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How to Improve Buses, the Overlooked but Essential Part of Urban Mobility

A new book argues that buses are an integral part of successful mobility networks and that better bus systems improve cities in ways benefiting all residents.
October 23, 2019, 2pm PDT | Camille Fink
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John Surico spoke with Steven Higashide of TransitCenter about his new book, Better Buses, Better Cities. Higashide says that buses and bus systems in the United States too often are considered the mode of last resort and a social service. As a result, buses are not at the forefront of transportation policy, particularly at the federal level.

But notes Higashide, buses play a much different role in mobility systems in other countries. "Often, you hear decision makers talk of the need for world-class transit—but if you look at great transit systems around the world, they all have much better and more bus service than we have in the U.S. Buses are world-class transit as well."

Buses should play a more prominent role in the Green New Deal, and strategies like tactical transit can help speed up the infrastructure and operations changes needed to improve transit, argues Higashide. "It’s really important for advocates and city leaders to understand that transit is the backbone of urban mobility. While microtransit and micromobility may have some role in filling in the gaps, they can’t replace the technology of buses and trains that can carry thousands or tens of thousands of people per hour."

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Published on Thursday, October 10, 2019 in CityLab
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