Straphanger, by Taras Grescoe

February 21, 2013

Taras Grescoe is not hesitant to use a car occasionally, but he’d rather be on a train, bicycle or just on foot. His passion for these modes of travel has taken him to cities around the world, where he investigates public transportation. Although in the past public transportation has been scorned as necessary only for those who are too poor to own a car, it is fast becoming the preferred alternative in U.S. urban areas. A revolution is happening, says Grescoe, in cities like New York, Montreal, Tokyo, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon. Residents of these cities are incorporating public transportation into their lives. Instead of opting for suburbs and a tedious commute, young adults and families are building lives near subways, trains and even streetcar networks—and discovering the joys of being close to parks, cultural and sporting activities, and shopping centers.