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 knows this subject to a significant depth but has managed something remarkable, perhaps mirrored in his choice of the accessible atlas format: he has made a great deal of comparative information very easy to understand and digest. The approach is tailor-made to help convince nonexperts—be they the general public or perhaps more importantly politicians and others with influence—to mimic the good and avoid the bad...The end result makes the book a compelling and useful compendium of the state of transit in the United States."
"Gets right to the point: put [transit] where the people are...The author combines detailed knowledge and a refreshing frankness...Keep this book within easy reach."
"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
"It was a pleasure to sit down and read this new offering addressing public transportation...This book was rich on interpretation and implications from an author who obviously has the experience and credentials to offer credible observations...The text does a nice job of providing very useful information in a readable and focused fashion."
"A refreshing look at transit development in the United States...Trains, Buses, People – An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit includes examples of successful and unsuccessful systems while offering insightful commentary as to why these systems are the way they are...Overall, Spieler’s atlas gives those looking for transit lessons a lot to chew on, while providing the rest of us a fascinating window into the US’s major transit cities."
"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.
Join the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Island Press for a talk with Houston-based community leader, urban planner, and transit enthusiast Christof Spieler, whose book Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of U.S. Transit profiles 47 metropolitan rail and bus systems. Spieler takes an honest look at what makes good and bad transit and is not afraid to look at what went wrong. On February 5, he'll give a brief presentation and answer questions. Cash bar available.
Advocating for better transportation in your city can feel like a losing battle. How do you get to a planning meeting? Who do you direct your concerns to? What changes can you even affect? Christof Spieler, author of Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas, has been in your shoes. Christof, PE, LEED AP, is now the Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a Senior Lecturer at Rice University. Earlier in his life, he was doing citizen advocacy to change his local metro system in Houston.
Christof has brought together a panel of local transit advocacy leaders that are doing effective, on the ground work in their neighborhoods. They are using data and best practices to measure their outputs and they're looking to share the secrets of their successes with you.
- Fred Neal Jr., Commissioner of the Regional Transit Authority of New Orleans and Sr. Planner at Villavaso & Associates, LLC
- Laura Wiens, Director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit
- Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP, is now the Vice President & Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars + Senior Lecturer at Rice University
Conversation moderated by David Bragdon, Executive Director of TransitCenter.
This webinar is free and educational in focus.
In the US, the 25 largest metropolitan areas have fixed guideway rail or bus transit systems. Nearly all of them are talking about expanding—yet according to architecture and engineering expert Christof Spieler, discussions about transit are still remarkably unsophisticated. Spieler brings us his vision of some of the most important discussion in transportation, encapsulated in his book Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit. He focuses the discussion on quality of service (not the technology that delivers it), the role of surrounding infrastructure, the diversity of riders, and the critical importance of ensuring transit systems access the right places. Spieler contends that geography, politics, and history have a tendency to complicate transit planning, and shows us how unique circumstances in individual major cities have resulted in the rise of very different transit systems nationwide. With accessible viewpoints for citizens, professionals, and policymakers alike, Spieler presents us with a comprehensive and understandable evaluation of our nation’s transit networks—their history, their future, what makes them effective, and how they can improve.
Christof Spieler has spent over a decade advocating for transit as a writer, community leader, urban planner, transit board member, and enthusiast. He is Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a Lecturer in Architecture and Engineering at Rice University. He was a member of the board of directors of Houston METRO from 2010 to 2018.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.
Transportation is one of the biggest challenges facing the Bay Area today. To build good transit, the discussion needs to focus on what matters—quality of service, all kinds of transit riders, the role of buildings, streets and sidewalks, and, above all, getting transit in the right places.
Join Island Press and TransForm for a webinar on improving local transit in the Bay Area and beyond, part of the Connecting Communities series this fall. Christof Spieler, author of Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, will discuss how to strengthen local transit, putting the Bay Area’s challenges in context with other regions around the country. Spieler will discuss strategies to revive interest in transit and boost ridership locally and regionally, in conversation with a local transit advocate and a transit agency representative.
- Christof Spieler, PE, LEED AP, is a Vice President and Director of Planning at Huitt-Zollars and a Lecturer in Architecture and Engineering at Rice University
- Christy Wegener, Project Manager for San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans)
- Chris Lepe, Regional Policy Director, TransForm
This webinar is part of Connecting Communities 2019. This series of events will highlight transportation and housing solutions that advance climate protection and social equity.
While there’s been a sharp decline in public transit use right now, it’s proven that having greater access to transit in general is vital for the functioning of safe, equitable, and environmentally friendly cities. But what makes for effective transit? How do you advocate for it? And how can cities utilize the bus to create fast, frequent, and reliable service?
In this webinar you’ll hear from two transit experts: Christof Spieler, author of Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit, and Steven Higashide, author of Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit. Both will explain how we can make better use of our current transit systems in clear ways for decision-makers, philanthropists, activists, and public agency leaders. Together, they’ll show how these groups can work together to make the transit a win in any city.
January 19, 2022 2:00pm to 3:00pm ET
Christof Spieler has recently released the second edition of his wildly popular book Trains, Buses, People. Christof’s new book now covers eight Canadian cities and two new US cities (Indianapolis and Puerto Rico). His original book was dubbed “a transit wonk’s bible” that has guided “a smarter conversation about urban transit.” Christof will discuss the evolving conversation around transit in the past three years since the book originally published. He’ll also briefly cover updates around fare policies, wayfinding, transit governance structures, customer experience, and how to create inclusive transit systems that work for all riders.
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.
In the latest episode in our series of Urban Resilience Project (URP) podcasts in partnership with Infinite Earth Radio, host Mike Hancox speaks with Christof Spieler about Trains, Buses, People, his new book on the best (and worst) transit cities in the US.
Check out our entire series of podcasts on urban resilience topics HERE.
Kyler Geoffroy is the Online Marketing Manager for Island Press