Speed or Frequency

There’s an excellent post, complete with several links, on Jarrett Walker’s Human Transit blog talking about the fundamentally different way that highway engineers and sustainable transit folk think about questions of “speed”.  Their views are totally at odds, and the result when a highway thinker takes on a transit problem may leave much to be desired.

Looking at the speed of a trip (or trip segment) may not tell the whole story.

In the context of technology debates here in Toronto, some will take issue with the “or” in this article’s title.  After all, a subway can be both fast and frequent as we all know.  However, part of the total trip is also the access time to service, and that brings us to debates about stop spacing, development patterns and pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods.

The article also links to a piece about streetcars vs buses on Walker’s site.  The extensive comment thread covers many aspects of the debate we have seen here in Toronto.  One important distinction that Walker himself makes is that the article deals with streetcars vs buses, not LRT vs BRT.  He has a separate article on the distinction between streetcars and LRT.