riders, and disseminate your information online.
Transit Grant Writing Part I
This article is the first of series that explores the topic of transit grants and grant writing.
Eight Reasons Why People Stop Using Public...
This article reviews a journal article that elucidated eight reasons why people stop using transit and made recommendations to overcome those reasons.
The School Service Rule
This article describes what kind of transportation local transit agencies can offer to schools and how such transportation may be restricted by Federal Transit Administration regulations.
Transfers Versus the Daypass
This article examines the pros and cons of the transfer versus the daypass, and concludes that since both are useful in certain situations transit agencies should offer both of them.
Transit 101: Relief Points
This article describes relief points, the locations along a bus route where drivers shift changes can happen.
A New Kind of Transit Passenger - the...
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Review of The Death and Life of Great American...
This article is a transit-tinged review of the Death and Life of Great American Cities, one of the greatest books on planning ever written.
Destination Signs
An article describing transit vehicle destination or headsigns.
Canada Line 2
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in British Columbia. Currently featured are the buses, trolley buses, and Skytrain operated by Vancouver Translink. Page 16.
Merger of New Flyer and NABI, Good for the...
This article examines if the June 2013 merger between New Flyer and NABI will be good for the industry.
California High Speed Rail Project Updates
This article profiles the California High Speed Rail Project, including the route, cost, annual ridership, and outlook. Page 2.
Positive Train Control
This article described what positive train control is, why we need positive train control, and what is taking so long for us to get it.
Transit In the Seattle - Tacoma Metropolitan Area
This article examines the public transit situation in the Seattle - Tacoma area, including information about the network, fares, funding sources, and future projects.
Los Angeles County's Measure R
A summary of Los Angeles County's Measure R Sales Tax increase, including funding distribution, current status, and future issues.
Local Funding of Transit
This article describes some of the non-fare based local revenue sources for public transit.
The Rules of the Run Cut Part I: Defining the...
This article describes the different duty types that make up a typical transit agency's run cut.
Contracting Out: How Common Is It and What Are...
This article describes how common the contracting out (or privatization) of public transit operations has become and the cost savings of privatization of transit service.
Muni Trolley Bus Market Street
This gallery contains images of transit and buses from the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently featured are the cable cars, streetcars (historic and otherwise), buses and trolley buses of the San Francisco Municipal Railway and the rapid transit lines operated by BART.
Las Vegas's Regional Transportation Commission
Overview of Las Vegas's Regional Transportation Commission, including facts about ridership, the network, funding; and an overview of future transit projects.
San Diego Trolley 1
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from San Diego, California, including the San Diego Trolley, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's buses, and the North County Transit District. Page 8.
Flat Versus Distance-Based Fares
This article examines the advantages and disadvantages of flat versus distance-based fares.
How Safe Do Young People Feel on Transit?
This article reviews an article published in the Journal of Public Transportation assessing how safe young people in Melbourne, Australia feel about using public transportation.
New Starts Program Overview
An overview of the Federal New Starts Program, the federal government's primary method of supporting the construction of new rapid transit lines and rehabilitation of existing ones. The program's budget is examined, including which projects are currently receiving funding. An analysis of the criteria upon which projects are judged follows; afterwards, the article discusses project timelines. The article concludes with an overall analysis of the program.
Profile of Long Beach Transit in California
A profile of Long Beach Transit in California
Vancouver Articulated Trolley 1
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in British Columbia. Currently featured are the buses, trolley buses, and Skytrain operated by Vancouver Translink. Page 25.
36 St Brooklyn Subway Station Entrance
This gallery contains images of transit and buses from the state of New York and New York City. Currently featured are the buses, subways, and commuter trains of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, including MTA New York Bus, MTA New York Subway,and MTA Metro North railroad. Page 27.
What Would Happen If Transit Were Free?
This article examines what would happen if transit were free and concludes that, with the exception of limited operations in areas of small population, free transit would cause significant overcrowding and vandalism.
Why Is Transit Better in Europe and Asia?
This article explains why transit is better in Europe and Asia than it is in the United States.
Other Important Federal Laws that Affect Public...
This article describes other important federal laws that affect public transit, namely the Buy American Law and Bill Clinton's Environmental Justice Executive Order.
The Advantages of Ten Hour Bus Driver Runs
This article explains how driver runs of ten hours can simultaneously improve both a transit agency's bottom line and offer drivers more life flexibility.
A Review of Left at the Station - A Civil...
A recent campaign in Denver has targeted the local transit agencies replacement of bus with rail service, charging that the higher cash fare required for rail has unfairly affected low income passengers. Of course, monthly and daily pass holders are unaffected by the cash fare difference. How can we help low income passengers enjoy the benefits of period passes?
High Speed Rail Update July 2013
An update of the happenings in the area of high speed rail in the first half of 2013.
Mississauga Transit 6
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in Ontario. Currently featured are some of the ten transit providers in the greater Toronto area, including the Toronto Transit Commission's buses, streetcars and subways; GO Transit; Mississauga Transit; and Brampton Transit. Page 5.
29th Avenue Station From Above
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in British Columbia. Currently featured are the buses, trolley buses, and Skytrain operated by Vancouver Translink. Page 7.
LA Metro 45 Footer 1
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in Southern California. Featured are the buses and rail lines of Los Angeles Metro, and the buses of Long Beach Transit, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Culver City Municipal Bus Lines, Foothill Transit, Torrance Transit, Orange County Transportation Authority, Foothill Transit, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's buses and rail lines, Santa Barbara Mass Transit District, Los Angeles DASH and Commuter Express, and others. Page 46.
Large Objects on Transit
This article examines how transit agencies can (and should) deal with large objects on transit vehicles.
Grand Central Station - Outside
This gallery contains images of transit and buses from the state of New York and New York City. Currently featured are the buses, subways, and commuter trains of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, including MTA New York Bus, MTA New York Subway,and MTA Metro North railroad. Page 16.
New York City Subway Map
This gallery contains images of transit and buses from the state of New York and New York City. Currently featured are the buses, subways, and commuter trains of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, including MTA New York Bus, MTA New York Subway,and MTA Metro North railroad. Page 28.
Transit 101: Is It Cheaper to Take Transit Or...
This article examines the relative cost of taking transit or driving a car, and emphatically concludes that taking transit is much cheaper than driving. In fact, the cost savings is the primary advantage of taking public transportation.
LB Line P2a
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in the Los Angeles Region. Featured are the buses and rail lines of Los Angeles Metro, and the buses of Long Beach Transit, Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Culver City Municipal Bus Lines, Foothill Transit, Torrance Transit, Orange County Transportation Authority, Foothill Transit, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's buses and rail lines, Santa Barbara Mass Transit District, Los Angeles DASH and Commuter Express, and others. Page 50.
Review of Mind the Gap: A London Underground...
A review of Mind the Gap: A London Underground Miscellany by Emily Kearns.
Eminent Domain and Public Transit
This article examines the use of eminent domain in public transit.
Timepoints: How Many Do We Need, and Do We Even...
This article examines timepoints: how many do we need, and do we even need them at all?
Vancouver Bus Stop - Sign Only
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from places in British Columbia. Currently featured are the buses, trolley buses, and Skytrain operated by Vancouver Translink. Page 10.
Transit 101: How Do We Determine Transit...
This article explains how we determine transit ridership.
California's Wage Order Number 9
This article summarizes California's Wage Order Number 9, which mandates rest periods and meal breaks, and it's effect on public transit in the state.
San Diego Trolley 2
This gallery contains images of buses and transit from San Diego, California, including the San Diego Trolley, the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's buses, and the North County Transit District. Page 9.
The Importance of Successful Bus-Rail Interfaces
Many transit systems are constructing light and heavy rail lines. But since their reach is necessarily limited, if bus system improvements do not happen concurrently with the rail line opening then the rail line will not be successful. This article describes how to create successful bus-rail interfaces.
Simplicity in Route Design
This article argues for simplicity in route design as a tool to attract higher patronage to transit.
Headways and Service Span
This article describes how by expanding headways at night we can expand service span at little or no additional cost.

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