The first thing Christof Spieler does in Trains, Buses, People, his so-called “opinionated atlas” of US public transit, is thank his wife. She seems to deserve it: For more than a decade, Spieler has been picking their vacation destinations based on what transit systems he wants to explore.
At least the trips were productive. This week, Spieler, a urban planner at the design firm Huitt-Zollars and an adjunct professor at Rice University’s Schools of Architecture and Engineering, published a slick, map-filled volume documenting the condition of the 47 metro areas in the country that have functioning rail or bus rapid transit systems.
“Functioning” might be an overstatement. This is Spieler’s point, and why he spent more than 15 years traveling to, observing, and collecting data on all these cities to begin with. “I feel a lot of the discussions around transit take as its major metric of success the opening of [...]