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Jarrett- you might find interest in recent artwork of my good friend, Matthew Picton. Matthew has explored many aspects of geography and urban form through his art, but his most recent set of City Sculptures capture scale features of urban form, often focusing on street and rail networks. These three dimensional pieces are made by tracing various map features, so do represent a scale model of a limited subset of urban features. Most represent a city at point in time, but in others he's captured temportal changes in urban form. They may not be as practical in professional application, but they are a lot of fun to view.


Tom Brennan


This is great, Jarrett. Feeds right into my mapophilia. ;-)


Bob Davis

One of the buzzwords (or terms) of 21th rail transit projects is TOD (transit oriented development), the idea that residential and commercial construction will center around rail stations. Back over 100 years ago, Henry Huntington and his business associates built the Pacific Electric system here in Southern California, not because there were big bucks to be made in hauling people around the area, but because fast, clean electric transit was a prime selling point for the real estate that they subdivided. Likewise, there's more money to be made in increasing the density and redeveloping areas previously devoted to industry than in running trains to already-dense neighborhoods.

Bob Davis

OOPS! that first sentence should read "21st Century"


Terrific post, Jarrett.

Kevin Wright

I wonder what the maps would look like if ridership volumes per segment were mapped using a user volume-correlated color scheme or line width to passenger volume and to watch as changing volumes are simulated in 1-hour increments over a 7-day period. Does anyone know if the turnstile to turnstile ridership data is collected and made public by any of these cities? Great blog Jarrett!

Jarrett at HumanTransit.org

Kevin. You can do this with GIS technology, and most rapid transit systems (unlike bus systems) will have turnstile counts. It would look a lot like a map of traffic volumes on a road network. Jarrett


"These systems could be built only as a matter of regionwide consensus, and in most American urban regions, the core city is in the minority."

This iss often compounded by governmental or intergovernmental agency structures that proportionally over-represent low density areas (the way the US Senate does). BART, for instance has only three out of nine directors representing the Oak/Berk/SF urban core - leaving them with a minority of votes on the BART Board despite having a majority (or strong plurality) of residents and BART riders.

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