Thank you for this interesting article and topic! Definitely we need fast and innovative proposals related with urban public transportation. Especially, designers and planners should be open to new proposals that could contribute to spare time and money for the future cities. But we should also keep in mind that cities interact with citizens all the time as a whole system. It is not so easy to make empirical experiments that could collapse the daily activities and create more problems that usually we have.
I agree with the "leaner" transportation planning as a complent to the research and design tools to propose new and innovative ideas. The research and knowleddge have to go outside classrooms of universities and be part of the daily work of urban planners. The idea of going directly to the practice is fine, but there should be an equilibrium because is not the only way to validate empirical research to a realistic and integral technical proposal.
I hope to hear more opinions about this interesting topic from the other friends. I would like to propose a question: Do you think that "leaner" transportation planning could be developed in your cities? What about the largest cities of the developed and developing world? Do we have the time and the resources to include it on our daily activities as citizens and planners?
Great insights, and a wise stance on the issues. You're definitely correct; poorly planned or clumsy experiments have the potential to create even bigger problems than the very problems that experiment hopes to address. Consider, for example, if an experiment in pedestrian flow similar to the one detailed in the article at the Vancouver bus stop was tried in a much larger transit hub - e.g., Tokyo's Shinjuku Station or Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus - but failed drastically. In such crowded places, such experimenting could be a safety issue. Is the issue, then, one of careful, logical experiment design, or do you think this "lean" transportation planning model would only be applicable in smaller venues?
Continuing with this train of thought, and also in answer to your question, I believe this model of transport planning would be well-suited to my home city of Minneapolis, USA. A fairly small city with a burgeoning sense of urbanism and strong civic pride, I think the citizens would react well to some of the methods listed in the article. In particular, I think some of the most promising applications of this model are in crowdsourcing input and feedback for planning decisions - sort of like a virtual town hall meeting. Whether completely virtual or using something akin to the "pop-up workshops" shown in the article, I'd expect these methods of soliciting public input to become the norm.
I'd like to ask the same question as you to the rest of the community: do you think "lean transportation planning" would be valid in the megacities of the developing world?