One thing I think that Canberra really lacks is a light rail system. My travels over the last few years have made me realize that one of the things that makes a city a great place to live is a good light rail system. The first one of these systems that I saw was in Washington DC / Virginia, and it was great — clean, fast, on time, cheap, and it went everywhere I wanted to go. San Francisco’s BART is similar, except that it’s a little too slow because it has to travel a lot further.
London’s tube is a contender as well, although I would argue there that it’s too expensive (everything in London is too expensive), and is dirty. Oh, and there is something disheartening about dudes with bombs trying to make you enjoy the train ride less.
The Silicon Valley VTA system is great too. My ride to the MySQL User’s Conference made me write this post, I hadn’t used the train system really until then. I’d caught the Caltrain to SFO once, but the Caltrain isn’t really light rail in my mind, and is nowhere near as nice as the VTA light rail. The ride to the conference to my place costs $1.75 (in fact, unlimited rides for two hours is $1.75), my kids travel for free, and the train trip is on a single line and takes 25 minutes for something which would take me about 30 minutes to drive if I included finding parking at both ends.
VTA, don’t go changing. You rock.