red and white bus with "Out of Service" sign

Moving Away From Public Transit’s Commuter Focus

Brian Taylor, director of the UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies, spoke to the Canadian Press about Ottawa’s transit system, once a model of innovation but now facing low ridership and budget woes. Taylor, a professor of urban planning and public policy at UCLA Luskin, recalled attending a lecture about Ottawa’s transit success when he was a student in the 1980s. “Ottawa and Adelaide, Australia, were sort of the poster children for looking at a more cost-effective way to provide the metro-like service, but with less expensive buses,” he said. For decades, many people worked and studied in a concentrated area in downtown Ottawa, and the buses ferried riders on a transitway set apart from congested roads. Post-pandemic, transit systems would be wise to cater to communities rather than commuters, Taylor said. “The spatial and temporal characteristics of demand for transit are changing. It’s less downtown-centered, and more sort of moving from place to place,” he said.


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