I have argued for a long time that the shift of city transit departments from buses to a love affair with light rail has been a disaster. Rail is so much more expensive per passenger mile, and so inflexible, that it generally forces a shrinkage in the total number of riders at the same time that budgets explode (example article here).
There are a lot of explanations for this phenomenon. Part of it is incentives - heads of agencies with rail get paid more than bus-only agencies, and unions love the higher-paying rail jobs that never go away (part of the flexibility issues with rail). Part of the explanation is cultural - rail is now hip and edgy and allegedly green and modern. Buses are so last century.
And part of it is social/racial. White upper middle class yuppies wouldn't be caught dead on buses. They like trains better, particularly when they are successful in running rail routes through middle class commuting routes. If the cost of this forces cut backs on buses that run where the poor need to go, oh well.
So, I ask you, what city in America is most famous as a model for urban planning and light rail? Portland. So it is interesting to see what effect this planning and transit strategy has had on the population. I have already written here before that Portland bus service has been gutted in favor of rail, such that total ridership in the city has dropped despite spending a lot more transit dollars. These maps from the Portland Oregonian show another effect -- shifting transit dollars to modes favored by rich white people has... caused Portland to be increasingly white. What a surprise. Via the anti-Planner