What Is the Future for Transit After COVID? - A Debate

Critic Randal O'Toole and advocate Todd Litman debate how communities should plan for public transit in the post pandemic future. Should it contract or expand?

August 12, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Todd Litman


Coronavirus and Transportation

Chaz Bharj / Shutterstock

The Pairagraph website is a "hub of discourse between pairs of notable individuals." The current debate pairs transit and Smart Growth critic Randal O'Toole against sustainable transportation advocate Todd Litman, to contrast their visions for the future of public transportation.

O'Toole argues that "The transit industry has become a giant scam, sucking up taxpayer dollars and producing little in return," and "Contrary to popular belief, transit is neither good for the environment nor vital to low-income families."

Litman responds by pointing out that "To be efficient and fair, a transportation system must be diverse to serve diverse demands, including the mobility needs of people who for any reason cannot, should not, or prefer not to drive. Public transit plays three important roles in such a system: it provides affordable mobility for non-drivers; efficient travel on busy urban corridors; and serves as a catalyst for compact, multimodal development where it is easy to get around without a car."

Both present various statistics to support their arguments. Because the format is so limited - 500 words per post - Litman developed a detailed technical report, The Business Case for Post-COVID Public Transit, to support his claims.

Soldier Field

Phase 1 Revealed for $20 Billion Chicago Megaproject

Plans for One Central, a proposed megadevelopment that would add 22.3 million square feet of buildings to the city of Chicago, are taking shape.

October 19, 2021 - Chicago Tribune

Boston

Boston Introduces 'Maximum Parking Ratios' for Large Buildings

Large buildings with uses of all kinds will be subject to Boston's new "Maximum Parking Ratios."

October 14, 2021 - Streetsblog Mass

GIS Mobile App

Survey: What Mobile Apps Are Most Useful for Planning in 2021?

Planetizen is requesting your input in creating the definitive list of mobile apps for professional, student, academic, or citizen planners—updated for a planning profession forever altered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

October 18, 2021 - Planetizen

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.