Friday, June 4, 2010

Get off the Bus

In Conor Friedersdorf's on-going series on The Future of the City, he takes on his own personal bias against buses and bus riding. He's not alone as I have always been adverse to it myself. I respond to his take here:
You hit on one point which is predictability. With fixed alignment, you know where it is going to be and where it is going to take you. Self propelled transpo (personal car, foot, bike) also work this way, because you are in control. My guess is that this is somehow loosely correlated with both of the above (fixed alignment and self-propelled) are both proactive agents in shaping the built environment and land uses (how people interact with tranpo) around them. Buses by nature are always reactive, meaning they are always playing catchup, particularly to the disconnected nature of car travel, and can never be fully integrated with a city's form.

Side note: that predictability is also crucial in real estate, in the determination of a piece of property's worth. Otherwise, it is developers fumbling around in the dark trying to create value. They are the invisible hand, but government-led transpo planning policies, incentives, and directives are the arm steering that hand (and an active, engaged, enlightened public should be the brain operating that arm).