Public transport: time for a new paradigm?

Sorry for the hoary cliché but I really do think it’s time for a new way of thinking about public transport.

Much of the debate on transport in cities is too simplistic. All too frequently it’s reduced to a simple nostrum: “replace all car travel with public transport”. I think it’s more complex than that and, to use another cliché, requires a more nuanced approach.

Let me be clear from the outset that there are compelling reasons why we need to invest more in public transport – for example, to provide mobility for those without access to a car. Another reason is to provide an alternative to roads that are becoming increasingly congested.

But I’m not convinced that the reason most commonly advanced – to overcome the environmental disadvantages of cars – is all that persuasive. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »