Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cool Map of Intercity Bus Routes (and some thoughts on rural transportation)

Thanks to the American Intercity Bus Riders Association (via Gizmodo) for this excellent, detailed map of all the intercity bus routes (as well as Amtrak) in the country (link here).
One wonders: why have we not seen this before?  And why do we need to depend on a small private group to do this work?  Why hasn’t USDOT done this?
I think the answer probably is that intercity bus is somewhat of a stepchild in the family of transportation modes (although in some corridors it has had a resurgence, led initially by the “Chinatown” buses).
And yet intercity bus fills an important niche.  Although we call it “intercity,” a look at the AIBRA map shows that a major function of the mode is providing a public transportation linkage to metropolitan centers from hundreds of small and medium size towns.  This is not so different from the function of the interurban railways a hundred years ago.

Why is this important for the future?  A robust intercity bus system can help support sustainable development in small cities and small towns beyond the orbit of the big metro areas.

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