One of our Transportation Planners, Ryan, sent me a link to a really interesting post on Jarrett Walker’s Human Transit blog. It’s about how there is no black or white when it comes to transit; the underlying geometry of transit requires communities to make a series of choices, or tradeoffs, between two desires. And what makes these decisions so difficult is that there is no technical ground for making one choice or the other. Examples of these choices include choosing between high ridership numbers or expanded coverage; requiring riders to transfer or creating an incredibly complex system; and making people walk further to bus stops or have them closer together, slowing down service with more stops.

Many of these topics will be discussed in the scenario planning portion of the Metropolitan Transportation Plan we’re working on right now, Horizon 2040. Until we get there though, you may want to look at how Walker diagrams each of these options, noticing that for each choices, one option seems to trigger a positive-feedback loop, while the other option does not.

And at the center of the “positive” choices? What Walker calls a single, consistent goal: the greatest possible number of jobs and other destinations located within 30 minutes one way travel time of the greatest possible number of residents.

To see how that would look locally, go to the Mapnificent website and play with the map a little. Then read the rest of Walker’s blog post and weigh in on his idea of “abundant access.”

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