Perspective

Black Businesses Left Behind in Covid-19 Relief

The latest U.S. coronavirus aid package promises a partial and uneven economic recovery that leaves behind the African American community.

photo: A coronavirus testing site in New Jersey

The NIMBYs of the Coronavirus Crisis

Why would residents block a Covid-19 testing site? For the same reason many oppose other forms of neighborhood change: a desire to shift the burden elsewhere.

photo: a bicycle rider wearing a mask in London

In a Global Health Emergency, the Bicycle Shines

As the coronavirus crisis forces changes in transportation, some cities are building bike lanes and protecting cycling shops. Here’s why that makes sense.

photo: a bus shelter in San Francisco during the Covid-19 pandemic

In Coronavirus, the U.S. Faces a Problem It Can’t Fix by Segregation

For decades, the U.S. has used spatial barricades to isolate advantaged people from serious social ills. To defeat Covid-19, that won’t work.

photo: A bus driver in Ohio wears a protective mask as a passenger boards on March 17.

Is Free Transit Safer? As Ridership Drops, Some Agencies Cut Fares.

In Ohio and elsewhere, buses are going fare-free as the Covid-19 crisis spreads. Here’s why that can make both riders and drivers safer.

photo: a bike rider boards a Caltrain train in 2009.

It's Time for Some Cheap and Boring Transportation Solutions

City leaders: Before buying a hyperloop, maybe fix your sidewalk?

photo: e-scooter riders in San Francisco

Injured on an E-Scooter? A ‘Mobility Claims Board’ Can Help

If you get hurt riding a dockless electric scooter, you have few legal protections, thanks to company liability agreements. A “Mobility Claims Board” could help.

photo: an e-scooter in a park

The Local Regulations That Can Kill E-Scooters

In less-dense cities and suburban areas, e-scooter companies have a harder time profiting from dockless vehicles. Local leaders should regulate accordingly.

photo: The demolition by implosion of Lafayette Courts

The Legacy of a Landmark Case for Housing Mobility

In 1995, the ACLU sued HUD on behalf of public housing tenants in Baltimore. The question Thompson v. HUD addressed remains urgent: Who gets to live where?

photo: Dolphin Stadium in Miami in 2008

Hate Stadium Parking and Game-Day Traffic? An Idea.

What if every seat at major sporting events came with free bus, train, and subway tickets? It’s called “transit validation,” and it can reduce traffic, pollution, and costs.

Urban Tech Leaders Need Some Basic City Literacy

A growing number of startups are pitching technologies to “solve” urban problems. So it matters when they can’t even name their own local representatives.

A man holds a sign reading: We are fighting for our rights, Uber and Lyft"

How Ride-Hail Companies Can Help, Not Hurt, Cities

A veteran of municipal transportation regulation advises ride-hail companies on how to make cities into friends, not foes.

photo: an Uber driver.

Did Uber Just Enable Discrimination by Destination?

In California, the ride-hailing company is changing a policy used as a safeguard against driver discrimination against low-income and minority riders.

Why Car-Free Streets Will Soon Be the Norm

In cities like New York, Paris, Rotterdam, and soon San Francisco, car-free streets are emerging amid a growing movement.

Why Smaller Cities Are Expanding Their Jails, and Their Populations

While many cities are using incarceration alternatives, some smaller cities and rural areas are building—and filling—costly new jails, new research shows.  

Why We Should Stop Conflating Cities With Innovation and Creativity

The language we use to discuss innovation and creativity has such a pro-urban bias that we’ve forgotten these qualities flourish outside of cities, too.

This Thanksgiving, Give Thanks for Public Transit

“Hell is other people,” Sartre wrote, and public transit serves them up aplenty, but chance encounters with unfamiliar folk are the joy of cities. Be thankful.

photo: A Starship Technologies commercial delivery robot navigates a sidewalk.

My Fight With a Sidewalk Robot

A life-threatening encounter with AI technology convinced me that the needs of people with disabilities need to be engineered into our autonomous future.

a bike rider and bus riders in Seattle.

There’s No App for Getting People Out of Their Cars

“Mobility as a Service” boosters say that technology can nudge drivers to adopt transit and micromobility. But big mode shifts will take more than a cool app.  

People in the park at night in front of water

Nairobi Should Rethink Its Colonialist Approach to Urban Design

The road being built in Nairobi is for the rich. Even if it will no longer traverse the city’s major park, it’s not the future-thinking urban design that Kenya needs.