Found: Human Transit

13 Nov

Human Transit is a transit planning and policy blog written by Jarrett Walker, a transit planning consultant in Sydney.

Rather than try to explain what’s so cool about HT, I’ll let the author do it:

“Much of my work has been about analyzing public transit problems to separate the technical question from the question about values.”

For all my fascination with transit, I’m not conversant with many of the technical aspects of it because I came by my interest solely through being a user. Reading HT, it’s easy to become more fluent in the language of the gears and levers that make a transit system work (well or badly).

But along with that, HT acknowledges that transit planning decisions aren’t value-neutral. When planners develop routes or schedules, or reduce or eliminate service, it’s an expression of values – values that inevitably won’t align with those of some users. That conflict – between users’ preferences and what planners see as most efficient and cost-effective – is present in every transit system, from the most modest to the most robust.

The writing at HT can feel a touch jargon-y if you’re not used to it, and it’s often not a quick read, but you’ll always come away knowing something that you didn’t before or thinking about something that you did know in a different way.

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