Although I use Chicago's CTA public transportation system virtually every day, it never occurred to me that my experience is relatively underrepresented in pop culture. We don't often see fictional characters utilizing public transportation, at least not to the same extent we see them use other modes of travel, like cars and taxis. This fascinating article from Arlington-based public transportation think tank Mobility Lab offers two explanations for why that is. For one thing, showing characters driving a car allows a TV show or movie to utilize product placement; car companies pay big money to have their vehicles featured onscreen. And for another, it’s a lot more logistically difficult to film on public transportation. But as Mobility Lab notes:
Featuring public transportation on TV shows and movies normalizes it. Characters riding public transportation makes transit another setting–a place where life happens. Seeing it on screen makes it easier to envision it in your life.
You can read the full article—which offers some fascinating stats about filming on both the CTA and New York City’s MTA—over on the Mobility Lab website.
[Photo: Jane The Virgin, The CW/Scott Everett White]
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