Photos Capture the Unexpected Beauty of the Daily Commute

Transit networks keep our cities humming. They’re incredibly complex, and often we only notice them when they’re failing.

As our cities expand, transportation networks will adapt with them, to cover more ground and carry more people. Transit stations are being reimagined too; commuters encounter unexpected art spaces, libraries, gardens, and smartphone charging stations. The future of urban transport looks to be more green—many cities are replacing gas-guzzling vehicles with electric buses and cars with bike-sharing networks—and may see a touch of science fiction made real, with advances like Jetsons-style flying cars and the Hyperloop potentially around the corner.

On National Geographic’s Your Shot community, we asked members to show us how they get around their cities. The assignment drew more than 3,000 image submissions. Photographers responded to the hashtag #urbantransit with a range of modes, from ferries and bikes to gondolas, rickshaws, and footprints in snow—and even a tongue-in-cheek bumper car.

To participate in a future assignment, check out Your Shot, where you can share photos and connect with fellow photographers from around the globe.

Picture of subway station in Stockholm

A rainbow stretches across a tunnel in this unlikely art gallery: a subway station in Stockholm, Sweden. About 90 of its 100 stations have art installations. At 110 kilometers in length, the complex is the longest art gallery in the world. Showcasing a range of styles and materials, the art also references social issues, such as women’s rights, the environment, and inclusivity. Photograph by Dominik Gehl, National Geographic Your Shot


Picture of a bus during a London winter evening.

An iconic double-decker bus carries people through London’s streets at night. The city's public transportation system started with horse-drawn omnibuses in 1829 and has since become one of the largest, most efficient networks on the planet. Officials intend to further green the city’s various transit modes, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2020; electric buses, zero-emission taxis, and improved paths for cycling and walking are on the horizon. Photograph by Irfan K., National Geographic Your Shot.


Picture of Waterloo Station, London

A long exposure captures the bustle of central London’s Waterloo Station. When it opened in 1848, the station saw just a handful of trains come and go each day. Now it’s the busiest in the U.K., serving over 100 million passengers a year. Photograph by Raymond Choo, National Geographic Your Shot
Photograph by National Geographic Your Shot