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Brent Palmer

Does Godwin's Law apply if I suggest that the lines in the second screen-capture form a Swastika? Or maybe I've watched too much MST3K?

Felix the Cassowary

Plus I don't have an internet connection on my phone (and the GPS is broken), so I guess I can't use PT except for specific trips I could plan in advance. Car breaks down? Found out a friend is in town? Public transport coming out of your eyeballs, but you're catching a taxi.

anonymouse

What about people who can't afford an iPhone? Even with hardware costs dropping rapidly toward zero (at least for Android devices), you still need to pay something like $70 a month for the service, which is about the cost of a monthly pass, and while it might not be much for the "creative class" architects, it's certainly a very noticeable expense for many transit users.

Also, the whole appointment system completely destroys spontaneity, which is an important feature and one where transit does not do as well as the car. If I decide I want to go to Mountain View for some tea, I want to be able to do it now, not at my appointed time of an hour from now. Which leads naturally to a potential criterion of where this sort of demand responsive system can work: if the latency for a response to a demand is lower than the typical headway on fixed-route service.

Danny

Beautiful and much needed takedown.

Alex B.

Bravo.

chrismealy

Shorter Gensler: let's make buses more like the %$#@ing airport shuttle.

Morgentau

They are mistaking transit for jitneys and ride share applications (aka para transit). Someone has to tell them the difference.

Wad

Jarrett, this post needs a follow-up.

Your takedown is much appreciated and pulls apart the logical structure piece by piece.

Think of how Gensler frames the issue. The problem is defined as the reality of the past and present being a shackle on the future, and the solution is to break the shackles.

This is the thinking that gave us BART, the system that allowed engineers and designers to reinvent the wheel and deliver nothing they set out to do in the blueprint phase.

Only this time, the opponents refuse to accept a constraint-based world. You now see other industries and academic disciplines being forced to incorporate Moore's Law. If processing power can double every 18 months, so should pharmaceutical cures, crop yields, vehicle throughput, academic research, retail sales ... .

Think about the trope of flexibility. Transit must have flexible routes because the users come to expect it and are entitled to it. Never mind the constraints: It doesn't work, it's inefficient, it's not so much a technological limitation as a physical one.

The Gensler camp would counterargue that the Human Transit camp is another constraint because they are unable to deliver on flexibility (they only know how to make the exisiting system work) or unwilling to deliver on flexibility (because their paychecks depend on suppressing change).

Carter R

I bet the 80,000 bus riders on Wilshire Blvd. appreciate that their 20s and 720s are making detours every two blocks to pick people up on 6th street.

Carter R

Whoops, I definitely meant "are NOT" making detours. Feel free to edit that, Jarrett.

Alon Levy

So, basically, this is crypto-PRT. It even lists PRT as one of several valid modes of transportation.

The other way to think about it is that LA's buses have become sufficiently iconic to be the basis of gadgetbahn proposals. Previously, gadgetbahns were all based on trains or self-driving cars or planes, but suddenly there's one based on buses.

Brent Palmer

@Morgentau: "Jitneys"... that's the word for the sort of thing found in the likes of Bangkok and Manila. In other words, applying a developing-world model to a first-world city, despite the high-tech element tacked on. Paul Mees rightly dismissed such an approach in 'A Very Public Solution' a decade ago (that book was a real eye-opener).

poncho

"visionary" architects should stick to what they do best... making hideous dysfunctional buildings that need to be replaced in 5 years

Jarrett

Professor Patrick Condon has asked me to post this for him:

Jarrett et al.

Yes the Gensler video is enough to curdle your morning oatmeal. Its graphics are decent, its sound track obnoxious, and its premises sophomoric. But Jarrett, its also maddening when you lump together urbanists as if they were one thing! If only that were true! A partial list of the various strands of urbanism is provided below. If you think i am making this up just google away.

post marxist urbanism
post urbanism
techno urbanism
new urbanism
traditional urbanism
agrarian urbanism
agricultural urbanism (yes there is a difference)
landscape urbansim
ecological urbanism
punk rock urbanism
social urbanism
market urbanism
emergent urbanism
organic urbanism
the new sub urbanism
christian urbanism
gay urbanism

I suppose that the thing that unites all these urbanisms is they all approach cities as interlaced systems, rather than separate elements ( such as housing, downtowns, suburbs, culture, roads, industry, transit, ecology, tourists etc). This is probably why urbanists can be maddening to transit planners. In their enthusiasm for the inclusive study of systems, it might often seem that, as Jarrett suggests, they ignore real economic, technical, and cultural constraints.

But transit planners, I beg you to cut urbanists some slack (sloppy thinking as with the Gensler video notwithstanding). They (we) might serve a useful function by trying to understand how any single element of complex urban systems connects to every other. Urbanists embrace an approach to knowledge that is the opposite of reductionist. It is radically inclusive. Urbanists generally try to think about all things at all times, in the hopes of unearthing something fundamental about their relationships. The hope is that by understanding the relationships between the interactive pieces of the urban landscape, better decisions will be made.

I trust that Jarrett and the readers and participants of this great forum can agree that this is occasionally useful. As a case in point, I can mention the series of exchanges on "slow transit" in which I participated. Frankly, I have been astonished by how many people i meet who recall that exchange, and found it illuminating, whatever side of the debate they were on.

Professor Patrick M. Condon

[JW: The exchange on "slow transit" that Prof Condon refers to can be found here, and in posts linked there:

http://www.humantransit.org/2010/04/is-speed-obsolete-.html

http://www.humantransit.org/2010/05/is-speed-obsolete-professor-condon-responds.html

http://www.humantransit.org/2010/06/is-speed-obsolete-the-wrapup-.html]

ant6n

Mmmh. You could just view it as a continuum from cabs (taxis) to buses. This would exist somewhere in the middle. Buses work. Taxis work. Can something in between not work? If there are enough people using it? You don't have to book a cab an hour in advance, and you don't need an iphone to do so. It's certainly not mathematically impossible, but there are probably a lot of constraints. And getting it to work well is probably much harder than either a system of cabs, or buses.

Jarrett


In response to Patrick:

I agree completely that urbanism is diverse, and tried to speak consistently of "some" urbanists. But there is also a powerful system of legitimation in the architecture world, and it seems to legitimate a lot of stuff on a par with the Gensler video.

So I frame the issue as a critique of a certain strain in "visionary urbanism" because I've seen arguments like Gensler's over and over, and they need to be confronted wherever they arise, even if being spouted by highly credentialed urbanists.

The most interesting part of Professor Condon's response is his excellent explanation of what urbanists do: "Urbanists generally try to think about all things at all times, in the hopes of unearthing something fundamental about their relationships."

If only urbanists do that, we're doomed. Patrick is arguing against all forms of reductionism, and I'm totally with him. What's needed, in many disciplines, is integrated or synthetic thinking -- thinking that sees patterns across disparate material. (That's why I'd defend my literature training, for example, as a very relevant credential for this kind of work, though training or even interest in any synthetic-thinking field is equally useful.)

We need analytic thinking too, but reductionism and the dead hand of habit arise from analytic thinking trying to dominate the creative space where synthetic thinking is needed.

The real challenge for all city-making or city-analyzing professionals, including transit planners, is to be open to synthetic thinking in their own work. A transit planner doesn't have to think as big-picture as a "visionary urbanist" does, but the world needs people who understand both transit and everything it's connected to, at least to the point that their visions can incorporate what transit really offers -- to imagined cities as much as real ones.

Wad

@Brent Palmer, you can't really call jitneys a developing world "model." It's more of a service born of need and circumstance.

Certain think tanks like to point out that the developing world made jitneys work, so why should rich people subsidize a losing service?

Well, there's a logical blind spot: Rich nations subsidize transportation because they can. Poor nations leave transportation as a subsistence activity because they can't afford subsidies.

A jitney operator isn't a path to a better life. It just entitles the operator to maintain their station in life but not go beyond it.

Dexter Wong

@Wad, to add to that, some people think that the Jitney is the best thing since sliced bread, but I don't believe that. There can be a place for it, but you can't base a big-city transit system on jitneys.

Also I agree with Jarrett, architects can mess up a transit project with their misunderstanding of how certain technologies work.

TransitPlannerMunich

Hmmm.
The analysis of Gensler what people want is right, the consequences are not.

People want an easy to use system where they don't have to think about how to use it.

It should bring you whereever you want at whatever time without waiting too much, so giving you flexibility.

And that can be done in the most efficient way with a conventional transit system, if planned properly.

The secret behind the success of the transit systems in Zurich, Vienna and Munich is that you have a high frequency network (frequent does not mean every 20 minutes but 10 a headway of 10 minutes, 5 minutes or even 2 minutes).

You can reach most destinations directly or with only one transfer to a different line. And yes, without thinking about tariffs or tickets or transfer slips.

In Zurich tram lines operate every 7.5 minutes, usually two tram lines meet for most of the route so that you have a 3-4 minutes headway for most passengers (and at night a 7.5 headway when tram lines change to a 15-min.-headway).

In Munich most bus lines operate on a 10 minutes or better headway, the tram between 3.3 minutes and 10 minutes headway, the underground metro system beween 2.5 and 10 minutes.

The most frequent bus lines in Munich have a 10 minutes headway minimum monday to sunday(!) and are called MetroBus. And about 30 percent of all traffic lights (and constantly growing) passed by buses have transit priority speeding up the lines.

All that leads to a transit share of over 30% for public transit in Munich (similar to the car), 26% for walking and 14% for bikes.

marco

Swiss bus networks often include some dial-a-ride services, but this services are usually intended for countryside areas or late-night operation. And you don't need an iPhone to deal with it!

http://bit.ly/owlMuA
Publicar: you call a telephone number and reserve your bus as it was a taxi.

http://www.service-pyjama.ch/index.html
Service Pyjama: you board your bus downtown, then you tell the driver where you need to go.

Of course, none of there services is intended to substitute a regular bus service. Usually is quite the opposite: once these services start to have a regular ridership, they are turned into fixred bus routes.

Dave

"Exponential growth looks like nothing is happening, and then suddenly you get this explosion at the end," --Ray Kurzweil

This may seem a little off topic, and please excuse my naivete. Excellent blog, also. It's just that I'm not fully convinced with assumptions constituting the dynamics we presume that hold things together--the cohesive forces of urbanization that inform long-range plans, especially when it comes to committing to mega-cost projects for urban transport.

How do today's transportation planners (was) determine (and then trust) even a five year set of assumptions for a demand forecast? Especially when, something as seemingly insignificant as a Zappos purchase prevents my leaving the house to shop for shoes. Multiply my solitary home-based or non-home-based-other trip to go look at shoes by n. Another trip reduction.

Federal and state land-use policies to an extent, create, shape, and attempt to hold population density in place, but ultimately have little control over the evolution of travel patterns, especially if they were to become non existant. How often have we prepared for something in the process of disappearing? Take NYC in the pre-auto days, trying to get a handle on rising horse manure. I doubt the city even remotely imagined how quickly autos would replace horses.

Apply "Amazon" to categories of retail--including groceries. Apply "Telepresence" to work and society. Apply the advent of "Pneumatic Transport Tubes" (don't laugh) to accelerate a reduction in acquisition time for goods.
What does that leave? Some resemblance to a look and feel of cities today could very well endure, but I am clueless, really. We're seeing profound shifts in the basis for settlement.

I find little discussion on this subject. And what to call it? Even in real estate circles, discussion beyond short-term trends, or a more sophisticated take on the underpinnings of urban form, is largely absent. That urbanism exists, is mostly all I hear.

Danny

And despite all the technological advances that make increasing urbanization "unnecessary", the world becomes even more urbanized at an even more rapid rate.

Dave, your assumptions show that you think that trips of necessity will be replaced by nothing. That might be true for some people, but for most people, it is the exact opposite.

A trip to the store to buy a necessity can, and often is, replaced by a trip to a store to buy a luxury. A trip to work can, and often is, replaced by a trip to visit a client or a trip to a local professional meetup. A trip to city hall to take care of legal paperwork can be replaced by a trip to the home of a friend.

Dave

Danny, though I can't provide the science, I conjecture that what may be about to occur is a breakdown of our overall habituation to home-based non-work trips--and "travel" altogether.

Work trips have and will continue to diminish. I could be wrong. If I'm wrong, the continued burgeoning travel demand can only suggest that non-essential trips resist the net.

To reinforce my idea, I've recently been through a personal experience of what I'd consider to have been an addiction to travel. I found it necessary to make a non-home-base auto trip at least once a day. I work at home. I was forced to break that addiction for economic reasons. I went through a period of withdrawal.

Eventually I re-adapted to more minimal personal dwelling habits, and I am now stunned in looking back, and in consideration of what can be achieved without driving--or even biking and walking. Nothing was lost in eliminating those costs. Even my town and state government business is be done online--or by fax.

Alon Levy

Dave, the problem with the we're-on-the-cusp-of-revolution argument is that it's extraordinary, and thus requires extraordinary evidence. A single story about New York's horse manure problem taken straight from Freakonomics is not enough; I could give you many counterstories, of bubbles created by people who thought that things were suddenly different when they in fact were not.

For instance, let's take travel. Yes, there's plenty of evidence of peak travel in developed countries. It's not because of telecommuting; changes in commute mode share are extremely slow. Changes in what's best transit practice are still slower; gadgetbahn proponents have been crowing about PRT for decades, with nothing to show for it. It's the same with smartphones, which do not absolve agencies of the needs for a clockface schedule, a legible service map, and punctuality.

Wad

@Dave, there's at least a 95 percent certainty that you are wrong about diminishing work trips.

The technology to make teleworking and non-office-based work is here and mature, and the jobs that can be done from home are being done from home.

Telework is of limited utility to much of the services sector. Also, Baumol has theorized that as one sector improves productivity to the point where labor is unneeded, redundant workers will likely flock to an economic sector that is more labor-dependent. In the U.S., that would be the services sector.

Many service-sector jobs require people to go to complete their tasks at a work site. Food services won't expect chefs to prepare food at home and send it via courier to a kitchen. Despite the widespread availability of automobiles, health professionals don't make house calls and patients must go to medical facilities for treatment. Hospitality industries require employees to interact with the guests at the lodge.

In the education world, online learning is possible and widely used, but technology doesn't improve the learning experience because uptake is now the students' responsibility. Not everyone is capable or comfortable in a distant interactive environment, and many students want or need face-to-face interaction.

Even high-value jobs like engineering require tools that must be used at a worksite or solutions applied at a location. No working for home there, either.

Since most of our lives will be consumed by work, and many of us will be limited in the kinds of careers we will apply to, our options will require us to leave home.

Sleep will take another third, but the rest of the waking hours we'll need to keep our time occupied. Most of us will still need or want to live life in the physical world and not be constantly plugged into the matrix.

Danny

Wad, you could also add in management consulting. Everything that management consultants do today could be done with modern technology on computers or over the phone. But they don't. They choose to fly hundreds/thousands of miles, and stay in expensive hotels on the dime of their clients, and the reason why is that face-to-face interaction is still too valuable to not do so.

My job could be done through telework, but I choose not to as well. In fact, the only person I know where I work that regularly opts for telecommuting is the general manager who travels about 95% of the time, and an IT guy who is anti-social.

Dave

My conjecture on trip reduction is an option, a posit that long range plans should incorporate, imo. Good science acknowledges unknowables. The flexibility to respond to unknowables is important to a plan, and a plan must address the complexity of responding to change on the fly.

Disruptive is a term that has come to describe the sudden adoption of a technology that renders unanticipated and far-reaching consequences to the status quo. A "disruption" will often arrive at an unexected moment after the tail of long term r&d for example, or when a product suddenly fits the bill for widespread adoption. Price point is a factor. iPhone is an example. Touchscreen phones were available years before the iPhone was thought to have invented the category. Tablets go back even further. Unheard of ten years ago--though there were several brands to choose from. In less than five years we've seen these two devices reshape entire sectors of information technology.

Five years ago, who would have predicted Twitter?

I disagree with but don't dismiss, "the jobs that can be done from home are being done from home", and "Most of us will still need or want to live life in the physical world and not be constantly plugged into the matrix". These comments are as much conjecture as mine.

Telework was recently reported to be down from a peak in 2008, which would indicate the up-trend is over. We suspect the economy is likely the cause, but we don't have the data to back that claim. This doesn't mean we would project downward on Telework, does it? I personally view Telework to be in the "fits and starts" of a long term course of development. Improvements in videoteleconferencing display technology can easily trigger a new and dramatically more powerful form of telework. To embrace at least a probability for such a development might soud like, "what if, and when?" To dismiss it's potential might sound like, "no, forget it, it won't happen!".

Alex

Automobile-oriented narcissism - "carcissism"?

Tom Radulovich

Thanks for this, Jarrett. Another video Gensler produced about Downtown LA made the rounds a few months ago: http://vimeo.com/21034894

I thought about writing a similar critique to yours, but dropped it. The 'solutions' the video puts forward are mostly straight out of the Big Book of Mid-Century Modernist Fantasies that Never Worked. In the 2030 future, you drive your fossil-fueled auto to a huge parking structure on the edge of downtown, and either swap it for an electric car to finish your journey within the city, or get on public transport. These reduced traffic streets can now become greener and more walkable, right? Wrong – the entire ground level of downtown is abandoned to 'service', and a system of sky bridges is constructed to connect buildings to one another at upper floors (The 'visionary' future for Downtown Los Angeles is, apparently, Downtown Houston). Public transit is relegated to aerial gondolas. An urban agriculture motif is added for currency, of course.

Eric O

Ouch!

Dang it, Jarrett, not many urbanists will want you at their cocktail party. :D

Hey, we're lernin'... we're lernin'...

Cheers.

Erik G.

Pedestrians move at 250 feet per minute?

That is 4.16 feet per second!

Even the new Federal MUTCD is suggesting that pedestrian signals be timed for 3.5 feet per second...
....(and Orange County, CA claims this extra time will increase Greenhouse Gas production!)...
...while suggesting 2.8 feet per second for crosswalks used by the elderly and children.

Dave

Tom, I agree with much of what you say. I'm also a proponent of cities and towns discovering ways of developing in-line with each own's unique geographic opportunities and constraints. A gondola driven downtown office district can be the seed for something special. Or, badly disused--a disaster. We've seen that happen enough. Yet, it's possible that a gondola driven downtown could reap fringe benefits due to it's uniqueness as a grade separated reality. Perhaps popular with conventions looking for something different. A seemingly easy system to expand on.

I once briefly proposed a small pedestrian-oriented community situated on a ridge line, accessed from the town below it by a five minute gondola trip. The idea for this addressed a land use horizon plan as a proposed solution for the preservation of valley soils and ag land. I considered that a gondola system would minimize impacts to the valley walls, while completely losing cars, and maintaining an unbroken wildlife habitat. The transport technology was proven and affordable. The development itself would have had to involve some novel construction methods. Large freight delivery was an issue. As it turned out, hillside/top development was deemed unacceptable. If by accident this were to have been accepted and had gone on to present a unique living and lifestyle opportunity for individuals who wanted to join, it could have established a niche unique to it's place, and become known and respected. At the very least it would have represented a useful case study.

Drew

So glad to see this post! I had to watch this video at an Architecture of Transportation event in LA a couple weeks ago and was wondering if anyone else found its conclusions unsettling. Its one thing to speculate the use of PRT in LA, but this video claims that a PRT-style system should replace the grid network of busses without offering any substantial evidence to support this conclusion. I can't believe Gensler would present this to a room full of transportation experts, including several directors at Metro!

Chris, Public Transport

The concept Dave is arguing is true, although the execution (everyone working from home) is unlikely to come to pass for emotional / psychological reasons. When planners plan for life in 2030, they assume that whatever the current growth pattern is will continue in the same manner until that time. This results in expectations that the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area will add 2 or 3 million people. In reality, it is equally likely that the Los Angeles population reaches a stasis, as people leave in search of better opportunities in other areas and illegal immigrants go home.

But we need to continue to plan for the future, and we need some expected baseline data to plan for. If we had the time, then perhaps we could design 5 or more plausible long term scenarios and then analyze the transportation needs for each one. I'd estimate that in the next 10 years gas prices will continue to go up but the price of electric cars will remain too high for most Americans, which could entail even more Americans turning to transit than now.

In terms of the video, it strikes me that Gensler is trying to design a literal replacement for the car instead of focusing on a replacement for the mobility that the car provides.

I don't think the failure to consider cost is the big failure of the video. It's more the failure to understand even the basic fundamentals of public transit, which I find to be common amongst a lot of the planning community.

Dave

Chris, I find the whole thing really intriguing. We've embraced urban-by-necessity, and it has evolved. Proximity to goods, functional meshworks, and a collective place of employment has been a given for thousands of years.

Today we have a scenario where it's conceivable that individuals could sever their urban ties if they so desired, and continue to earn a living, and experience a high quality of life in an entirely different setting.

In the absence of necessity for a combined collective work and market place, we now have a presumed necessity of relationship place--and is this all that remains holding cities together? This subject is entirely undeveloped, and has little language to discuss it with. This need to see and be seen.

Perhaps we don't talk about the need to see and be seen because it stirs up western puritanical views of ego (churches deny this is probably why their congregation exists) We are fundamentally shy to admit we want to be seen by others.

We're approaching an extraordinary moment of choice. Choice not based on urban-by-necessity for employment, goods, and services, as in the past. Instead, choice based on the desire to see and be seen--and to be in close proximity with others. There is scarce theoretic/scientific basis for this proposition nor a word to describe it. It defies conventional money ideas of how markets work...

Seems nobody cares to want to talk about it

AbNtransit

This is a very 'cute' video, nothing more. ...as a true rubber- meets- the- road transit professionals, all i can say is those who can, do and those who can't call themselves urbanists. Skip class and drive a bus for a day. Then you'll learn about boosting ridership!

Alon Levy

Dave: yeah, 10 years ago there were no iPhones. So what? In 1999, people could and did justify the tech bubble on the grounds that 10 years before there was no World Wide Web. A pair of hacks wrote a book called Dow 36,000. Everything was supposed to be .com.

I claim that teleconferencing's impact on economics of agglomeration is going to be zero. Videophones as a technology have existed for decades; they never caught, except in science fiction and anime. People collaborating over long distances need email, phone, and maybe chat; they don't need to see one another's faces, and for evidence, observe that the most business-oriented laptop, the Thinkpad, doesn't have an in-built webcam.

Email has measurable impact on how people work. The proportion of solo papers in math is declining, and presumably also in other fields. It's also made remote places less remote; a professor at Hawaii tells me how it used to be that the only way for local professors to interact with other experts was to invite speakers for talks, piggybacking on Hawaii's then-important role as a stopover on flights from the US to Japan. However, even in a world with ubiquitous email, conferences, joint seminars, and meetings remain critical for intense collaboration; email is used more for preparation and followup.

The world does not change quickly. Never has. Specific sectors do, and technology does so especially, but the effects on the rest of society are constantly overrated. For example, for all the talk about how Facebook and Twitter have helped spread the aborted Green Revolution and the Arab Spring, are those uprisings really unusual by the standards of the civil rights movement, the May 1968 student protests, the Tiananmen Square protests, and the Eastern European color revolutions?

Dave

Alon, "Videophones as a technology have existed for decades; they never caught, except in science fiction and anime" / I would add that touchscreen phones existed for a decade before catching on. Why? Because someone perfected an interface that transformed the user experience and the technology suddenly caught fire.

"The world does not change quickly." / Yes, so it seems. If you look at this conundrum through a different lens, you may notice how actually often substantial nonlinear--or rhizomic--events unfold rapidly, and elicit profound change. Cars, radio, television, internet, dna mapping...are a few examples from over a relatively short period of time. Where, at any given time, a pipeline of innovations with similar potential exists, only a few of which will emerge. Why some ideas make it and some do not, is a mystery.

An interesting read on this thread: A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History, by Manuel De Landa.

Chris Bradshaw

I identify with the 'urbanist' label, as defined by Prof. Condon: studying the complex web of systems that make up a city. I find the Gensler video thought-provoking, which is also how I find Human Transit.

It is exciting to consider the application of wireless technology to planning and summoning rides in urban settings that are ridiculously congested, thanks to an over-commitment to 'my car.'

There are, of course, certain 'rules' in transportation that should be respected, such as the efficiency of both vehicles and the traveler's time, making on-demand transit side trips impractical. Getting from transit stops to nearby addresses should be done by walking; it's good for the neighbourhood and for the traveller.

Cell phones, smart ones, will be ubiquitous and fairly cheap, as prices fall. Third-world countries, today, have higher market penetration than North America, making land-lines unnecessary. The only thing costly in North America are the use plans that overcharge for metered use to make unlimited plans seem reasonably priced (Canada has just started to move away flat-fee unlimited-use plans to all-use-metered plans)

Dave

Chris, A wildly popular transit app.. Yeah!!

Bert Green

How much you wanna bet that the people who made the video never take transit?

CroMagnon

Thanks for writing this, Jarrett. I've been saying this for quite some time now.

c

Jarrett,
Maybe an additional explanation is needed on this video: it was done as a wrap-up to what Gensler submitted to an ideas competition: A New Infrastructure: Innovative Transit Solutions for LA/2009.

Jarrett at HumanTransit.org

C. Yes, I know that. How does that affect how we should read the viideo?

bzcat

The Gensler team that dreamed up this presentation must have never used public transit in LA. That's the only conclusion I can reach.

Paul

I found the comparative cost between private car and public transport ($8+ per commute v $1.50) was dishonestly framed. The costs for private car included items such as noise, CO2, impacts on amenity, road maintenance, etc etc, none of which apparently apply to a public system.

Chris L

Thank you for this post, Jarrett. I've been annoyed about the illogical conclusions of that video since they released it a couple months back.

Please do a follow up for their equally nonsensical video about Downtown LA.

http://vimeo.com/21034894

I'm a fan of Gensler's architectural work...I just wish they'd stick to what they're good at and left the transportation planning to the big boys.

Boo Ink

I got here after hearing Gensler's network_LA proposal firsthand. They mentioned this critique and offered strong arguments for many of its point. They also pointed out the downtown LA video mentioned above was a student speculation project. While the student ideas are very sophomoric, the findings in front part of that video are staggering.

Jarrett did you ever reach out to Gensler to learn more? Could be a very interesting interview piece for the site, because after hearing them and reading the comments here I have to say the string of comments and your critique sound dated and off base.

These guys want to bring collective intelligence to a system that has the capability, but doesnt use it. For those naysayers fixated on their ideas for liberated routes your missing the a-ha. You are applying old school thinking to old school problems. The 21st century is here folks.

Riding the 720 down Wilshire, 75% of the riders already have phones and this "world will end" mindset of the buses rerouting themselves is just stupid. This conversation is about applying data to optimize, not mucking up routes for the sake of change. As a collective interested in transit here we should ask ourselves, what is the future of mass transit in large, complex cities like LA? How does real time data impact this conversation?

I think Gensler Los Angeles is onto something by encouraging a network of vehicles versus obsessing over the routes of a single mode. I mean look at LA compared to other cities. http://archinect.com/news/article/18228916/comparison-of-other-major-cities-that-can-fit-inside-la

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