New Urban Transit Systems of the U.S.

Pheonix Light Rail, Courtesy of Jim Jeffers

Pheonix Light Rail, Courtesy of Jim Jeffers

This weekend, Grist ran a great piece on dark horse transit systems of the United States.  I was familiar with a few of their case studies (the Olympics-driven Salt Lake light rail, for example, is fantastic) but some were a complete surprise.  Who would have thought that tourist clogged Orlando was an up-and-comer?  Or that the proud Confederate captial, Richmond, was a contender?  Perhaps these success stories can be read as a sort of silver lining to our current economic woes.

When it comes to public transit in the U.S., there are certain predictable all-stars: the Metro in Washington, D.C., is convenient, efficient, and clean. The anthropomorphically nicknamed El and BART in Chicago and San Francisco are legendary. And everyone knows it’s easier to navigate New York City without a car than with one.

But what about the rest of the country? As cities big and small rethink how their residents get around, new systems are taking shape—and as gas prices and paychecks fluctuate, riders are responding in droves. While the current economic crunch is forcing many cities to hike fares and cut back on service, innovations continue, and the tracks are laid for a bright future.

Read full article at Grist


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