At Transport Providence, we evaluate the book Human Transit by Portland, Oregon planner Jarrett Walker. We ask whether perhaps RIPTA should cut some routes, and question whether the streetcar plan is really the best option for transit in Providence. We welcome people to debate in the comments section.
Transit debates. . . suffer form the fact that today, in most of our cities, most of our decision makers are motorists. No matter how much you support transit, driving a car every day can shape your thinking in powerful, subconscious ways. For example, in most debates about proposed rapid transit lines, the speed of the proposed service gets more political attention than how frequently it runs, even though frequency, which determines waiting time, often matters more than speed in determining how long your trip will take. Your commuter train system will advertise that it can whisk you into the city in 39 minutes, but if the train comes only once every 2 hours and you’ve just missed one, your travel time will be 159 minutes, so it may be faster to drive, or even walk.
Check out more here. And here’s an excerpt from my post:
…on the West End, we have the 92, the 27, and the 19, and any one of these could be used to get to Downcity–and in fact, these are just the routes I happen to use sometimes. I’m fairly sure there are even more.On the map, this looks like lots of options. In reality, none of these options is good though, because they’re all infrequent and unreliable. The 92 moves at glacial pace through Atwells Avenue traffic, while the other two, although faster, are still fairly infrequent. It’s like a Sophie’s choice trying to decide whether to risk missing one route for the other, especially when on any given day the schedule may not even hold to be true.