New Books Rhapsodize About Public Transit

The romance of cars has been long documented, but public transit is finally getting in on the act. 'Human Transit' provides a lucid primer for stakeholders and armchair planners alike, while 'Straphanger' takes readers on a world tour.
July 18, 2012, 5am PDT | Josh Stephens
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Two new books are unlikely to convert (or even be read by) the already uninitiated. But they do illuminate nuances--and even joys--of public transit in ways that drivers may never appreciate so long as they remain pinned behind their own wheels. "'Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives,' by Australian transit planner Jarrett Walker, presents itself as a sort of "Public Transportation for Dummies," explaining in abstract, but remarkably clear, terms the logic that governs public transit systems and the choices--some technical, some ethical--that transit planners and operators make."

"'Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile,' by travel journalist Taras Grescoe, is what you get when an enthusiastic passenger boards one of those transit systems-even the imperfect ones-and finds in them a measure of rhapsody usually reserved for hot rods and luxury saloons. It's telling that the two books have nearly identical sub-titles, which situate public transit at the very heart of not just cities but, indeed, of what it means to be human in the modern world."

Thanks to Josh Stephens

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Published on Friday, July 13, 2012 in California Planning & Development Report
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