Better Buses, Better Cities (Paperback)

How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit

By Steven Higashide

Island Press, 9781642830149, 184pp.

Publication Date: October 10, 2019

List Price: 25.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"Better Buses, Better Cities is likely the best book ever written on improving bus service in the United States." — Randy Shaw, Beyond Chron
"The ultimate roadmap for how to make the bus great again in your city." — Spacing

Imagine a bus system that is fast, frequent, and reliable—what would that change about your city?

Buses can and should be the cornerstone of urban transportation. They offer affordable mobility and can connect citizens with every aspect of their lives. But in the US, they have long been an afterthought in budgeting and planning. With a compelling narrative and actionable steps, Better Buses, Better Cities inspires us to fix the bus.

Transit expert Steven Higashide shows us what a successful bus system looks like with real-world stories of reform—such as Houston redrawing its bus network overnight, Boston making room on its streets to put buses first, and Indianapolis winning better bus service on Election Day. Higashide shows how to marshal the public in support of better buses and how new technologies can keep buses on time and make complex transit systems understandable.

Higashide argues that better bus systems will create better cities for all citizens. The consequences of subpar transit service fall most heavily on vulnerable members of society. Transit systems should be planned to be inclusive and provide better service for all. These are difficult tasks that require institutional culture shifts; doing all of them requires resilient organizations and transformational leadership.

Better bus service is key to making our cities better for all citizens. Better Buses, Better Cities describes how decision-makers, philanthropists, activists, and public agency leaders can work together to make the bus a win in any city.

About the Author

Steven Higashide is one of America’s leading experts on public transportation and the people who use it. As director of research for the national foundation TransitCenter, Higashide has authored groundbreaking reports that have redefined how decision makers and journalists understand transit. He has taken the bus in 28 cities around the U.S. and the world.

Praise For Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit

"Better Buses, Better Cities makes a convincing for cities to prioritize improved bus service... Higashide shows transit advocates what works in other cities, enabling them to 'learn from the triumphs and pitfalls of others.' [It] is likely the best book ever written on improving bus service in the United States."

— Randy Shaw

"Steven Higashide’s new book Better Buses, Better Cities is a superb how-to manual for urban activists and urban policy-makers."

— Resilience

"Better Buses, Better Cities: How to Plan, Run and Win the Fight for Effective Transit is the ultimate roadmap for how to make the bus great again in your city. Part technical backgrounder, part political field manual, Steven Higashide is a seasoned transit reformer and advocate who provides cautionary tales but also the inspiration for making cities better places to live....With its many success stories, practical tips and tools, it’s a call to action for improving a city’s bus service."

— Spacing Vancouver

“Higashide shows how to roll out a new road order for streets by unleashing the power of effective bus networks and unleashing the full potential of cities.” 

— Janette Sadik-Khan, Bloomberg Associates, former NYC Transportation Commissioner

“This book is a must-read for anybody who cares about cities and transit. Higashide helps us see how to get more out of buses, a maligned but crucial part of our transit systems.” 

— Lisa Ann Schweitzer, Professor, USC Sol Price School of Public Policy