sorting out rail-bus differences

Jarrett Walker writes in the Human Transit blog about: sorting out rail-bus differences

Claims for the intrinsic superiority of rail over buses often arise from people’s actual experience of using the rail and bus systems in a particular city. In these situations, you’re not comparing the intrinsic benefits of rail technology with the intrinsic features of bus technology. You’re comparing a particular rail system against a particular bus system. Obviously, those two systems are different for many reasons other than the rail-bus difference. But it’s easy to assume that the rail-bus difference necessarily implies all the differences that you experience between your own rail and bus options where you live.
In 2009, the popular American weblog the Infrastructurist asked its readers whether streetcars are better than buses, and why. Readers came up with 36 reasons, which formed a good summary of popular perceptions about the rail-bus distinction.
Of the 36 reasons, only six refer to an intrinsic difference between bus and rail technologies. All the others fall into two categories, which I’ll call misidentified differences and cultural feedback effects.

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