RT2 – James Reynolds – Legitimising Transit Priority

RT2 – James Reynolds – Legitimising Transit Priority

Researching Transit – Episode 2

Published: April 2020

Keywords: public transport, transit, public policy, transit priority, legitimacy, incrementalism, bus transit, Curitiba, Melbourne

Transit priority is controversial and its potential to unclog congested roads often goes overlooked. How can cities gain support for implementing priority measures aimed at improving the operation of transit and the efficiency of the road network?

In this episode of Researching Transit, James Reynolds of Monash University’s Public Transport Research Group explains the notion of incrementalism in the context of transport planning. Mixing engineering with public policy has allowed James to recognise that technical solutions without political will are destined to languish.

“It’s not just the amount of [transit] priority that matters, but the legitimacy, and how much is legitimate”.

James offers three main approaches – and some pragmatic strategies – to achieve legitimacy in transit priority. Drawing on case studies from Toronto, Melbourne and Curitiba, James explains how transport planners are already achieving success by using these pragmatic strategies to implement transit priority, and that the missing element has largely been a lack of links to public policy analysis and legitimacy theory, which provide the formal language and understanding to describe these types of approaches in transport planning.

For more on transit priority and related public policy research, James recommends:

  • Marsden and Reardon (2017) Questions of governance: rethinking the study of transportation policy, discussion to much techno-rationalism, and a lack of engagement with social sciences and politics, in transport research;
  • Lindblom (1959) The science of “muddling through”, on incrementalism
  • Lindblom (1979) Still muddling, not yet through, refining incrementalism into three types
  • Reynolds et al. (2017) Moving beyond techno-rationalism: new models of transit priority implementation, applying public policy analysis to transit priority
  • Reynolds et al. (2018) Top-down versus bottom-up perspectives on streetcar priority, comparing the effectiveness of different policy implementation approaches in Melbourne

Videos of presentations about the research:

  • PTRG Transport Research Series: on pragmatic strategies for practitioners.
  • PhD project final review seminar: on three main approaches: (1) building legitimacy before implementation; (2) avoiding impacts on other road users; and (3) building legitimacy through implementation; and eight pragmatic strategies
  • Learn more about the three different roles for public transport in a city’s transport policy of:
  1. providing for social transport needs,
  2. peak-period congestion relief, and/or
  3. as a replacement for the car; in a chapter by Professor Graham Currie (2016) in Handbook on transport and urban planning in the developed world.

Researching Transit is brought to you by the Public Transport Research Group, part of the Institute of Transport Studies in the Monash University Department of Civil Engineering.

Theme music for this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com

  • Date April 12, 2020
  • Tags Australasia, Bus, Bus Rapid Transit, Bus/Tram Priority, James Reynolds, Melbourne, Planning, Planning, Podcast, Right Of Way, South America, Tram/Light Rail