Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The bus of the future


People tend to forget that one of the reasons that streetcars and other rail transit were replaced by buses is that the existing vehicles were under maintained, not air-conditioned and generally in rough shape. Buses were seen as "young and honest"* and emblematic of a wonderful future. Above is a photo from the LA MTA announcing their new "Dreamliners." The whole set of photos is worth looking at and thinking about in the context of transit plans of today.


Photo from LA County Metro Transportation Authority and Archive

* "Bus Vs. Trolley Car," City Topics, August 1921. (Cited in "The Bus Is Young and Honest": Transportation Politics, Technical Choice, and the Motorization of Manhattan Surface Transit, 1919-1936. Zachary Schrag, Technology and Culture 41.1. p.51-79 (2000))
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