Also: California’s housing hell, and the case for D.C.’s flat skyline.
What We’re Following
Round and round: As traffic congestion gets worse in cities around the U.S., shiny solutions abound, from light rail to gondolas to autonomous vehicles. But there’s already a cheaper, more flexible option that doesn’t get the love it deserves: the bus.
Now arriving: our Bus to the Future series. Though there’s a nationwide downturn in bus ridership, the basic model—a big container of people moving along a set route—has never stopped working. And cities are tinkering with new tools, from road-space policy to new-age technology, to make riding the bus better. Introducing the series, CityLab’s Laura Bliss writes that this underdog of transit needs a lot of love—but it’s also never held more heroic potential.
- First stop: TransitCenter’s Zak Accuardi tackles why bus ridership is in freefall nationwide—and why it’s not a death spiral, yet.
More on CityLab
The United States’s incarceration rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1996—with a nationwide rate of 860 prison or jail inmates for every 100,000 adults, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. That number was once as low as 310 inmates per 100,000 people, in 1980, before a sharp rise peaked with 1,000 inmates per 100,000 from 2006 to 2008. The map above from the Pew Research Center shows how the U.S. incarceration rate (notoriously the highest in the world) compares to other countries based on a slightly different measure, from the World Prison Brief, which includes inmates of all ages.
ICYMI on CityLab: Is America ready to rethink incarceration?
What We’re Reading
How Republicans are undermining the 2020 census, explained in a cartoon (Vox)
Is there a chance for another Nashville transit plan? (Next City)
New York’s ferry plan will be delightful. It’s also a mistake (New York)
A handy guide to the 2018 primary season—including deadlines for voter registration, early voting, and mail-in ballots (Politico)