Christof Spieler

"Trains, Buses, People" — Christof Spieler, vice president and director of planning at Huitt-Zollars and a senior lecturer at Rice University, will discuss and sign his new book “Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit.”

Christof Spieler will be in conversation with Kinder Institute director of strategic partnerships Kyle Shelton. Brazos Bookstore will be selling copies of the book on-site.

About the Book

In the U.S., the 25 largest metropolitan areas and many smaller cities have rail or bus rapid transit. Nearly all are talking about expanding, yet discussions about transit are still remarkably unsophisticated. To build good transit, the discussion needs to focus on what matters — quality of service (not the technology that delivers it), all kinds of transit riders, the role of buildings, streets and sidewalks, and, above all, getting transit in the right places.

Christof Spieler has spent over a decade advocating for transit as a writer, community leader, urban planner, transit board member and enthusiast. In “Trains, Buses, People: An Opinionated Atlas of US Transit,” Spieler profiles the 47 metropolitan areas in the U.S. that have rail transit or BRT, using data, photos and maps for easy comparison. He offers an analysis of how geography, politics and history complicate transit planning, and shows how the unique circumstances of every city have resulted in very different transit systems.

About Christof Spieler

Christof Spieler is a vice president and director of planning at Huitt-Zollars and a senior lecturer at Rice University. He served as a member of the board of directors of Houston's Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County from 2010 to 2018. As the chair of METRO's Strategic Planning committee, he initiated the Transit System Reimagining process, a blank sheet re-design of the entire bus system. Since his appointment to the board in 2010, METRO has successfully obtained $900 million in federal funding for light rail, increased transparency, put Houston on firm financial footing and initiated a new BRT project in a major job center. Spieler was reappointed in 2016.

At Huitt-Zollars, he has done land use and transportation plans in a variety of settings, including a mixed-use district plan in Downtown Houston, citywide land use policy in Sugar Land, TX, a multimodal medical center access plan in El Paso, a transit-oriented development master plan in Seattle, a Livable Centers Plan in Rosenberg, a new bike plan for Houston and transit planning in St. Paul. His recent work includes park planning for the Houston Parks Board and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership and project management of a consortium of researchers addressing flooding in Houston. Spieler has written and spoken extensively on transit and urban planning. He teaches courses in architecture and civil engineering at Rice University. As a member of the American Public Transit Association's Sustainability and Urban Design Working Group, he has helped draft national standards on transit and urban design. He is also a contributor to the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ “Transit Street Design Guide” and a board member at TransitCenter in New York. Spieler holds a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science in civil engineering from Rice University. He relies on transit and walking for most of his daily trips in Houston.