A Fact Sheet From the Light Rapid Transit Forum


1 800px-Croydon_Tramlink_Addiscombe_Road

It is interesting to note that TransLink has never claimed any modal shift from car to transit and one would well guess that TransLink’s bureaucrats would be extremely envious of the modal shift numbers published here.

A question for Premier Campbell: “Has the RAV/Canada line taken your predicted 200,000 car trips off the road per day?”

Has anyone actually switched from car to transit because of RAV/Canada line or as predicted, the almost $3 billion metro just given bus riders a more inconvenient, longer and expensive trip?


Transport for London figures show that London’s trams (Croydon Tramlink) only emit 46 per cent of the CO2 per passenger km of a bus and only 85 per cent of that emitted by London Underground operations. The full figures are (CO2 emissions in grams per passenger km in 2005/06) in reverse order: 47 for Croydon Tramlink, 55 for London Underground, 75 for Docklands Light Railway, 103 for Buses, 124 for Buses and 711 for Dial-a-Ride (Fig. 4, p 31, TfL Environmental Report 2006).

DfT figures show that in the last 10 years, the number of passenger journeys made by light rail has increased by 123 per cent from 73 million in 1995-96 to 162 million in 2005-06.

Since NET (Nottingham Express Transit) Line One opened in March 2004, it has achieved over 8.4m passengers in the first year of operation and 9.7m in the second.

Public transport usage in the NET corridor is up by 20% in the peak periods  road congestion has been reduced by as much as 9%.

30% of NET tram passengers have directly transferred from car or use park and ride.

Light rail has a proven ability to attract motorists out of cars – car use has dropped by nearly 19% in Croydon, south London, since the tram scheme began operations in 2000.

Significant modal shift – between 20% and 40% – from the private car has occurred in cities where LRT has been introduced.

22 million car trips a year have been taken off the roads by light rail schemes in the UK.

There has been a 52% increase in patronage on UK light rail schemes since 1999 according to the Department for Transport.

DfT statistics show that overall traffic levels have increased by over 80% and car traffic levels have increased by more than 85% since 1980.

A survey, carried out in 14 European cities, which has conducted research on the effectiveness of light rail on modal split, showed that on average 11% of the new passengers formerly came by car (Hass-Klau, C. et al, 2003, Bus or Light Rail: Making the Right Choice)

In 2002/03 Manchester Metrolink carried 18.8 million passengers. Metrolink’s research suggested that about 2 million car journeys had been taken off the road each year, equivalent to 10% of total car journeys along the Metrolink corridor.

In Karlsruhe, Germany, the Karlsruhe-Bretten integrated public transport system saw a 600% increase in public transport patronage, 40% of passengers were former car users and only 25% of the light rail users were previous Deutsche Bahn rail users (PTEG, 2005, What Light Rail can do for cities, Appendices, Steer Davies Gleeve).

In Renne, the proportion of people coming into the city by public transport rose from 35% to 50% following the introduction of the metro. Looking only at the metro corridor this percentage rises even further to 60%, demonstrating a reduction in car usage.

The Croydon light rail scheme has encouraged an excess of £2 billion in inward investment into the area, including two major retail schemes (£1.5 billion), an arena and office development, a rebuilt and redeveloped major concert hall, two multi screen cinema complexes with bars/restaurants and sports club facilities, industrial warehouse/retail development, office development and housing development.

A particularly under privileged area of Croydon has seen a 35% reduction in joblessness since the light rail scheme was launched.

Since the Tramway was built, residential property prices in Croydon have increased by 14% more in those areas close to the tram.



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6 Responses to “A Fact Sheet From the Light Rapid Transit Forum”

  1. David Says:

    It’s quite likely that our leaders in Victoria do NOT want a modal shift from car to anything else because it would annoy some of their biggest supporters: the car dealers. You may not have lived here long enough to know, but one of BC’s richest men, Jim Pattison, started out as a car salesman.

    I fear no amount of data on the cost effectiveness of LRT is going to make a difference. Solutions that favour land developers and car dealers will be pushed until Metro Vancouver looks like the city in the movie Wall-E.

  2. Richard Says:

    Canada Line popular among air travellers

    Canada Line hurting Vancouver’s taxi business: cab executive

    Zweisystem replies: TransLink has poured a lot of money into cash-strapped local newspapers, with inference that: “If you don’t write positive stories about the RAV/Canada line, no advertising money.” Now what small weekly is going to jeopardize that little pork barrel?


    As for the cab industry, tourism is down and the Canada Line runs nearly empty to the airport. Troll on my Friend, troll on!

    By the way, did you know that the RAV/Canada line only operates 14 trains at one time? Basically 7 in and 7 out, but the 7 out are roughly 3 to 3 + 1 servicing Richmond and the Airport. This has given rise to over crowding on trains and giving the appearance of high ridership. Basically the RAV/Canada line has given previous bus riders a more expensive, longer, and more inconvenient commute, but with absolutely no credible reporting by the mainstream media, the public do not know.

    More and more the RAV/Canada line is becoming an embarrassing scandal.

  3. mezzanine Says:

    Another interesting comparison is trimet’s green line in portland, of similar length to the canada line and opened at a similar time. ridership in september 2009 was 17000 on weekdays and 31900 on weekends.


    Versus the canada line at an average of 83000 per day in september 2009.


    Zweisystem replies: As there is no turnstiles or any method of ascertaining accurate ridership, TransLink can claim any ridership number it wants to, without worry of being checked. There is laser counters but are greatly inaccurate in crowded conditions, which the RAV/Canada Line is designed to be crowded. Independent sources indicate the RAV/Canada Line’s daily ridership is about 70,000 a day or roughly 35,000 people using the subway, which translates roughly to the amount of people previously using the various buses on the routes the metro displaced. There is absolutely no indication of modal shift from car to transit and buses traveling South of Richmond have not increased ridership.

    One has to remember that Portland’s Green Line is new riders, versus the RAV/Canada Line forcing established bus customers to use the metro and that is a very big difference Mezz! I wonder which system has actually attracted more new customers to transit? Probably the Green line!

    What the RAV/Canada Line has done is is to deter previous transit users, forcing them to take the car instead.

  4. mezzanine Says:

    Time will tell how the green line will perform verus the canada line. But here are a few more points:

    -After 6 pm on weekdays, green line frequency drops to a train every half-hour.

    -Traffic impacts of the green line in some part come at the cost of building park and rides. The green line runs along a highway median and 5 of 8 stops have park and rides.

    Zweisystem replies: You again mistake that forcing bus riders onto a new metro is good, but catering to the real needs of transit customers is somehow bad. The quest for most transit planners is to design a system that will attract new riders; in METRO Vancouver, transit is designed to inflate property values around metro stations.

    By forcing 35,000 or so bus riders onto a new metro but not attracting new ridership means the RAV/Canada Line is a $3 billion+ white elephant.

    In Portland they are concerned with designing a transit system that will attract the motorist from the car and are far better at it than TransLink.

  5. mezzanine Says:

    “…catering to the real needs of transit customers is somehow bad. The quest for most transit planners is to design a system that will attract new riders.”

    But if you are building park and rides, you still will be ultimately dependent on a car to get you to your destination.


    Zweisystem replies: Motorist will not abandon their cars, to take a bus to a metro. This has been the great Achilles Heal of light-metro and the reason why the mode is deemed obsolete. The trouble is, the news hasn’t reached Vancouver.

  6. bulleid35028 Says:

    Croydon Tramlink has brought many benefits to South London.
    Inward investment, employment, property values and a reduction in road congestion.
    Links to two benefit studies follow:-



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