I'm always fascinated by the history and design of cities, but years ago as I began to dabble in Twitter, I couldn't believe the incredible number of people who dedicate their life and study to subjects like infrastructure, urban planning and public transportation. Those topics inspire a level of passion I was unaware of.

But I kind of get it. I happen to be one of those people who actually loves the New York City subway. It's got plenty of flaws, but it's also a bit of a marvel of urban movement and unmatched when it comes to people-watching. Unfortunately, as remote work meets high rents and cities suddenly look less desirable, people are questioning whether large-scale public transportation is sustainable in the U.S. especially.

The other side of this is many agencies are deploying innovative plans and even expanding their customer base. This week I'm sharing three stories of recent successful public transportation projects. Each is a bold, intriguing, replicable idea with promising results that go beyond just increasing ridership. They might even be enough to help you fall (back?) in love with the humble bus or misunderstood train. 

Allen Arthur
Curator of The Response

“We’ve seen tremendous response already from a lot of people, many of whom have never ridden public transportation before."

The 9-euro ticket was a success for Germany, research shows. What’s next? - Denis Balgaranov,

Last year, Germany offered residents a month of local and cross-state public transport for just nine euros per month. Designed to combat rising fuel prices, riders flocked to the ticket, drawn by low prices and the freedom from driving. The program ended up replacing 10% of the country's car trips and cutting around 1.8 million tons of CO2 emissions. 

Richmond’s Bus Rapid Transit Has Been A Surprise Success. Other Cities Are Taking Notice. - Nathaniel Cline, Virginia Mercury

More than five million rides have been taken on Richmond, Virginia's Pulse bus system. A rapid transit system covering a 7.6 mile route, the project has been greeted with rave reviews and increasing ridership. Now other cities are exploring similar approaches, lured by the convenience and cost effectiveness of bus lines when compared to building train systems. 


Public transit was free for many Coloradans in August. When fares returned, many riders stayed, data shows. - Olivia Prentzel, Colorado Sun

Colorado offered up $28 million to cover public transit fares in areas with air pollution issues. Now, data shows that the monthlong pilot project led to increased ridership in at least 9 of the 14 areas covered even after the free tickets ended. While the air quality impacts are hard to measure, other potential issues like overcrowding or increased crime never appeared. 

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