Editor's Notebook: The big stories of 2023

Dec. 19, 2023
A year-end look at the top stories that grabbed the attention of readers.

I’ve been a transportation journalist for more than two decades and one practice I have done at the end of each year is look back at all the stories produced to see what themes or other common threads can be spotted. The value of time and hindsight can help shape a clear picture that may not have been obvious when these stories were first published.

The transit industry is one of connections – both geographic and personal. It is no surprise that our 40 Under 40 content package captures readers’ attention year after year. The day we release the 40 Under 40 list, our web traffic and social media engagement spikes. This consistent interest in the program tells us the industry is curious about who the up and coming thought leaders are and what their ideas could mean for the future of transit.

While personnel announcements rarely break into the top 100 articles of the year, the social media engagement these People on the Move updates bring to Mass Transit’s LinkedIn page is impressive. This tells us we are also an industry of supporters and cheerleaders and that should be celebrated. 

Another theme that has continued in 2023 was the interest in rail articles. Rail line openings, including Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Regional Connector, Honolulu’s Skyline and Brightline’s extension to Orlando all landed in the top articles of the year. Big rail car orders were also high on the list, which we believe is linked to the Federal Transit Administration awarding the first round of grants through its Rail Vehicle Replacement Program in 2023. The program supports projects to replace aging vehicles on subway systems, commuter rail and light-rail systems.

On the bus side of the industry, stories highlighting facility upgrades were popular, such as Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s groundbreaking for its new Bladensburg Garage and the awarding of a contract by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the design of the Jamaica Bus Depot and parking lot in the New York City borough of Queens. Additional bus related stories to pique readers’ attention include the growing interest in minibuses as supply chain issues persist and Toronto Transit Commission and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113 working together to unveil their bus-of-the-future design concepts to improve security for bus operators.

Stories covering changes in businesses that support the transit industry also became top news. Proterra’s declaration of bankruptcy and the subsequent selling of its three divisions, Transdev’s acquisition of First Transit and Nova Bus’s planned exit from the U.S. market all were among the top 100 stories. 

As we prepare to move into 2024, thank you from the Mass Transit team for allowing us into your inbox every day and your mailbox periodically throughout the year. It is our pleasure to report on this industry and we wish you continued success in the new year. 

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.