This was a fantastic book, and very optimistic. It really opened my eyes up to
the full gamut of possibilities for transit service provision.
[T]he transit metropolis represents a built form and a mobility environment
where transit is a far more respectable alternative to traveling than
currently is the case in much of the industrialized world. [...]
[W]hile automobile travel might still predominate, a transit metropolis is
one where enough travelers opt for transit riding, by virtue of the
workable transit-land use nexus, to place a region on a sustainable course.
- He divides the twelve case studies into four classes: adaptive cities that
have invested in rail to guide urban growth; adaptive transit in
places that have accepted sprawl and tried to fit transit to that pattern;
strong-core cities; and hybrids.
- As an example of adaptive transit, he describes service reforms aimed
at dramatically reducing waiting times and transfers, and uses Edmonton and
Calgary's pioneering 1970s timed-transfer system as an example (later imitated
by Ottawa and others). All connections are synchronized at transit centres,
with 5-10 buses arriving simultaneously, and wait as their riders make
connections. (I'm not sure how well that actually works in practice, mind
you—I've rarely heard anything positive about Edmonton's transit system
otherwise.) [p. 10]
- He believes in building transport to serve land use goals. [p. 12]
- He carefully uses the North American term transit rather than
the international term public transport, to avoid the U.S. connotation
of "public sector provision" rather than "available to the public"
- Jitneys do exist in the U.S. New York City has 3,000-5,000 vehicles
providing a higher quality service than transit, and Miami has a thriving
sector targeting immigrants. Airports also often have substantial
van-based jitney service [p. 16].
- The Moscow and Tokyo metro systems each carry 2.6-2.8 billion customers
per year, more than twice as many as London or Paris, even though their
systems are half the size [p. 20]. "On a riders per track kilometer basis,
the most intensively used metros are, in order, São Paulo, Moscow,
Tokyo, St. Petersburg, Osaka, Hong Kong, and Mexico City. Most Western
European, Canadian, and U.S. metros have one-third to one-quarter the
passenger throughput per track kilometer of these cities, in large part
because more of their residents own cars and the cost of driving is
- The World Bank lending for metro systems ceased completely in 1980 and
has resumed again only recently [p. 20].
- He discusses the pros and cons of his narrative case study approach
Many motorcycles in Asia are powered by two-stroke engines (largely phased
out in other parts of the world), which emit as much as ten times more
hydrocarbons and smoke per kilometer as four-stroke motorcycles and even cars.
According to one estimate, the South (i.e., the Southern Hemisphere,
including the poor countries of Africa Southeast Asia, and Latin America)
is responsible for 45 percent of the annual increase in fuel emissions that
are causing global warming, and much of this is attributed to rapid
increases in motorization, including two-wheelers.
As a result of both factors—declining real prices and improved fuel
economy—the real price of gasoline paid by America's motoring public for
each kilometer traveled fell by almost 50 percent [between 1980 and 1993].
Yet over the same period, inflation-adjusted transit fares rose by nearly
the same magnitude, 47 percent.
A study of hundreds of parking facilities across ten U.S. cities found that
peak parking demand absorbed, on average, only 56 percent of capacity
America's direct motoring subsidies contrast sharply with European
experiences, where the ratio of roadway taxes to expenditures range from
1.3 in Switzerland to 5.1 in the Netherlands [compared to 0.6 for the
Studies of hidden subsidies to motorists in Europe similarly place the
monetary figure at about 5 percent of the continent's total GDP
[68,76,50]. While (as
discussed later in this chapter) subsidies for transit riding in the United
States are probably comparable to those for motoring on a per passenger
kilometer basis, motoring subsidies are so huge in the aggregate (again, as
much as $2,400 billion annually [in the U.S.]) that they probably swamp
the impacts of some $15 billion in annual subsidies to U.S. transit
Studies show that a large share of government subsidies to transit get
consumed by higher labor costs and fewer kilometers of service per worker
Even fiscal conservatives have chimed in about favoritism [of road over
transit projects] in government programs. Paul Weyrich and William Lind of
the Free Congress Foundation in Washington, D.C., remark: "The current
division of market share between the automobile and mass transit is in no
way the product of a free market. On the contrary, it reflects massive and
sustained government intervention on behalf of automobiles... Massive
government intervention has so skewed the market toward the automobile that
many consumers do not have the option of a high-quality transit system
Efforts to expand the role of the private sector in delivering transit
services has probably, on balance, been a positive institutional trend.
With the onset of federal subsidy cuts under the Reagan administration,
many U.S. transit properties began competitively contracting out services
in the 1980s to the lowest bidder that could meet minimal service
standards. Studies show private operators of fixed-route bus services
brought cost savings of between 22 and 54 percent (mainly from hiring
nonunionized, lower-waged employees), along with higher labor productivity
(more vehicle kilometers per driver) [104,81].
A recent panel study of California metropolitan areas found new road
capacity induced travel: between 1973 and 1990, every 10 percent increase
in highway lane-kilometers led to a 9 percent increase in vehicle
kilometers traveled (VKT) within a four-year period, controlling for the
influences of other factors .
One study of bus-only cities in the United States and Europe estimated that
it is generally twice as fast to travel by car as by bus
. Even in larger rail-based cities in Japan
and Europe, the study found point-to-point travel times by car to be 3 to
23 percent shorter than by transit. The central premise of this book is
that transit will only become time-competitive with the car by improving
the match between how services are configured and cities are designed.
A study of Bangkok police officers regularly exposed to road traffic found
they had blood lead levels significantly above World Health Organization
(WHO) standards .
The United States, with just 4.6 percent of the world's population, produces
nearly one-quarter of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. However,
it is the rapidly developing and motorizing countries of the Southern
Hemisphere that pose the greatest threat to global climate change. Walter Hook
and Michael Replogle estimate that the South is responsible for
45 percent of the annual increases in greenhouse gas emissions
In 1995, the average commute by private automobiles in the United States
consumed 6,500 BTUs per passenger kilometer, compared to 5,940 BTUs per
passenger kilometer if the trip was by bus transit and 5,440 per passenger
kilometer if the trip was by rail transit [2,40]. Transit's energy advantages are
even higher elsewhere. In German cities, bus transit is estimated to be
four times more energy-efficient than the car, and tram and metro services
2.5 times more efficient .
Some critics charge, however, that when the energy expenditures for
constructing rail systems are counted, rail investments can be net energy
losers. One study estimated that, because of the high energy outlays in
building the transbay tube, San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
system uses 3.6 percent more energy annually than would an exclusive busway
along the Bay Bridge . Clearly, unless trains attract large numbers
of former motorists, the energy conservation benefits of new metros will
Of course, those are per-kilometer stats. If rail can successfully
encourage shorter trips than bus rapid transit, then a real energy benefit
can be seen.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three-quarters of all
traffic accidents occur in the Southern Hemisphere, even though there are
many more motorized vehicles north of the equator . In 1990, traffic
accidents ranked ninth among causes of death and disability worldwide. By
2020, WHO expects the road-traffic toll to jump to third place worldwide
(second place in developing countries). Part of the problem is the poor
enforcement of traffic laws in developing countries, but the more serious
problem is pedestrians, cyclists, carts, and scooters competing against
cars, trucks, and buses for limited road space. In New Delhi,
three-quarters of people killed on the road are pedestrians, cyclists and
motorcyclists . Shanghai averages ten times as many traffic
fatalities per capita as Tokyo, partly because of the high exposure of
pedestrians and cyclists to fast-moving traffic, but also because of
delays, caused by traffic congestion, in providing first aid to accident
[...] In wealthy countries, most citizens indemnify themselves against the
risk of traffic accidents through insurance payments, thus absorbing costs
and, should they require it, receiving compensation. Of course, in the
developing world, where insurance is often a luxury, the losses, pain, and
suffering experienced by victims and their families, who often are among
society's poorest, can be catastrophic.
A study of commuting in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles found that
unequal accessibility to jobs explained nearly half of the difference in
employment rates between black and white teenagers [56,59].
In contrast to the Western world, many poor households in developing
countries have been displaced to the periphery of metropolitan areas.
Living on the outskirts away from central city jobs, often imposes
significant financial hardships. In large cities with poor public transit
connections, low-income households spend as much as a quarter of their
earnings on transportation, and those living on the fringe can spend more
than three to four hours a day getting to and from work .
In what is perhaps the most complete and rigorous evaluation conducted to
date, Mark DeLucchi of the University of California at Davis placed the
hidden subsidies to U.S. motorists as high as slightly more than $1,000
billion each year [28,75,66].
There is simply no credible way to get at the full social benefits of
automobility. Many analysis maintain that unborne costs are more than
offset by the benefits conferred by private motor vehicles, including
higher economic productivity and freedom to live and travel as one chooses.
Even Mark DeLucchi, who has assigned higher social costs to automobile
travel than anyone, writes: "motor-vehicle use provides enormous social
benefits and, in our view, probably greatly exceeds the social cost."
While for some this is no doubt true, for many who are too poor to own a
car, the social costs of an auto-oriented world could very well exceed the
purported benefits. This is an area where disparities abound.
Other refs: [9,23,85,42,43,29,64,94,89,39,34,100,86,62,58,77,69]
- He sees four demand-side approaches: TDM, restraints on automotive
use, regulation of automobile performance, and pricing.
Any public policy whose compliance is gauged in terms of inputs (i.e.,
effort) instead of outcomes (i.e., performance) is wrongheaded and destined
to please few. The programs that most effectively modify travel behavior
pass on clear and unmistakable price signals, such as by underwriting
carpools and vanpools, charging for parking, and providing free or heavily
subsidized transit passes (thus partly offsetting the parking subsidies).
Berlin's area-wide traffic-calming measures have been credited with
removing traffic out of residential neighborhoods and onto commercial
streets and reducing citywide accidents involving pedestrians by 43
It is widely agreed that higher urban densities will do more than any
single change to our cityscapes in attracting people to trains and buses. A
cumulative body of empirical studies over the past half-century
convincingly show this to be the case. Statistical comparisons between
cities and across corridors within cities suggest that every 10 percent
increase in population and employment densities yields anywhere between a 5
and 8 percent increase in transit ridership, controlling for other factors
(such as the lower incomes, restricted parking, and better transit services
generally associated with more compact settings)
[72,67,91,80]. Studies also
consistently show that transit demand rises most sharply when going from
very low to modest densities—say, from 4 dwelling units per net
residential acre to 10 to 15 units per acre—that is, from settings with
quarter-acre spacious home sites to ones with mixes of small-lot detached
units and duplexes/triplexes [52,36,15].
Australian cities are less dense than their American counterparts and have
more road capacity per capita, yet still average 44 percent more transit
trips per capita, mainly due to substantially higher quality transit
services (see the Melbourne and Adelaide cases in this book).
- He has a good discussion of the Newman and Kenworthy (1989) debate
A recent analysis of work trips across eleven large U.S. metropolitan areas
showed that having stores between a transit stop and one's residence
increased the share of work trips via transit by several percentage points.
. Conveniently sited retail outlets meant transit riders could do
their shopping en route home in the evening, thus linking work and shop
trips in a single tour.
- He notes that San Diego apparently uses performance-based development
guidelines instead of zoning (p. 77)
One can find many examples of compact, mixed-use cities with active street
life—Bangkok, Jakarta, and São Paulo come to mind—that are hardly
paragons of sustainable development. What is often missing is good-quality
Research in New South Wales concluded that TDM policies coupled with
jobs-housing balance and mixed-use development will have a greater effect
on reducing greenhouse gas emissions than urban consolidation policies that
might have to wait a half-century or so for significant payoff
- John Holtzclaw  gets the credit for the
location-efficient mortgage idea (pp. 80,103)
[In Bremen, Germany] a new complex of 200 apartments and homes,
Bremen-Hollerland, accepts only tenants and homeowners who renounce car
ownership. [...] The program has been legally challenged by land developers
who fear that forbidding car possession through restrictive covenants could
significantly affect the market value of affected housing.
[106, p. 131].
[pp. 80, 103]
Several dozen studies have investigated the land-use and urban-form impacts
of new-generation rail systems built since the early 1950s in Toronto,
Montreal, San Francisco, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and other
cities, generally reaching similar conclusions: rail investments can induce
meaningful changes in urban landscapes, though only when the public sector
is committed to closely working with the private sector to bring this
One study claimed that the [Toronto Yonge St.] subway brought about a US$12
billion appreciation in citywide land values during its first decade of
- When Cervero describes the Toronto transit system, he praises the
fact that "at some stations, trams and trolley buses penetrate directly
into enclosed areas, enabling transferring patrons to step directly onto
subway concourses without passing through turnstiles." [p. 84] I'd never
thought of that as a distinctive or advantageous feature, but I guess it is
pretty distinctive in a North American context, actually. And convenient,
especially at some stations (Spadina, St. Clair West, and the Harbourfront
streetcar at Union Station).
- He cites 65 percent of all trips to Toronto's CBD by transit.
- He lists Hans Blumenfeld as another major personality in the Spadina
- He lists four steps taken to maximize development potential around
TTC stations: density bonuses, park-and-ride constraints ,
transferable development rights, and supplemental land acquisitions.
Canadian cities are granted considerable latitude in exercising
their police powers to seize private properties, with due compensation,
when doing so is in the broader public interest. During the mid-1950s, the
city of Toronto obtained twenty-two city blocks over and beyond what was
necessary to build the Yonge Street subway line. Some parcels were sold to
selected developers for large-scale commercial projects (which attracted
high-quality development since land had already been assembled). Most
publicly acquired properties, however, were leased according to terms that
were at least as favorable to public interests as private ones. By
controlling much of the land around stations, the city could target
activities with the highest potential to generate ridership to station
areas, while also recapturing much of the value added by the subway
- He attributes the "Vienna surrounded by Phoenix" description of
Toronto to Juri Pill, in a Toronto Star article from Feb. 15, 1990 p. B1.
- His postscript on Toronto is valuable, and more realistic than
some other observers (like Newman and Kenworthy, who continue to ignore the
now-massive outer suburbs of Toronto in their analyses) [p. 89].
- One good news story in San Francisco: the Pleasant Hill suburb put
more effort into attracting development to their station, as opposed to
Lafayette and Orinda who openly welcomed park-and-ride lots in the hope of
retaining their sprawling suburban character [p. 94]. Pleasant Hill is now
developing their parking lot, a clever way of dodging normal U.S.
restrictions on land acquisition surrounding a transit station.
- Drawing lessons [63,10,60,22,55]: transit
redistributes rather than creates growth; a prerequisite is a healthy
regional economy; land-use impacts are greatest when transit investments
occur just prior to an upswing in regional growth; radial rail systems can
strengthen downtown cores; regional transit investments generally reinforce
decentralization trends; pro-active planning is necessary if decentralized
growth is to take the form of subcenters; transit can spur central-city
redevelopment under the right conditions; other pro-development measures
must accompany transit investments; auto equalizers help in inducing
station-area land-use changes [pp. 95-98].
Noted urban sociologist Homer Hoyt observed more than a half century ago
that urban form is largely a product of the dominant transportation
technology during a city's prevailing period of growth . This
tenet is certainly borne out by the experiences of metropolitan Toronto and
San Francisco. As illustrated in Figure 3.2, the growth of cities usually
follows an attenuated S-shaped curve. Toronto timed its opening of the TTC
subway perfectly. In the case of BART, new rail services were generally
"too little, too late" to exert a big influence on urban form. With most
of the region's freeway system and settlement pattern already in place,
BART's incremental additions to regional accessibility were too small to
substantially sway development decisions. The lesson: the biggest potential
payoffs from pro-active planning around transit stations in coming years
will be in the fastest growing areas—in general, the Jakartas, Bangkoks,
and Shanghais of the world, cities that are now implementing or seriously
contemplating major new regional transit investments.
[B]eginning in 1904, the Stockholm city council began purchasing land for
future expansion decades in advance of need. By 1980, it owned 70 percent
of the 188 square kilometers of land within its boundaries and 600 square
kilometers of land beyond the city limits.
Despite surveys that showed Swedes preferred low- to mid-rise suburban
homes, Markelius set about building fairly dense satellite centers so that
most residents could be within walking distance of a rail stop. He hoped
that by doing so, many households would feel it unnecessary to own or use a
car to reach downtown Stockholm.
Markelius devised the rule of halves: half the working inhabitants would
commute out of new towns and half of the work force were to be drawn in
from elsewhere. [...] Stockholm's satellites were not intended to be fully
self-contained—more like "half contained"—even though they were
planned for a balance of jobs and housing units.
Under the regoinal plan, satellite subcenters would function as
countermagnets to central Stockholm, inducing efficient, bidirectional
traffic flows. This meant building Tunnelbana in advance of demand and
incurring huge operating deficits at the outset, but with the expectation
that the investment would begin to pay off as the new settlement pattern
Stockholm's first generation of new towns, called ABC towns (A=housing,
B=jobs, and C=services), were designed using a common formula: [...]
Separation of pedestrian and bicycle paths from automobile traffic,
including grade separation at intersections.
Rather than stressing the internalization of trips within satellite
communities, the new focus was on encouraging balanced flows of travel
among communities via electric trains. In a way, a jobs-housing balance was
supplanted by a transit-flow balance as a normative planning doctrine.
[...] All of Stockholm's new towns, regardless of generation, have very low
indices of independence—below 0.15. That is, more than six times as many
work trips are external as internal.
[pp. 122, 124]
One of Stockholm's most noteworthy transit achievements is its incredibly
balanced two-way traffic flows. During peak hours, directional splits of
45:55 percent are not uncommon on some rail lines. Workers
reverse-commuting to jobs in rail-served suburbs have produced this
- He calls the normal pattern with empty outbound trains (or cars)
"tidal" as workers are sucked in to the city centre for work and then return
home. It's a good metaphor.
- He describes a 50/38/12 modal split (transit/auto/ped-bike) for
employees in the new towns. It's a bit more car-centred for residents of
the new towns: 40/45/15, roughly. When I look at Figures 4.3 and 4.4, I see
another trend: the rail-served satellites have cemented the city centre's
transit modeshare. Figure 4.4 shows a 76% transit modeshare for those
working in Stockholm and living in a new town, and 61% for the reverse
commute. In most cities, that reverse commute would definitely require a
car—but by ensuring that the suburbs are accessible by transit, they may
really enable carfree living for those in the centre.
Greater Stockholm's transit achievements are impressive given that it is a
prosperous region where most households own cars. Stockholmers enjoy high
levels of automobility. Many simply choose to leave their cars at home for
the daily routine of traveling to and from work, preferring transit
instead. Cars have a more specialized role. They are used for hauling
groceries, going out in the evening, or taking weekend excursions to the
countryside, where many Swedes own second homes.
- He notes that the linear alignment of activities along radial
corridors leads to highly efficient travel [p. 127]
- Fares are low due to discounting: US$1 to US$1.50 depending on
distance, and cheap multitrip strips.
- "Near Tunnelbana stations, parking standards have been significantly
reduced, to as few as one space per ten office workers." [p. 127]
The region continues to add major roads, however. Plans for an underground
expressway that will enable motorists to bypass the central city are moving
forward. The only way backers could win approval for the project was to
support the introduction of road pricing in the city center [...]
with revenues going to finance both road and transit improvements. Planners
hope that higher motoring fees will reduce the number of cars entering the
city center by 25 percent.
The typical Bay Area resident was found to log 2.4 times more vehicle
kilometers per weekday as his or her counterpart from greater
Stockholm—44.3 versus 18.4. [...] On average, Bay Area residents travel
60 percent farther, in terms of distance, for convenience shopping and 40
percent farther to eat, yet the amount of time devoted to both trip
purposes is about the same in the two regions. The average Bay Area
resident ends up traveling considerably farther, consuming more finite
resources, but without reaping any time-savings benefit .
Tunnelbana's radial orientation was partly dictated by the region's
fragmented landscape of rivers and inlets, which have created wedge-shaped
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