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.

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

Full Story: (Subway) Tunnels of Love: ‘Straphangers’ and ‘Human Transit’

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