Beyond the Bus-vs.-Rail Debate

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Beyond the Bus-vs.-Rail Debate: Cultivating Transit Discussions that Take Us Where We Need to Go

A talk by Jarrett Walker, international transit consultant and author of the weblog

Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 7:00 p.m.
UW Pyle Center, Room 313
702 Langdon St., Madison, WI

Like many cities, Madison has spent years debating rail and other ideas for improving area transit. Yet few of these proposals have moved forward, and new threats to transit funding could undo what progress has been made.

Why are debates over transit often so frustrating and contentious? Can we frame them differently to foster more productive conversations and stronger consensus, both about the kinds of transit systems we want and about the value and benefits of transit to our communities?

Jarrett Walker, international transit consultant and author of the popular transit policy weblog, thinks we can, and will discuss how in a talk on Tuesday evening, May 31, at 7:00 p.m. in Room 313 of the UW Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St. in Madison.

A fundamental problem, he maintains, is that heated quarrels over transit technologies have made it harder to think and talk clearly about what we really want for our communities and which choices best achieve those goals. The relationship between transit technology and transit outcomes is not always as clear as it seems, and categorical opinions about any technology, rail or bus, can blind us to many other ways to improve our transit systems and thereby enrich our communities and our lives. Approaching transit issues from a different point of view may make them easier to resolve.

Jarrett Walker, PhD, has been a consulting transit planner for 20 years, and has worked on a wide range of projects, from small-city bus re-structurings to major transit corridor studies. He has written since 2009 and his book Human Transit, expanding on themes from that writing, is forthcoming this fall from Island Press.

The talk is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the UW Center on Wisconsin Strategy’s State Smart Transportation Initiative, the Dane Alliance for Rational Transportation, the DaneTransit coalition, and the Madison Peak Oil Group. For further information contact Fred Bartol at (608) 251-6126.