1. LRT(Tram) Patronage in Europe has been increasing while bus ridership falls.
This is interesting to me because unlike the United States, Europe has kept a good amount of its tram systems. In many large cities, they are still networked to go a lot of places.
According to Jeff, in Europe, over a period of 10 years, Light Rail Transit (LRT) patronage rose 20.3% while bus patronage fell 5.6%. His implication is that people, the masses, simply and unequivocally prefer rail over bus. And surprisingly, it’s actually what are commonly considered the disadvantages of rail that turn out to be it’s advantages over bus transit in encouraging use. The high cost and inflexibility of rail creates a permanence that people prefer over the impermanent and unreliable nature of bus transit.2. Rail Focuses Development, Buses Follow it
Another polished gem Jeff provided us with was the idea that rail systems “focus” a city and development while bus systems simply “follow” development. So buses, because of their impermanence and reliance on auto roads, must heed to the “predict and provide” game and attempt to follow wherever development may randomly occur. Rail on the other hand spurs and centralizes development, creating a sense of permanence not found in no rail cities. Rail and streets renaissances go hand in hand.I've said this a few times before. Rail has the power if harnessed to focus development unlike buses that just respond to it. But it's not going to just happen. There need to be plans and policies in place to do it right. In the comments below Fred's post, a discussion started on San Jose. This is the perfect example of just saying that light rail is going to do all the work. I posted a while ago on employment sprawl. Well here again is an aerial of San Jose's system by all the tech jobs, something to not emulate.
Here is the Pearl District, which used to be a rail yard and was helped by the plans and policies of the PDC and the streetcar
Update: ABC in the comments asked that we use a more suburban area to show what's possible instead of an urban area. In the situation like San Jose above with 3 -5 story office buildings I think it's perfectly ok to expect a street grid like the Pearl Districts, there was a thought that it was the Pearl was predestined to turn out that way. Before the development agreement it was supposed to be tops 15 units an acre and the developer had thought about doing townhomes. Here is what it looked like in 1996.
But as suburban examples go, here is another from Portland with single family homes in a grid South of Orenco Station.
Downtown Plano trying to reintroduce Urbanism
And a Heavy Rail Subway example, Rosslyn Ballston on the Metro Orange Line. I've discussed this before but this used to be a strip suburban corridor. These things take time, this has been over 30 years.