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charlesarthur : transit   3

Why is American mass transit so bad? It's a long story • CityLab
Jonathan English:
<p>One hundred years ago, the United States had a public transportation system that was the envy of the world. Today, outside a few major urban centers, it is barely on life support. Even in New York City, subway ridership is well below its 1946 peak. Annual per capita transit trips in the US plummeted from 115.8 in 1950 to 36.1 in 1970, where they have roughly remained since, even as population has grown.

This has not happened in much of the rest of the world. While a decline in transit use in the face of fierce competition from the private automobile throughout the 20th century was inevitable, near-total collapse was not. At the turn of the 20th century, when transit companies’ only competition were the legs of a person or a horse, they worked reasonably well, even if they faced challenges. Once cars arrived, nearly every US transit agency slashed service to cut costs, instead of improving service to stay competitive. This drove even more riders away, producing a vicious cycle that led to the point where today, few Americans with a viable alternative ride buses or trains.

Now, when the federal government steps in to provide funding, it is limited to big capital projects. (Under the Trump administration, even those funds are in question.) Operations—the actual running of buses and trains frequently enough to appeal to people with an alternative—are perpetually starved for cash. Even transit advocates have internalized the idea that transit cannot be successful outside the highest-density urban centers.

And it very rarely is.</p>

Fascinating in-depth look at the topic, and one of an upcoming series. The core problem is that cars were favoured as the suburbs sprawled, and the US has plenty of space; it also doesn't have old cities as Europe does.
transit  america 
september 2018 by charlesarthur
CM2- Night Rider, our first ££ commercial bus route • Citymapper
Citymapper is starting a night bus, after analysing peoples' travel needs and where they go. It's all mod cons; looks very swish. And for the international readers:
<p>Note to Silicon Valley: it’s a social hyper-local multi-passenger pooled vehicle<br />Our geo-matching technology routes the multi-seated vehicles to specially calculated lat long locations, which optimise the boarding of multiple homosapiens with varied demographics, while minimising waiting times, leading to efficient overall ETAs.

Note to rest of the world: it’s a bus<br />A proper bus, since this is a busy route. We will use bus stops just like any other bus. We will operate hop on hop off just like any other bus. The buses will be green though of course.</p>

But all of it is worth a read. Going from a free app to a paid-for bus is a neat idea.
app  citymapper  london  transit 
july 2017 by charlesarthur
A technical follow-up: how we built the world’s prettiest auto-generated transit maps • Medium
Anton Dubrau of Transit, which makes the Transit app:

[Our transit map of showing line intersections was] Pretty good for a Version 1. Much better than Google, seeing as you can more or less tease out where each line is going. We were ready to roll out Transit Maps! And then… Apple Maps happened.
In the summer of 2015, after having worked on our maps for the better part of a year, we were finally ready to release our first version of Transit Maps. Then Apple rolled out their transit maps, and they were really pretty.

<img src="*zd0D-1zON6rJ-nQb2jWkNA@2x.png" width="100%" />

They instantly raised the bar for what transit maps should look like. In our drawings and designs, the end goal was something similar to (or better than) what Apple subsequently released, but we were planning to get there after releasing our Version 1.

Compared to Apple, our proposed Version 1 was kind of mediocre. Our Designer-CEO decreed that beating Google was not good enough — we also had to at least play in the same league as Apple.

After closer scrutiny, we hypothesized that Apple was drawing their maps manually. There were huge lags between the release of new cities, and there was something strangely off about the way the maps looked — as though they were drawn by humans, not computers. This meant that although our maps weren’t quite as pretty, our algorithm was still ahead of theirs.

At this point, we also knew that the hard part was behind us.</p>
transit  maps 
october 2016 by charlesarthur

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