Insights into Jarrett Walker’s “Transit Network Design”

July 19, 2011 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

Christopher MacKechnie took Jarrett Walker’s Transit Network Design course – and had some interesting insights:

How Psychology Can Affect Urban Planning – Comments From Jarrett Walker’s Course

The class, which was two full days, had very little lecture; instead, the students were tasked to design a transit network of a fictional city called Newport which Mr. Walker designed himself. The actual design of the games was fascinating and would be a very useful exercise for any transit system to employ in a variety of situations. …

The class characteristics certainly can explain why walking was encouraged and bus stops infrequent (because the students had the personal ability to walk a long way to a bus stop and, being choice riders, wider stop spacing would result in improved operating speed, thereby making transit a more attractive choice), why almost no bus service was provided in the suburbs (people who choose to live in the sprawl do not deserve public transit), and there was a rush to spend all available resources, even if the result was inefficient (in government, if you do not spend your entire budget your budget is likely to be cut for the following year).

It would be very interesting to me to rerun this game as an experiment with a wider variety of participants. Some of the groups I would include would be the elderly, the disabled, social workers, suburban residents, the urban poor, conservatives, and representatives of different kinds of transit systems. How would the design of the transit network for Newport change based on these different groups? Let us hope Jarrett Walker chooses to find out.


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