#Urban Planning

Dec 21, 2015

The Grandmother Test

I recently met someone who disapproves of this whole Urban Gondola concept – which is fine, you’re entitled to your own opinion. He said it’s hard enough to get his grandmother to ride the subway (because she finds it terrifying), let alone a gondola. According to The Grandmother Test (yeah, it should be called that)...

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Sep 08, 2015
Urban Planning & Design

Reviewing Good Advice: Low Profile Urban Gondolas

This piece was first published on The Gondola Project in 2010 but it is still highly relevant and useful. It’s about keeping your head low to the ground being unobtrusive; useful advice from a Canadian. There’s a story about Cable Propelled Transit, Aerial Ropeways and Urban Gondolas that only hurts the technology’s future. Unfortunately, the...

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Jul 24, 2010

Obedience Training

If you work in a planning firm, city, political office, think tank, etc. where you might get fired or disciplined for mentioning or proposing the idea of urban gondolas, you probably didn’t want to work there in the first place. Places like that are interested only in gatekeeping and maintaining the status quo. They’re interested...

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Jul 22, 2010
Thought Experiments, Urban Planning & Design

A Wait Time Thought Experiment

According to the Transportation Research Board’s Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, wait times for transit are around 2 times more onerous to riders than actual in-vehicle time. They see that ratio rise to 2.5 times when wait times are coupled to transfers. With that in mind, how long is the following journey: A...

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Jul 13, 2010
Thoughts, Uncategorized

Never Meant To Be

Ski lifts were never meant to be used as public transit. So what? Locomotives were never meant to be used underground. Wood was never meant to be used as lumber. Pipe cleaners were never meant to be used for arts and crafts. Cows were never meant to be used as beef. Spaceships were never meant...

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Jul 02, 2010
Media & Blogs, Subway

How Is This Even Possible?

A couple of days ago, Yonah Freemark published some statistics that should trouble anyone in the North American transit world: Los Angeles plans a 13.8 km long subway line at a total cost of $6 billion. That works out to $435 million per kilometer. Not to be outdone, New York is planning a 2.7 km...

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Jun 30, 2010
Thoughts, Urban Planning & Design

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

We do things for reasons beyond money. That’s no surprise. We – as people – are motivated by a whole host of other factors. Check out this fascinating video/animation from www.theRSA.org on what actually motivates people. And at the end of it ask yourself: Do our cities, governments, societies (and transit systems) motivate us in...

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Jun 28, 2010
Light Rail & Streetcars, Research Issues, Urban Planning & Design

Never Mind The Real World

If I gave you the choice between a transit technology that could carry 20,000 people and a technology that could carry 6,000 which would you choose? Clearly, youd choose 20,000. Or what if I gave you the choice between a transit technology that operated at 100 km/hr or one that operated at 35 km/hr? Obviously...

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Jun 22, 2010
Thoughts, Urban Planning & Design

Why Outliers Are Important

Bent Flyvbjerg is a scholar in Denmark and an expert in cost-overruns and demand-shortfalls in public infrastructure projects. In one of his more recent publications (“Cost Overruns and Demand Shortfalls in Urban Rail and Other Infrastructure”), he demonstrates the dramatic demand shortfalls that most urban rail infrastructure is met with. According to his study, actual...

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Jun 13, 2010
Thoughts, Urban Planning & Design

A Tale of Two Planning Professors

These are both 100% true stories: During my undergrad, I took a course called “The Changing Geography of China.”  Of the sixty or so students in the class, I was one of a dozen white people in the room (maybe).  Much to the obvious confusion of the class, one of those dozen was the professor;...

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