On Our Line: The Rail and Transport Podcast

In-depth interviews and analysis of the engineering, politics and history of rail and transport systems across the UK and the world. Presented by Nicole Badstuber and John Bull from London Reconnections, each episode focuses on a single transport topic and features experts drawn from across the industry, academic and political spectrum.
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Apr 24, 2017

London Reconnections continues its New York podcast series with an episode exploring New York’s buses: the challenges, stepping stone successes and further ideas for improvement.

London and New York are both facing declining bus travel speeds, reliability and bus usage. In this episode we explore the challenges to providing high-quality bus services as well as what improvements can be made, such a rationalising the bus routes, improving boarding and alighting and the modernising ticketing that could reverse the decline of the bus network. Join us to find out more about the lessons learnt from the introduction of the express bus routes, Select Bus Service (SBS), in New York and what ideas proven in other cities could transform the bus service and the perception of this backbone of the city’s transport network.

Nicole talks to Jon Orcutt, Communications & Advocacy Director at transport foundation TransitCenter, and Stephanie Veras, Community Organizer at the public transport riders advocacy group Riders Alliance.

Jon Orcutt is Communications and Advocacy Director at the urban mobility foundation TransitCenter. He has nearly 30 years of experience in sustainable transport advocacy and project implementation. Before joining TransitCenter, Jon supported governments and other institutions developing transport strategies and sustainable transport projects. Jon was Director of Policy for the New York City Department for Transportation from 2007 to 2014. Jon is leading TransitCenter’s efforts to improve the bus services in New York. TransitCenter‘s report Turnaround: Fixing New York City’s Buses outlines the declining performance and ridership of the busiest bus network in the US. It also sets out a number of recommendations to improve the New York bus network with interventions proven to be successful in other cities.

Stephanie Veras is Community Organizer at the Riders Alliance. She is heading the Bus Turnaround Campaign at the Riders Alliance. The campaign is a collaborative effort between Riders Alliance, TransitCenter, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign with the objective of turning around the slow and unreliable bus service in New York. Prior to taking up the role as Community Organizer at Riders Alliance, Stephanie worked closely with District leader and staff in the community of Washington Heights and Inwood to engage community members in participatory budgeting. She has also rallied support for bus improvements in her community. She is a recent graduate in communications from the City College of New York.

For more frequent updates on the topic you can follow our guests and their organisations on twitter at from @TransitCenter and @RidersNY. Find out more about the state of New York’s bus network and the Bus Turnaround Campaign in the Turnaround: Fixing New York City’s Buses report and its complementary website BusTurnaround.NYC.


Feb 27, 2017

London Reconnections continues its New York podcast series with an episode looking at the challenges and changes brought about by emerging urban mobility providers.

Zak Accuardi is a program analyst atTransitCenter, a foundation focusing on data and technology research projects. He is the lead researcher and a co-author of the report Private Mobility – Public Interest which builds on over one hundred interviews with representatives from the public and private sectors across the United States. It discusses how emerging mobility services such as bike-share, car-share, and on-demand transit might be harnessed or integrated into a city’s transport network. One clear finding of the report is that the research did not support the superficial narrative that emerging mobility providers are set to replace fixed route public transport services.

Greg Lindsay is a Senior Fellow at the New Cities Foundation. He is the author of Now Arriving: A Connected Mobility Roadmap for Public Transport which investigates the challenge presented to cities by on-demand mobility providers harnessing the ability to locate, coordinate and orchestrate passengers and vehicles via individual’s smart phones. The report builds on mobility research on four case study cities: Washington DC, London, Sao Paulo and Manila. The report offers transport authorities recommendations on how to halt the downward spiral of shrinking budgets and declining ridership as the popularity of on-demand mobility providers grows.  

We talk about how cities might react and how regulation might evolve to embrace the new mobility options. How are these new actors disrupting transport provision in cities? What can cities do in the short, medium and long term to avoid transport inequality and ensure good mobility for all? Can cities stand their ground against powerful private mobility providers?

For more frequent updates on the topic you can follow our guests and their organisations on twitter at @zaccuradi from @TransitCenter and @Greg_Lindsay from @NewCitiesFoundation.

Jan 30, 2017

After an extended Winter break, London Reconnections continues its New York podcast series with an episode on cycling in New York.

Doug Gordon is the author of the Brooklyn Spoke, which focuses on bike advocacy and safe streets. He’s also a TV producer and writer with credits for National Geographic TV, ABC, Discovery, PBS, and the Travel Channel.

Julia Kite is the Policy and Research Manager for Transportation Alternatives (TransAlt), New York City’s advocates for walking, biking, and using public transportation. As part of TransAlt’s mission to reclaim streets from motor vehicles for all New Yorkers and to advocate for initiatives that bring the city closer to achieving Vision Zero, she guides the organization’s evidence-based policy initiatives and undertakes research on topics including safe street redesign, cycling expansion, and transportation equity.

Doug and Julia give us an introduction to cycling in New York. The discussion covers evolution of cycling, its infrastructure provision and public policy, as well as the culture and media narratives.

For more frequent updates on the topic you can follow our guests on twitter at @BrooklynSpoke and @juliakite.