Cities contain the majority of the worlds population and moving that many people is a challenge, to say the least. Each city has its own design and plan for public transportation and some are clearly better than others. Wendover Productions tackles this question and provides some nice insights into what makes a city a good place for public transit. The video ends with a nice snapshot of the kinds of success that public transit can bring to cities. One example is that Portland has seen an estimated 5 billion dollars in development thanks to their streetcar network.
In Toronto there is a crack smoking mayor who believes that streetcars and light rail are an urban blight. The evidence that rail-based transit is an economic boom to cities in North America continues to grow and more cities on the continent are benefiting from political decision (not made while smoking crack). It’s nice to see rail transit making a resurgence in cities that have invested billions into inefficient auto infrastructure.
Within prime walking distance from streetcar stops, commercial permits in neighborhood areas got roughly 20% more frequent for every 100’ closer to stops. Crucially, distance to streetcar stops was a stronger predictor of commercial permit frequency than distance to pre-existing commercial areas. Residential permits were more common overall, but declined in frequency near stops, in almost a mirror image of the trend found for commercial permits.