America Always Gets This Wrong (when building transit)

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Why is it that in the US & Canada, we’re always being told that we can’t justify the ridership for transit projects? And why is it that when we do build transit, it’s struggles to gain riders? It all comes down to what surrounds that transit line. Good transit requires good land-use.

The book “Confessions of a Recovering Engineer” can be purchased here:

Credits, References, and Additional Information

Innsbruck Population (the Google result is wrong):–zahlen/bevoelkerung/bevoelkerungsstand

Tram in London, Ontario

Historical Los Angeles Railway Network

TravelTime Map demo (for walkshed animation)

Toronto Interactive Zoning Map

Amid cost overruns and project delays, the Mississauga Transitway is complete

Mississauga Transitway

Missed opportunities on the Mississauga Transitway

Alan’s Meme uses the song “Pineapple Juniors” by Staint Pepsi (Skylar Spence):

Confessions of a Recovering Engineer
Charles “Chuck” Marohn

Includes licensed stock footage from Getty Images

#landuse #transitorienteddevelopment

0:00 Introduction
0:52 We’re too small for transit
1:43 Smaller cities aren’t too small
2:51 Building for cars vs. transit
3:39 Land use matters!
5:09 Good transit needs good land use
5:50 Oh no it’s the business park again
6:56 Mississauga’s car-centric BRT
8:12 Transit-oriented development
8:51 When there’s not enough D in your TOD
9:56 Can we build transit first?
10:47 When you build for cars you get traffic
11:14 The subway to nowhere
11:44 The memes are leaking
12:04 IJburg and its trams
12:51 What can the US & Canada do?
14:28 City Beautiful & Portland
15:12 CuriosityStream is a good deal
15:52 Patreon shout-out


  1. The need for more trains is not biased at all, steel on steel is where it’s at 🤘

  2. 22 Juni
    06:50 Nonton YouTube 06:52 Alan Fisher Why Trolleybus Are Vastly Superior To Battery Electric Bus terus Yuk Ida Matiin Lampu Ruang Tengah 07:07 Nyalain Lampu Lagi 07:14 Not Just Bikes America Always Get This Wrong 07:16 Lampu Ruang Tengah nya dimatiin Yuk Ida lagi 07;30 an Keluar Kamar nonton sambil Jalan jalan

  3. Follow the money and you will get your answer.
    How much does the car industry give government each year?

  4. Mohammad Samani

    I’m glad to see I’m not alone. After moving back to Vancouver from Basel, I find myself angry all the time.

  5. Nick Schrombeck

    Jason, I really appreciate the pauses you take in your videos.

    Charlie from Our Changing Climate (OCC) just presents so much stuff in such a visually appealing way that I get overloaded often.

    Having pauses between chapters and also within chapters helps me better understand what you have to say, although I guess I have Playback Speed options for other videos that I use

    Great content. I hope to move to a mixed transportation town soon that has rentable bikes (I’d use my own) and bus service that can run me to the closest transit line 30 minutes away. It’s not the best situation, but it’s better than nothing, given as like you said so many places in North America have no rail transit whatsoever

    Wish they’d extend a line down to the town center of where I would be living, but efforts are focused on doing just that except probably 25 mi / 40 km West in a separate town/city. Oh well, gotta continue lobbying!

  6. Meryl 🔞 T[A]P ON [M][Y] PlcTuRE

    The need for more trains is not biased at all, steel on steel is where it’s at

  7. How stupid the North American transit engineers are really that need Youtube to teach them how to do their job properly?

  8. In this list of cities below 420k with tram lines in Germany, you included Witten twice, but missed out on Braunschweig (and probably more).

  9. I grew up in London, my parents live in the walkable neighbourhood you describe, and I recently moved from a neighbourhood in Toronto you pictured, lol. Amazing video, this hit very close to home.

  10. Love these videos, but as a European who lived in Canada and the US, The weather is IMO the major impediment to transit in NA. Besides Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and SF, most US cities have extreme climate variation making riding a bicycle or walking long distance impossible. It’s often too hot or too cold. Would you walk in Dallas, Atlanta, Miami or Phoenix in the summer ? That’s why people drive. There is also an lack of security in transit in the US. Too many weirdos, homeless people, druggies etc. Transit authorities cannot change that. I love driving, my car and wouldn’t change that at all. Most people in rural areas in Europeans also drive a lot, and the percent of people living in rural areas is much greater in Europe than in the US. Highways in the Netherlands are ubiquitous and often more crowded than in the US.

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