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Heavyweight champions for better buses

Many cities strive for better public transport. But too few do enough to improve their BUS systems.

For Reinventing Transport this time around I discussed bus improvements with public transport planning veteran, Colin Brader of ITP.  

Colin has worked on numerous public transport projects around the world and is one of the authors of the 2019 EBRD report, "Driving change: reforming urban bus services".

A key point in our discussion: Cities need bus reform champions. We will see that one even has a bus improvement "heavyweight".

Scroll down for highlights of our conversation or listen with the player below.


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Colin Brader is the founder of the UK-based international transport consulting firm, ITP, and is currently ITP’s Chairman. For more than 2 decades he has worked through ITP on projects that have transformed public transport systems in many countries and brought mass transit to mega-cities across the world. Just …

Upward and outward urban growth and why transport folks should care

Where in the world is urban growth fastest? How much can we expect by 2030? Where is the growth mainly outward onto new land? Where is it mostly upward in the form of taller buildings?

These questions (and others) are tackled in a unique way by the important World Resources Institute (WRI) working paper, Upward and Outward Growth: Managing Urban Expansion for More Equitable Cities in the Global South.

I spoke with co-author, Anjali Mahendra, about the paper and why transport folks like you and me should pay attention. The result of our conversation is Reinventing Transport episode #17.You can read some detailed highlights below or listen to the interview in full.



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The report was prepared as part of the (mammoth!) effort towards the next edition of WRI's flagship World Resources Report, entitled "Towards a More Equal City" and was co-authored by Anjali Mahendra (Director of Research, from the World Resources Institute …

Shaping public transport

If you care about promoting public transport, you need to understand the key choices about organising and regulating it. These choices shape the industry and they really matter.

This is NOT just about privatisation versus government operation. It is more interesting than that.

This edition of Reinventing Transport shares the key alternatives and gives a sense of what's at stake. The focus is buses but most of the ideas also apply more widely.


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You can either read the article below or listen to the podcast episode (use a podcast app or the player at the beginning of this article or click HERE).

This is just the basics, not a deep dive. If you want more gory details, then follow the links right at the end of the article.

It may seem dull but bus regulation is important! [1:29] The regulatory framework sets how decisions get made and who makes those choices.

It makes a huge difference for things you care about - things like coordinat…

Ending parking minimums - why, where, who, how

Parking minimums are under siege and it's a very good thing. 

Most buildings in most cities and towns across the globe are required by law to provide plentiful parking.

But parking minimums are a huge mistake.


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These parking minimums are put in place for understandable but muddle-headed reasons.

Parking minimums (also called minimum parking requirements or norms or standards) do not in fact solve the on-street parking problems they are supposed to solve.

Instead, they cause immense harm by worsening car dependence, hindering infill development, undermining walkable neighborhoods, blocking transit-oriented development, and by making real-estate, including housing, less financially viable and less affordable.

Abolishing parking minimums is not a panacea. By itself, it doesn't necessarily reduce the parking that developers provide in car-dependent locations.

But, among its many benefits, eliminating minimums does enable low-parkin…

Jakarta's transport is daunting not hopeless

Jakarta's urban transport problems are epic and this metropolis of 24 million people seems an unlikely place to look for lessons, except maybe cautionary ones.

But Yoga Adiwinarto, ITDP’s Country Director for Indonesia, wants you to know there is progress. In fact, there are lessons for other large cities in middle-income countries to learn from.

Yoga and I discussed urban transport in Jakarta for Reinventing Transport episode #14. 


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Here are highlights of our conversation I asked Yoga to 'paint a picture' of Jakarta, urban transport challenges and what it feels like to move around the city. [1:45]The challenges are huge but there have been improvements, to public transport for example. [6:58]The TransJakarta BRT started well in 2004, faced a very rough patch about five years later (a series of buses even caught fire!). [8:30]Several important reforms to TransJakarta this decade have resulted in huge improvements and dram…

Simplify and Connect: a key to better bus networks

What if I said your city could have better public transport without more funding or higher fares? Does that sound too good to be true?

Reinventing Transport this time is a basic explainer for the idea that public transport networks are often improved by being simplified. It can be a low-cost step to a better system.  



If people in your city face long waiting times for buses, there might be too many bus lines. A simplified network may offer better service.

Does that sound intriguing? Or maybe this issue is old hat for you. Either way, I hope you will get something from listening to the episode or reading the article below.
The basic idea Imagine a town with 100 buses. And suppose the town has 25 bus lines. There would be four buses for each line. But suppose the town simplifies its bus network down to just five lines. Now there are 20 buses per bus line.

Electric two-wheelers: how big will they be?

Stefan Bakker sees a big future for electric vehicles with two wheels. 

I asked Stefan to join me for this month's Reinventing Transport, after reading his “Electric Two-Wheelers, Sustainable Mobility and the City”.



Learn more about Stefan Bakker via LinkedIn or ResearchGate.

Electric two-wheelers, such as e-bikes, get less attention than electric cars or even electric buses. But two-wheeled electric vehicles are increasing in numbers faster and are already making more of a difference to carbon emissions than their larger cousins.

Why are their numbers surging? How much potential is there? Which kinds will take off, the lighter/slower or the heavier/faster? (Do you see the double meaning in the title?) What benefits and risks/costs do they have? What policies are appropriate? Stefan and I tackled these questions and more.

Here are highlights from the conversation.
Stefan was prompted to write about electric two-wheelers after several years working in Southeast Asia where he noticed th…

An end to mass car ownership without draconian policies? (And a tribute to Chris Bradshaw)

Could we end the era of mass car ownership without a huge fight ("they're coming to take our cars!") and without draconian policies? 

That's the focus of this article and podcast episode (Reinventing Transport #11).

It is based on an essay I wrote in 2011 (but unfortunately never published). I speculated about a future dominated by "shared" modes of transport and with much less personal possession of motor vehicles. I was overly optimistic in places and likely wrong on various points. But I hope I was wrong in thought-provoking ways. I think this is still relevant 8 years later to ideas like Mobility as a Service and initiatives such as the "Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities" and the New Urban Mobility (NUMO) alliance. But you be the judge.


This edition is also a tribute to Chris Bradshaw.  Chris Bradshaw was the person who asked me to write the essay on ending mass car ownership. It was for a journal special edition he was editing whi…