Reece Martin on Canadian transit

On this week’s episode of Free Lunch by The Peak, we sat down with Reese Martin, the creator of the transit-focused newsletter, blog, and YouTube channel RMTransit, to discuss what countries in the world are winning at transit and what Canada can learn from them. 

Why are North American cities so behind when it comes to reliable train travel? 

“European cities, in particular, are just more compact because they were built mostly before cars existed, and it just creates sort of a better market for public transit. Not that there isn't a market in Canada, but it’s a more natural fit when you have these really compact cities.”

Why do transit projects in Canada have a tendency to go off the rails? 

“The issue is the headline thing — you never hear about the projects that don't go badly. There are projects that have have gone alright or, been done on time and under budget, but you will never hear about them because they don't get coverage for being well executed.”

Are there countries similar to Canada that have managed to figure out transit?

“Italy is very good at building infrastructure. Korea is also shockingly good. Chile is another one, especially for subway projects, and for about a tenth of the cost as in Canada. They are so much better than us at building this stuff, and we should be learning from them.”

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Listen to the full conversation here.