Trains, Buses, People
8.5 x 11
full color, 290 photos, 185 illustrations
8.5 x 11
full color, 290 photos, 185 illustrations
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.
"Transit planners, elected representatives, and transportation enthusiasts should all find something to love or learn in this honest and expansive status report."
"Spieler's book is perfectly designed to be both readable and browsable—a great gift for an urbanist or transport geek and a great book for the coffee table. You can read around in for a long time, exploring different cities, their strengths and their missed opportunities. Let's hope it produces a smarter conversation about urban transit."
Jarett Walker's Human Transit blog
"A transit wonk's bible...Urban planner Christof Spieler is a transportation hero."
"Belongs on an urbanist's bookshelf...one of the best transit/planning books I've read in a long time."
Greater Greater Washington
"This edifying publication...serves as an awakening guide to planning both feasible and practical public-transit systems."
San Francisco Book Review
"For all of their hardcore infrastructure, urban transit networks are essentially human creations, and understanding what makes them successful is essential for building successful cities. Supported by urban histories and incisively presented data, Christof Spieler sets the rules of engagement for effective transit and offers a roadmap for achieving it."
Janette Sadik-Khan, Principal, Bloomberg Associates; former NYC Transportation Commissioner
"Christof Spieler was the driving force behind Houston's transit transformation, but he's also one of America's great transit travelers, a careful observer of history, technology, geometry, and politics. This book is an atlas of beautiful detail about 47 U.S. cities, but it's also a call to action, demanding clearer and more effective transit planning and advocacy."
Jarrett Walker, President and Principal Consultant, Jarrett Walker + Associates, author of "Human Transit"
"This book is comprehensive enough to be a resource for transit professionals, but delivered in readable, straightforward language; an objective look at the state of transit by a passionate advocate."
Annise Parker, former Mayor of Houston
Introduction:Transit Where the People Are
The Role of Transit in American Cities
Basics of Successful Transit
New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA
Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA
San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX-OK
Houston-The Woodlands, TX
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, FL
Atlanta–Athens-Clarke County–Sandy Springs, GA
Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, MI
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN-WI
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA
Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, FL
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLSt. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL
Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV
Salt Lake City-Provo-Orem, UT
Kansas City-Overland Park-Kansas City, MO-KS
Las Vegas-Henderson, NV-AZ
Austin-Round Rock, TX
Virginia Beach-Norfolk, VA-NC
Jacksonville-St. Marys-Palatka, FL-GA
New Orleans-Metairie-Hammond, LA-MS
Memphis-Forrest City, TN-MS-AR
Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Las Vegas, NM
El Paso-Las Cruces, TX-NM
Urban Honolulu, HI
Little Rock-North Little Rock, AR
Pittsburghers for Public Transit is excited to host a book talk, Q&A and signing with Christof Spieler - engineer, urban planner, and transit advocate - on his new book, Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit. Christof uses his new book to explain the role of transit in the United States, outline the fundamentals of what makes good transit, and profile the strengths and weaknesses of the transit systems of 47 American cities (yes - Pittsburgh too!).
Trains, Buses, People provides case studies and analysis to underscore the value of PPT's Riders Vision for Transit and provides a road map of sorts for transit agencies looking to provide its riders with a more complete, more equitable system.
Christof will have books available for sale and will be signing copies after the talk.
Event is free and open to the public. Cash bar and snacks will be available. The event is wheelchair-accessible. Rail-Volution attendees are encouraged to stick around for the talk and Mobility Showcase in the adjacent room.
Learn more about Pittsburghers for Public Transit's "Riders Vision For Transit".
Christof Spieler, vice president and director of planning at Huitt-Zollars and a senior lecturer at Rice University, will discuss and sign his new book Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit. He will be in conversation with Kinder Institute Director of Strategic Partnerships Kyle Shelton.
Brazos Bookstore will be selling copies of the book on-site.
About the book
In the U.S., the 25 largest metropolitan areas and many smaller cities have rail or bus rapid transit. Nearly all 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. In “Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit,” Spieler profiles the 47 metropolitan areas in the U.S. that have rail transit or BRT, using data, photos and maps for easy comparison. He offers an analysis of how geography, politics and history complicate transit planning, and shows how the unique circumstances of every city have resulted in very different transit systems.
Jeffrey Wood of The Overhead Wire is joined by Christof Spieler who wrote the new book, Trains, Buses, People for a Streetsblog USA podcast on Talking Headways. Christof talks about how transit isn’t a mystery. We all know what makes it work. Ultimately, the problem is we’re not having the right conversations about transit. Jeff also asks questions about Christof’s time on the Houston Metro board. They discuss why it’s valuable to have people who are riding the bus and thinking about transit all the time be a part of the agency discussion.
Jen Hawse is the Partnership Manager at Island Press. She’s a big fan of travel, craft beer, dogs, and eating amazing food. You can generally find her in the kitchen cooking with her partner, Jason, or trying to convince her friends to play a boardgame.