Transit Needs Service Changes, Now More Than Ever

As travel patterns and needs shift, transit agencies should look at service changes as a much-needed 'regular practice.'

September 7, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Rockaway Beach Bus

el_cigarrito / Shutterstock

In a guest post for TransitCenter, Laurel Paget-Seekins argues that, despite the challenges, "transit service needs to change in response to the COVID pandemic and to address underlying inequities." Although "[i]n general the status quo favors people and communities with access to political power," she writes, "this inertia was starting to give way, as agencies launched bus network redesigns to catch up on years of delayed service changes. COVID made it even more imperative to reassess service provision, as the pandemic altered travel patterns and revealed where and when service is most needed."

"Even as the pandemic (hopefully) recedes, the changes in travel needs will last for years as new patterns of remote work, deliveries, and land use take shape." As such, service changes   must become "a regular practice," and "we need to find ways for agencies and communities to work through them collaboratively."

Paget-Seekins offers some suggestions for how agencies can address service changes in the future:

  • "Transit advocates and agencies need to address the operating funding issue head-on and proactively."
  • "Agencies need to work with community organizations, elected officials, and their governance boards to commit to a process of regular service changes for the next few years — even if there isn’t a funding crisis."
  • "Agencies and community organizations also need to collaborate on the data that will inform decisions."

According to Paget-Seekins, "[i]t will be a huge disservice to riders for transit service to get stuck due to the perceived political difficulty of service changes — or for the service conversation to be driven only by fiscal emergencies and not community transportation needs."

Wednesday, September 1, 2021 in TransitCenter

The New York Public Library's stone lions Patience and Fortitude have donned face masks to remind New Yorkers to wear face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Top Urban Planning Books of 2021

Planetizen's annual list of the top urban planning books of the year is here—maintaining a tradition that dates back to 2002.

November 26, 2021 - James Brasuell

Empty Road

The Roadway Expansion Paradox

Motorists want expensive roadway expansions provided that somebody else foots the bill, but when required to pay directly through tolls, the need for more capacity often disappears. What should planners do?

November 28, 2021 - Todd Litman


Urban Exodus: Data Don't Support the Popular Pandemic Narrative

Americans fled cities in waves during the pandemic, right? Not to so fast.

November 30, 2021 - Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Main Street

Inequality Grows in Western Zoom Towns

As demand for housing grows, small Western towns are experiencing skyrocketing housing costs and rising displacement.

December 3 - High Country News

A Metro Los Angeles bus driver is behind the wheel while wearing a mask.

Equity and Transit Go Hand in Hand for the Pandemic Recovery

Equity illuminates the light at the end of the tunnel for U.S. transit agencies, according to a recent report by the Urban Institute.

December 3 - Urban Institute

South Beach Open Streets

Miami Reinstates E-Scooter Program

After abruptly ending its shared e-scooter program last month, Miami is letting the devices return to its streets–with some new rules.

December 3 - Smart Cities Dive

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.