Video Explainer: Why Public Transit Doesn't Work for Most Americans

Vox's popular video explainer production team explains the consequences of U.S. auto dependency, and how to make transit work in the world we live in.

1 minute read

October 25, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


A new video posted by Vox provides explanation and illustration of the great challenge facing public transit in a country that has spent a century prioritizing the automobile.

The key trope the video deals with is how U.S. transit systems were built to service regional commuters, from outside the city into downtowns. This downtown orientation doesn't serve the most common commute, according to the video: suburb to suburb.

The consequences of all of the country's suburban commutes are immense—measured in terms of economic and environmental impacts, but the video presents ideas about how to solve those problems by getting more people into transit. The question this video endeavors to answer: how can public transit be useful for more Americans? The lesson for Americans is obvious: it's possible to increase ridership by funding improved operations of buses, even in suburban communities.

The video also presents the ideas of transportation planning in context of the 2020 presidential election and state of politics in the United States. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020 in Vox

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