Transit’s Need for Speed

Public transit agencies need faster transit

Speed is frequency’s best friend

The “Frequency is Freedom” gospel promoted by Jarrett Walker has quickly spread through the entire public transit industry. His gospel preaches the importance of providing frequent service as a means of “liberating” passengers. Hallelujah.

Frequent transit service reduces wait time, makes transferring easier, and hides reliability problems. More so, the frequency narrative competes with the popular notion that cars are the only mode of freedom. Preaching freedom is much more effective than selling transit on the merits of efficiency, or equity.

I believe in the “Frequency is Freedom” notion, but frequency alone does not make a great transit system. Frequency needs to be accompanied by speed. Speed is the catalyst for achieving frequency.

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