This post, on applying Maslow's hierarchy to transit, appears to have attracted a fair bit of attention. Jarrett did two pieces based on it, Cap'n Transit did an extensive five part magnum opus on the subject, and many of the other usual suspects have chimed in as well. There are few points I think are worth emphasizing.
Trips, habits, and investments.
The good Cap'n, in particular, breaks up the mode choice factors into four clusters (Availability, Value, Amenities, and Glamour), and mode choices themselves into three types: single Trips, Habits, and Investments.
The mode choice for single Trips may be made for any number of reasons--curiosity, for expedience to a particular destination, to impress someone (such as a date), etc. However, a mode choice that proves itself to be useful for large numbers of trips becomes a Habit, and when one orientates ones lifestyle around a particular mode choice, including spending money on it, it becomes an Investment. Buying a car or a long-term transit pass, or making a choice to live in a place because of it's proximity to a particular piece of transport infrastructure (or to a particular destination--I live in Beaverton because that's where my job is, for instance), is evidence of an Investment.
Cap'n Transit goes into detail how this affects funding decisions as well. I encourage you to check out the whole series at his blog.
Time and the luxury of waiting
Jarrett, and several commenters on the the original post at humantransit.org, bring up another important point: As you move up Maslow's pyramid (here talking about Maslow's original work, not organizations of transit-specific values), you are frequently dealing with longer time scales for realization of needs. And that significantly affects people's perceptions. One commenter, Adrian, writes:
Why is this important? Because with the current budget crisis affecting transit agencies around the country, the needs of the future are running headlong into the needs of the present--which was part of the point of FTA chair Peter Rogoff's controversial remarks a few weeks back. And this conflict is at the heart of a burgeoning debate on TriMet's Milwaukie MAX project--wherein many local transit advocates are starting to suggest that the project be postponed (or canceled altogether) until TriMet's operational finances are in better shape. The June open thread at portlandtransport.com has largely been taken over by this debate (though many of the participants there are libertarians who would scratch the project in any case). Whether or not delaying the Milwaukie Line would help TriMet plug its operational hole is an interesting question--certainly, eliminating the debt service on the $39 million construction bond backed by TriMet's payroll tax would help; but it's unclear how fungible the rest of the project's funding sources are. (It's also unclear if the project could be delayed and restarted in the future without either incurring a significant financial penalty, or losing out on outside funding and not getting it back).
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