Aaron Naparstek

For proof that buses can solve most of our mass-transit problems, look no further than Bogotá.

Is there any less sexy form of transportation than the bus? To the degree that Americans have paid attention to them at all, we have traditionally regarded city buses as a form of third-class transportation, a necessary evil, a kind of welfare on wheels. It's not that we have an innate aversion to mass transit. Consider that in Brooklyn, where I live, we so completely identified with our early-20th-century streetcar system that we named our beloved baseball team the Trolley Dodgers. Then General Motors rolled into town, bought up the trolley lines, ran them into the ground, and replaced them with diesel-belching buses. Suffice it to say that no one ever nicknamed a sports franchise after the local bus system. Even in New York City, where 2.5 million people ride the bus every day, it is a much-unloved form of transportation.And yet, an updated version of America's most boring way to ride may very well be the fastest, cheapest way to solve some of our nation's most pressing problems. You want to reduce traffic congestion, cut carbon emissions, and make America less automobile-dependent? Then it's time to get on the bus.

Keep ReadingShow less