With its infamously packed cars and disciplined commuters, Tokyo’s commuter train network is one of the most complex technical infrastructures on Earth. In An Anthropology of the Machine, Michael Fisch provides a nuanced perspective on how Tokyo’s commuter train network embodies the lived realities of technology in our modern world. Drawing on his fine-grained knowledge of transportation, work, and everyday life in Tokyo, Fisch shows how fitting into a system that operates on the extreme edge of sustainability can take a physical and emotional toll on a community while also creating a collective way of life—one with unique limitations and possibilities.
An Anthropology of the Machine is a creative ethnographic study of the culture, history, and experience of commuting in Tokyo. At the same time, it is a theoretically ambitious attempt to think through our very relationship with technology and our possible ecological futures. Fisch provides an unblinking glimpse into what it might be like to inhabit a future in which more and more of our infrastructure—and the planet itself—will have to operate beyond capacity to accommodate our ever-growing population.
"Better Buses, Better Cities is likely the best book ever written on improving bus service in the United States." — Randy Shaw, Beyond Chron
"The ultimate roadmap for how to make the bus great again in your city." — Spacing
"The definitive volume on how to make bus frequent, fast, reliable, welcoming, and respected..." — Streetsblog
Imagine a bus system that is fast, frequent, and reliable—what would that change about your city?
Buses can and should be the cornerstone of urban transportation. They offer affordable mobility and can connect citizens with every aspect of their lives. But in the US, they have long been an afterthought in budgeting and planning. With a compelling narrative and actionable steps, Better Buses, Better Cities inspires us to fix the bus.
Transit expert Steven Higashide shows us what a successful bus system looks like with real-world stories of reform—such as Houston redrawing its bus network overnight, Boston making room on its streets to put buses first, and Indianapolis winning better bus service on Election Day. Higashide shows how to marshal the public in support of better buses and how new technologies can keep buses on time and make complex transit systems understandable.
Higashide argues that better bus systems will create better cities for all citizens. The consequences of subpar transit service fall most heavily on vulnerable members of society. Transit systems should be planned to be inclusive and provide better service for all. These are difficult tasks that require institutional culture shifts; doing all of them requires resilient organizations and transformational leadership.
Better bus service is key to making our cities better for all citizens. Better Buses, Better Cities describes how decision-makers, philanthropists, activists, and public agency leaders can work together to make the bus a win in any city.
Cities across the globe have been designed with a primary goal of moving people around quickly—and the costs are becoming ever more apparent. The consequences are measured in smoggy air basins, sprawling suburbs, unsafe pedestrian environments, and despite hundreds of billions of dollars in investments, a failure to stem traffic congestion. Every year our current transportation paradigm generates more than 1.25 million fatalities directly through traffic collisions. Worldwide, 3.2 million people died prematurely in 2010 because of air pollution, four times as many as a decade earlier. Instead of planning primarily for mobility, our cities should focus on the safety, health, and access of the people in them.
Beyond Mobility is about prioritizing the needs and aspirations of people and the creation of great places. This is as important, if not more important, than expediting movement. A stronger focus on accessibility and place creates better communities, environments, and economies. Rethinking how projects are planned and designed in cities and suburbs needs to occur at multiple geographic scales, from micro-designs (such as parklets), corridors (such as road-diets), and city-regions (such as an urban growth boundary). It can involve both software (a shift in policy) and hardware (a physical transformation). Moving beyond mobility must also be socially inclusive, a significant challenge in light of the price increases that typically result from creating higher quality urban spaces.
There are many examples of communities across the globe working to create a seamless fit between transit and surrounding land uses, retrofit car-oriented suburbs, reclaim surplus or dangerous roadways for other activities, and revitalize neglected urban spaces like abandoned railways in urban centers.
The authors draw on experiences and data from a range of cities and countries around the globe in making the case for moving beyond mobility. Throughout the book, they provide an optimistic outlook about the potential to transform places for the better. Beyond Mobility celebrates the growing demand for a shift in global thinking around place and mobility in creating better communities, environments, and economies.
Bicycling advocates envision a future in which bikes are a widespread daily form of transportation. While many global cities are seeing the number of bike commuters increase, this future is still far away; at times, urban cycling seems to be fighting for its very survival. Will we ever witness a true “bike boom” in cities? What can we learn from past successes and failures to make cycling safer, easier, and more accessible? Use of bicycles in America and Britain fell off a cliff in the 1950s and 1960s thanks to the rapid rise in car ownership. Urban planners and politicians predicted that cycling would wither to nothing, and they did their level best to bring about this extinction by catering to only motorists. But in the 1970s, something strange happened—bicycling bounced back, first in America and then in Britain.
In Bike Boom, journalist Carlton Reid uses history to shine a spotlight on the present and demonstrates how bicycling has the potential to grow even further, if the right measures are put in place by the politicians and planners of today and tomorrow. He explores the benefits and challenges of cycling, the roles of infrastructure and advocacy, and what we can learn from cities that have successfully supported and encouraged bike booms, including London; Davis, California; Montreal; Stevenage; Amsterdam; New York; and Copenhagen.
Given that today’s global bicycling “boom” has its roots in the early 1970s, Reid draws lessons from that period. At that time, the Dutch were investing in bike infrastructure and advocacy— the US and the UK had the choice to follow the Dutch example, but didn’t. Reid sets out to discover what we can learn from the history of bike “booms” in this entertaining and thought-provoking book.
In car-clogged urban areas across the world, the humble bicycle is enjoying a second life as a legitimate form of transportation. City officials are rediscovering it as a multi-pronged (or -spoked) solution to acute, 21st-century problems, including affordability, obesity, congestion, climate change, inequity, and social isolation. As the world’s foremost cycling nation, the Netherlands is the only country where the number of bikes exceeds the number of people, primarily because the Dutch have built a cycling culture accessible to everyone, regardless of age, ability, or economic means.
Chris and Melissa Bruntlett share the incredible success of the Netherlands through engaging interviews with local experts and stories of their own delightful experiences riding in five Dutch cities. Building the Cycling City examines the triumphs and challenges of the Dutch while also presenting stories of North American cities already implementing lessons from across the Atlantic. Discover how Dutch cities inspired Atlanta to look at its transit-bike connection in a new way and showed Seattle how to teach its residents to realize the freedom of biking, along with other encouraging examples.
Tellingly, the Dutch have two words for people who ride bikes: wielrenner (“wheel runner”) and fietser (“cyclist”), the latter making up the vast majority of people pedaling on their streets, and representing a far more accessible, casual, and inclusive style of urban cycling—walking with wheels. Outside of their borders, a significant cultural shift is needed to seamlessly integrate the bicycle into everyday life and create a whole world of fietsers. The Dutch blueprint focuses on how people in a particular place want to move.
The relatable success stories will leave readers inspired and ready to adopt and implement approaches to make their own cities better places to live, work, play, and—of course—cycle.
Cycling has experienced a renaissance in the United States, as cities around the country promote the bicycle as an alternative means of transportation. In the process, debates about the nature of bicycles—where they belong, how they should be ridden, how cities should or should not accommodate them—have played out in the media, on city streets, and in city halls. Very few people recognize, however, that these questions are more than a century old.
The Cycling City is a sharp history of the bicycle’s rise and fall in the late nineteenth century. In the 1890s, American cities were home to more cyclists, more cycling infrastructure, more bicycle friendly legislation, and a richer cycling culture than anywhere else in the world. Evan Friss unearths the hidden history of the cycling city, demonstrating that diverse groups of cyclists managed to remap cities with new roads, paths, and laws, challenge social conventions, and even dream up a new urban ideal inspired by the bicycle. When cities were chaotic and filthy, bicycle advocates imagined an improved landscape in which pollution was negligible, transportation was silent and rapid, leisure spaces were democratic, and the divisions between city and country were blurred. Friss argues that when the utopian vision of a cycling city faded by the turn of the century, its death paved the way for today’s car-centric cities—and ended the prospect of a true American cycling city ever being built.
Cities will continue to accommodate the automobile, but when cities are built around them, the quality of human and natural life declines. Current trends show great promise for future urban mobility systems that enable freedom and connection, but not dependence. We are experiencing the phenomenon of peak car use in many global cities at the same time that urban rail is thriving, central cities are revitalizing, and suburban sprawl is reversing. Walking and cycling are growing in many cities, along with ubiquitous bike sharing schemes, which have contributed to new investment and vitality in central cities including Melbourne, Seattle, Chicago, and New York.
We are thus in a new era that has come much faster than global transportation experts Peter Newman and Jeffrey Kenworthy had predicted: the end of automobile dependence. In The End of Automobile Dependence, Newman and Kenworthy look at how we can accelerate a planning approach to designing urban environments that can function reliably and conveniently on alternative modes, with a refined and more civilized automobile playing a very much reduced and manageable role in urban transportation. The authors examine the rise and fall of automobile dependence using updated data on 44 global cities to better understand how to facilitate and guide cities to the most productive and sustainable outcomes.
This is the final volume in a trilogy by Newman and Kenworthy on automobile dependence (Cities and Automobile Dependence in 1989 and Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence in 1999). Like all good trilogies this one shows the rise of an empire, in this case that of the automobile, the peak of its power, and the decline of that empire.
Just like we don't pay to use elevators, this book argues that we shouldn't pay to ride public transit. In an age of increasing inequalities and ecological crisis, movements advocating free public transit push us to rethink the status quo and consider urban transit as a fundamental human right. Editors Jason Prince and Judith Dellheim have collected a panorama of case studies from around the world: the United States, Canada, Estonia, Greece, France, Italy, Sweden, Poland, China, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and more. These movements are spread across the world, and they aim to achieve two main outcomes—ecological good and fair wealth distribution. Free public transit—coupled with increased capacity and improving service of public transit—might well be the only viable strategy to eliminating car usage and achieving greenhouse gas targets in industrialized cities within a reasonable timeframe. Movements for free mass transit also aim to see public transit treated as a public good, like water and garbage service, that should be paid for out of general tax revenues or a fairer regional tax strategy. This book covers the rapidly changing transport options in cities today, including bike and car share options, Uber and Lyft, and the imminent arrival of driver-less vehicles. The first English-language book ever written on the subject, Free PublicTransit is a ground breaking book for those concerned about the future of our cities and an essential resource for those who make, or try to change, urban planning and transport policies.
Urban Transport energy efficiency and environmental sustainability continue to present big challenges for city leaders and policy think tanks. As the share of the world's population living in cities grows to nearly 70 per cent between now and 2050, urban transport energy consumption is forecast to double to meet the travel demand in the world's future cities. This urban growth will also dramatically change the scale and nature of our communities, and put a tremendous strain on the built environment and infrastructure that delivers vital services like transport.
In My Kind of Transit, Darrin Nordahl argues that like life itself, transportation isn't only about the destination, but the journey. Public transit reduces traffic and pollution, yet few of us are willing to get out of our cars and onto subways and buses. But Nordahl demonstrates that when using public transit is an enjoyable experience, tourists and commuters alike willingly hand in their keys.
The trick is creating a system that isn't simply a poor imitation of the automobile, but offers its own pleasures and comforts. While a railway or bus will never achieve the quiet solitude of a personal car, it can provide, much like a well-designed public park, an inviting, communal space.
My Kind of Transit is an animated tour of successful transportation systems, offering smart, commonsense analysis of what makes transit fun. Nordahl draws on examples like the iconic street cars of New Orleans and the picturesque cable cars in San Francisco, illustrating that the best transit systems are uniquely tailored to their individual cities. He also describes universal principles of good transit design.
Nordahl's humanistic treatment will help planners, designers, transportation professionals, and policymakers create transit systems the public actually wants to ride. And it will introduce all readers to delightful ways of getting from point A to point B.
Faced with intolerable congestion and noxious pollution, cities around the world are rethinking their reliance on automobiles. In the United States a loosely organized livability movement seeks to reduce car use by reconfiguring urban space into denser, transit-oriented, walkable forms, a development pattern also associated with smart growth and new urbanism. Through a detailed case study of San Francisco, Jason Henderson examines how this is not just a struggle over what type of transportation is best for the city, but a series of ideologically charged political fights over issues of street space, public policy, and social justice.
Historically San Francisco has hosted many activist demonstrations over its streets, from the freeway revolts of the 1960s to the first Critical Mass bicycle rides decades later. Today the city's planning and advocacy establishment is changing zoning laws to limit the number of parking spaces, encouraging new car-free housing near transit stations, and applying "transit first" policies, such as restricted bus lanes. Yet Henderson warns that the city's accomplishments should not be romanticized. Despite significant gains by livability advocates, automobiles continue to dominate the streets, and the city's financially strained bus system is slow and often unreliable.
Both optimistic and cautionary, Henderson argues that ideology must be understood as part of the struggle for sustainable cities and that three competing points of view—progressive, neoliberal, and conservative—have come to dominate the contemporary discourse about urban mobility. Consistent with its iconic role as an incubator of environmental, labor, civil rights, and peace movements, San Francisco offers a compelling example of how the debate over sustainable urban transportation may unfold both in the United States and globally.
Sustainability and Cities examines the urban aspect of sustainability issues, arguing that cities are a necessary focus for that global agenda. The authors make the case that the essential character of a city's land use results from how it manages its transportation, and that only by reducing our automobile dependence will we be able to successfully accommodate all elements of the sustainability agenda.
The book begins with chapters that set forth the notion of sustainability and how it applies to cities and automobile dependence. The authors consider the changing urban economy in the information age, and describe the extent of automobile dependence worldwide. They provide an updated survey of global cities that examines a range of sustainability factors and indicators, and, using a series of case studies, demonstrate how cities around the world are overcoming the problem of automobile dependence. They also examine the connections among transportation and other issues—including water use and cycling, waste management, and greening the urban landscape—and explain how all elements of sustainability can be managed simultaneously.
The authors end with a consideration of how professional planners can promote the sustainability agenda, and the ethical base needed to ensure that this critical set of issues is taken seriously in the world's cities.
Sustainability and Cities will serve as a source of both learning and inspiration for those seeking to create more sustainable cities, and is an important book for practitioners, researchers, and students in the fields of planning, geography, and public policy.
Streetcars played an especially important role in society around the turn of the twentieth century in Detroit, in part because of the downtown hub-and-spoke design of its main streets. During this period the streetcar was the main mode of transportation for the average citizen, as horse-drawn carriages and automobiles were not found outside of the upper class. Control over streetcar franchises was highly coveted—this control was simultaneous with having power over how and where people were transported throughout the city, making it an incredible political tool. The Thirty-Year War was a battle waged between 1892 and 1922 by the City of Detroit against the politically powerful and deeply entrenched corporations that owned streetcar franchises for control of the city’s streetway system. This compelling history shows how and why the owners of monopoly franchises of great public utilities such as bridges, street railways, electricity, natural gas, and cable television will protect and defend their privilege against public ownership or control, and is an example of how one city successfully fought back.
What are the best transit cities in the US? The best Bus Rapid Transit lines? The most useless rail transit lines? The missed opportunities?
In the US, the 25 largest metropolitan areas and many smaller cities have fixed guideway transit—rail or bus rapid transit. Nearly all of them are talking about expanding. Yet discussions about transit are still remarkably unsophisticated. To build good transit, the discussion needs to focus on what matters—quality of service (not the technology that delivers it), all kinds of transit riders, the role of buildings, streets and sidewalks, and, above all, getting transit in the right places.
Christof Spieler has spent over a decade advocating for transit as a writer, community leader, urban planner, transit board member, and enthusiast. He strongly believes that just about anyone—regardless of training or experience—can identify what makes good transit with the right information. In the fun and accessible Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, Spieler shows how cities can build successful transit. He profiles the 47 metropolitan areas in the US that have rail transit or BRT, using data, photos, and maps for easy comparison. The best and worst systems are ranked and Spieler offers analysis of how geography, politics, and history complicate transit planning. He shows how the unique circumstances of every city have resulted in very different transit systems.
Using appealing visuals, Trains, Buses, People is intended for non-experts—it will help any citizen, professional, or policymaker with a vested interest evaluate a transit proposal and understand what makes transit effective. While the book is built on data, it has a strong point of view. Spieler takes an honest look at what makes good and bad transit and is not afraid to look at what went wrong. He explains broad concepts, but recognizes all of the technical, geographical, and political difficulties of building transit in the real world. In the end,Trains, Buses, People shows that it is possible with the right tools to build good transit.
Around the world, mass transit is struggling to compete with the private automobile, and in many places, its market share is rapidly eroding. Yet a number of metropolitan areas have in recent decades managed to mount cost-effective and resource-conserving transit services that provide respectable alternatives to car travel. What sets these places apart?
In this book, noted transportation expert Robert Cervero provides an on-the-ground look at more than a dozen mass transit success stories, introducing the concept of the "transit metropolis"—a region where a workable fit exists between transit services and urban form. The author has spent more than three years studying cities around the world, and he makes a compelling case that metropolitan areas of any size and with any growth pattern—from highly compact to widely dispersed—can develop successful mass transit systems.
Following an introductory chapter that frames his argument and outlines the main issues, Cervero describes and examines five different types of transit metropolises, with twelve in-depth case studies of cities that represent each type. He considers the key lessons of the case studies and debunks widely held myths about transit and the city. In addition, he reviews the efforts underway in five North American cities to mount transit programs and discusses the factors working for and against their success. Cities profiled include Stockholm; Singapore; Tokyo; Ottawa; Zurich; Melbourne; Mexico City; Curitiba, Brazil; Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Transit Metropolis provides practical lessons on how North American cities can manage sprawl and haphazard highway development by creating successful mass transit systems. While many books discuss the need for a sustainable transportation system, few are able to present examples of successful systems and provide the methods and tools needed to create such a system. This book is a unique and invaluable resource for transportation planners and professionals, urban planners and designers, policymakers and students of planning and urban design.