pile of books with spins facing camera


Books to read to change the way you think about public transit

Date: September 14th 2023 | Author: Melanie Haynes

As the nights start to draw in, step away from your phone, open a book and question more about how we can change the world around us for the better and not stick to business as usual.

In recent years, there have been a number of books about reclaiming streets from cars and how we can rethink cities to make them more people-friendly. A common factor in all these is the importance of public transport and access to safe spaces for pedestrians and cyclists.

To help you along in your book choice, here are our eight suggestions:

Feminist City by Leslie Kern. Kern is an Associate Professor of Geography and Environment at Mount Allison University. Whilst this book is wide-reaching in its approach, the importance of safe and accessible public transport for women is threaded throughout it.

New Mobilities by Todd Litman is a more academic book which explores twelve emerging transportation modes and services which will significantly impact our lives, from bike sharing and microtransit to air taxis and telework.

Curbing Traffic: The Human Case for Fewer Cars in our Lives by Melissa Bruntlett and Christ Bruntlett is a must-read to understand the broader impact of cars on all sections of the community. The authors also have a YouTube channel that is well worth watching.

Mobility Justice: The Politics of Movement in an Age of Extremes by Prof. Mimi Sheller looks at power and inequality and the experience of the extreme challenges of urbanisation—another book where access to public transport and its role in society is examined throughout the book.

The Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation by Paris Marx. Like Prof. Sheller’s book, this one also covers inequality and who should really be considered in organising transport systems.

Movement: how to Take Back Our Streets and Transform Our Lives by journalist Thalia Verkade and academic Marco te Brömmelstroet pose the questions – “who do our streets belong to, what do we want to use them for, and who gets to decide?” This book delves into the real stories of how our streets are and could be.

To understand how our current transportation forms impact the climate crisis, an essential read is The Climate Book, created by Greta Thunberg. This huge book covers all aspects of the climate crisis and is a series of essays written by experts in their fields. The essay ‘Is the future electric?” by Jillian Anable and Christian Brand is one to read.

Finally, and not directly related to public transit, is a book published in Denmark eight years ago but still relevant called Designing our Cities with Young People. Young people critically look at the world, and they are the ones who will inherit both our good and bad decisions. We should hear what they have to say.