Yearly Archives: 2016


What do “Beg Buttons” really represent?

This post originally appeared on Spur. When I watched the American presidential “debate” last Monday, I was not expecting anything from that spectacle to tie into an article on pedestrian crossings, but here it is. For me, the most poignant thing I heard in that debate was during the discussion on racial issues. Clinton said, […]

Read More


A desire named streetcar

This post originally appeared on Spur. I should start by coming clean: I didn’t come up with that clever title (though I wish I had). It’s from a 1992 paper [PDF] titled A Desire Named Streetcar: Fantasy and Fact in Rail Transit Planning, discussing a topic (US transit grant funding policy) that is only tangential to our discussion […]

Read More


Can roads be over-engineered?

This post originally appeared on Spur. Nobody likes a speeding ticket, but “speed traps” might be an indicator of a larger design problem. I’m sure many Calgarians can identify places in the city where the police like to set up and catch speeders. For me, Memorial Drive Westbound near 14 St. NW (by the CBC building) and John […]

Read More


Calgary’s hidden desire lines

This post originally appeared on Spur. There’s a wonderful urban planning principle that what we build for, we will get. The idea is if we build for cars and traffic, we will get cars and traffic. If we build for people, we will get people. The problem is that it’s sometimes difficult to figure out what exactly “building for people” looks like. […]

Read More


Transit planning with ‘Cities in Motion’

This may not be surprising, but one of my favourite video game series of all time is a public transit simulation game called Cities in Motion. In this game, you are presented with a city that has no form of public transit whatsoever, and you are tasked with constructing a public transit system. You have a choice of […]

Read More


Don’t Be Deceived by Brownian Motion

This post has no direct connection to transportation, however the phenomenon described in this post exist in any large, random system, including transportation. After reading this post, I encourage you to read Jarrett Walker’s post about confusing trendlines, and see if you can spot the Brownian motion argument, approached in a slightly different way. Lately, I’ve […]

Read More