Transit and Geometry: What makes for success

Picked up another gem from Jarrett Walker’s Human Transit via Gordon Price’s Price Tags blog. It’s the beauty of geometry and efficiency in transit routes.

Price Tags

Jarrett Walker picked this up from a TransLink infographic, and as a result it’s had a lot of play. No wonder: a perfect illustration of a key lesson from Mr. Human Transit: “All other things being equal, long, straight routes perform better than short, squiggly and looping ones.”

Here’s a collection of TransLink’s most heavily used routes:

HT 1

And the least:

HT 2.


The reasons are obvious to most transit riders (and are laid out in detail in Chapters 4 and 14 of my book) but you’d be amazed how many well-intentioned people haven’t figured this out, and continue to advocate land use patterns that make effective transit impossible. (Mantra: It’s not Transit-Oriented Development unless it’s oriented toward transit that can succeed.)

Now, TransLink can use this in their explanation whenever someone demands that a route should squiggle to serve their interests.

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