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City of Phoenix, Arizona Fills Its Sprawling Streets wit...

City of Phoenix, Arizona Fills Its Sprawling Streets with Bus Transit

Phoenix, Arizona is extremely auto-dependent, in part because of its low-density urban design and its vast road networks. The city must realize that light-rail will not serve all of the neighborhoods in greatest need of affordable public transportation, but rather, it must increase bus facilities in the metro area. Currently there is a bus station for

by James Gardner February 14, 2013 No comments

Phoenix Bus Lines courtesy of valleymetro.org

Phoenix, Arizona is extremely auto-dependent, in part because of its low-density urban design and its vast road networks. The city must realize that light-rail will not serve all of the neighborhoods in greatest need of affordable public transportation, but rather, it must increase bus facilities in the metro area. Currently there is a bus station for every 344 Phoenix residents; and because this system is laid out on a grid system, it is never too far to walk to a station.

Although Phoenix’s bus system covers a large percentage of the city’s massive land area, the buses do not arrive at stops very often, meaning that riders are often forced to wait. Buses arrive every 15 minutes on heavily-used bus routes, and only once every hour on lesser-used ones. They have tried to combat this problem with an online schedule system called NextRide that tells passengers when the next bus or light-rail will arrive, but this is only helpful to the people who are well off enough to have a smartphone or mobile Internet device.

DASH Bus Downtown,  Photo by James Gardner

Transit services are also laid on in something called the Transit Book, which used to be called the Bus Book until the light-rail was installed. Using clever brochure design, they have laid out the bus routes, the schedule, fare locations, and more all in one book, which many riders carry with them.

The bus transit system in Phoenix can be improved in many ways. What are some of the ways that your city has implemented good bus service?

Credits: Photographs by James Gardner. Data linked to sources.

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James is a graduate student in Urban and Environmental Planning at Arizona State University. Growing up in a small, sprawling town in Arizona, James became attracted to the field of planning and design by taking a critical look at his surroundings, a...

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