Posts Tagged ‘Broadway SkyTrain’

A Must Read For Regional Mayors Before They Talk Transit Funding!

September 20, 2010

Since the spring of 2008, the Light Rail Committee has circulated an E-Mail sent by American transit and transportation expert, Gerald Fox to a Victoria transit group that wants to promote LRT and TramTrain in the Capital Region. Mr. Fox easily shreds TransLink’s business case for the Evergreen Line which should forewarn transit groups and regional politicians in the Fraser Valley that TransLink easily manipulates statistics to favour SkyTrain to the detriment of light-rail and is not to be trusted with any transit study. The following is the text of the E-Mail and for those lobbying for the return of the Interurban, just substitute the Fraser Valley for Victoria.

The letter, first published in in this blog December 27th, 2008 is reprinted in light of this weeks meeting of regional mayors with Transportation Minister Shirley Bond and the Premier of BC, regarding funding for the Evergreen Line.

The question is basic: If TransLink’s business case for the Evergreen line is dishonest, then would a funding formula for the Evergreen line be equally dishonest?

From: A North-American Rail Expert (Gerald Fox)

Subject: Comments on the Evergreen Line “Business Case”

Date: February 6, 2008 12:15:22 PM PST (CA)


 The Evergreen Line Report made me curious as to how TransLink could justify continuing to expand SkyTrain, when the rest of the world is building LRT. So I went back and read the alleged “Business Case” (BC) report in a little more detail. I found several instances where the analysis had made assumptions that were inaccurate, or had been manipulated to make the case for SkyTrain. If the underlying assumptions are inaccurate, the conclusions may be so too. Specifically:

 Capacity. A combination of train size and headway. For instance, TriMet’s new “Type 4” Low floor LRVs, arriving later this year, have a rated capacity of 232 per car, or 464 for a 2- car train. (Of course one must also be sure to use the same standee density when comparing car capacity. I don’t know if that was done here). In Portland we operate a frequency of 3 minutes downtown in the peak hour, giving a one way peak hour capacity of 9,280. By next year we will have two routes through downtown, which will eventually load both ways, giving a theoretical peak hour rail capacity of 37,000 into or out of downtown. Of course we also run a lot of buses.

 The new Seattle LRT system which opens next year, is designed for 4-car trains, and thus have a peak hour capacity of 18,560. (but doesn’t need this yet, and so shares the tunnel with buses). The Business Case analysis assumes a capacity of 4,080 for LRT, on the Evergreen Line which it states is not enough, and compares it to SkyTrain capacity of 10400.!

 Speed. The analysis states the maximum LRT speed is 60 kph. (which would be correct for the street sections) But most LRVs are actually designed for 90 kph. On the Evergreen Line, LRT could operate at up to 90 where conditions permit, such as in the tunnels, and on protected ROW. Most LRT systems pre-empt most intersections, and so experience little delay at grade crossings. (Our policy is that the trains stop only at stations, and seldom experience traffic delays. It seems to work fine, and has little effect on traffic.) There is another element of speed, which is station access time. At-grade stations have less access time. This was overlooked in the analysis.

 Also, on the NW alignment, the SkyTrain proposal uses a different, faster, less-costly alignment to LRT proposal. And has 8 rather than 12 stations. If LRT was compared on the alignment now proposed for SkyTrain, it would go faster, and cost less than the Business Case report states!

 Cost. Here again, there seems to be some hidden biases. As mentioned above, on the NW Corridor, LRT is costed on a different alignment, with more stations. The cost difference between LRT and SkyTrain presented in the Business Case report is therefore misleading. If they were compared on identical alignments, with the same number of stations, and designed to optimize each mode, the cost advantage of LRT would be far greater. I also suspect that the basic LRT design has been rendered more costly by requirements for tunnels and general design that would not be found on more cost-sensitive LRT projects.

 Then there are the car costs. Last time I looked, the cost per unit of capacity was far higher for SkyTrain. Also,it takes about 2 SkyTrain cars to match the capacity of one LRV. And the grade-separated SkyTrain stations are far most costly and complex than LRT stations. Comparing 8 SkyTrain stations with 12 LRT stations also helps blur the distinction.

 Ridership. Is a function of many factors. The Business Case report would have you believe that type of rail mode alone, makes a difference (It does in the bus vs rail comparison, according to the latest US federal guidelines). But, on the Evergreen Line, I doubt it. What makes a difference is speed, frequency (but not so much when headways get to 5 minutes), station spacing and amenity etc. Since the speed, frequency and capacity assumptions used in the Business Case are clearly inaccurate, the ridership estimates cannot be correct either. There would be some advantage if SkyTrain could avoid a transfer. If the connecting system has capacity for the extra trains. But the case is way overstated.

 And nowhere is it addressed whether the Evergreen Line, at the extremity of the system, has the demand for so much capacity and, if it does, what that would mean on the rest of the system if feeds into?

 Innuedos about safety, and traffic impacts, seem to be a big issue for SkyTrain proponents, but are solved by the numerous systems that operate new LRT systems (i.e., they can’t be as bad as the SkyTrain folk would like you to believe).

 I’ve no desire to get drawn into the Vancouver transit wars, and, anyway, most of the rest of the world has moved on. To be fair, there are clear advantages in keeping with one kind of rail technology, and in through-routing service at Lougheed. But, eventually, Vancouver will need to adopt lower-cost LRT in its lesser corridors, or else limit the extent of its rail system. And that seems to make some TransLink people very nervous.

 It is interesting how TransLink has used this cunning method of manipulating analysis to justify SkyTrain in corridor after corridor, and has thus succeeded in keeping its proprietary rail system expanding. In the US, all new transit projects that seek federal support are now subjected to scrutiny by a panel of transit peers, selected and monitored by the federal government, to ensure that projects are analysed honestly, and the taxpayers’ interests are protected. No SkyTrain project has ever passed this scrutiny in the US.


 But the BIG DEAL for Victoria is: If the Business Case analysis were corrected to fix at least some of the errors outlined above, the COST INCREASE from using SkyTrain on the Evergreen Line will be comparable to the TOTAL COST of a modest starter line in Victoria. This needs to come to the attention of the Province. Victoria really does deserve better. Please share these thoughts as you feel appropriate.


Metro Vancouver pushes rapid transit for Surrey, not UBC – Why Not Build Both?

September 4, 2010

A Karlsruhe tramtrain operating on tram tracks. The same LRV can operate on the mainline.

It seems that that METRO Vancouver’s chief honcho wants to extend ‘rapid transit’ (read SkyTrain) in Surrey and not on Broadway. But don’t hold your breathe for any action anytime soon. The Tri-Cities have been waiting for their ‘rapid transit’ (read SkyTrain) for over two decades and were pipped at the post by Premier Campbell (and former Vancouver mayor) who used his political will to build the extremely expensive and prestigious Canada Line subway.

The reason that Mr. Carline is mentioning rapid transit to Surrey probably has more to do with the ever growing demand by South Fraser taxpayers to secede from TransLink and if that happens, opens the door to secede from Metro Vancouver altogether. If Metro Vancouver does extend SkyTrain in Surrey, then any public revolt against ponderous and boated bureaucracy on Kingsway (and soon New Westminster) will be near impossible.

The sad fact is, the region can’t afford any more SkyTrain lines, which with construction costs of over $100 million/km. has all but castrated TransLink’s ability to provide a useful public transit service!

There is an alternative to the dated SkyTrain metro system and that is light rail transit.

TransLink has always treated light rail and the light rail family as a poorman’s SkyTrain and to this day remain largely ignorant of the world’s most popular ‘rail‘ transit mode. TransLink’s own documents well illustrate their anti-LRT bias.

We do know that we can build TramTrain for under $10 million/km. and simple LRT/tram for under $20 million/km. and if we deny transit  bureaucrats from over designing and over building ‘rail‘ transit in the region could have just an efficient light rail transit network at a fraction of the cost of SkyTrain/metro !

The cost of a usable SkyTrain extension in Surrey would be at least $1.5 billion to $2 billion, with no further extensions for many decades, yet for $1.5 billion we could build a Vancouver to Chilliwack TramTrain and a BCIT to UBC/Stanley Park LRT/tram line.

This has always been the choice of transit bureaucrats, cheaper and longer LRT/tram lines or more expensive, shorter metro lines. To date, TransLink bureaucrats have always taken the most expensive route.

In a few short weeks, Rail for the Valley may provide the answer to our expensive ‘rail‘ transit planning with a detailed account how to build affordable ‘rail‘ transit, the problem will be, as it always had been: “Will TransLink, Metro Vancouver, and the Provincial government listen?”

Metro Vancouver pushes rapid transit for Surrey, not UBC

Read more:

By KELLY SINOSKI, Vancouver Sun

VANCOUVER — Metro Vancouver’s chief bureaucrat wants TransLink to bump a proposed rapid transit line to the University of B.C. to the bottom of its priority list and instead boost services in the fast-growing area south of the Fraser River.

Metro chief administrative officer Johnny Carline said Friday that Surrey will bear the brunt of the region’s growth in the next 30 years, and more transit is needed to help shape that city’s development.

The recommendation, included in Metro’s new 2040 Shape our Future draft regional growth strategy, suggests TransLink give priority to connecting Surrey city centre to other growth neighbourhoods following completion of the long-awaited Evergreen Line, which will link Port Moody, Coquitlam and Burnaby.

Only after Surrey gets improved transit should TransLink consider extending rapid transit along the Broadway corridor, the draft strategy says.

TransLink is preparing technical reports for both projects: a UBC rapid transit line and extending SkyTrain in Surrey to the Guildford area.

“We don’t think we’ll be able to afford full-scale investments in the Evergreen Line, south of the Fraser and UBC all in the life of this plan,” Carline told members of Metro’s regional planning committee Friday.

“We can’t afford to have investments going out to UBC that take away from investment in the major growth areas.”

Metro Vancouver is expected to be home to 3.4 million people by 2040 – a million more than now – with a third of the new residents expected to live in Surrey and White Rock, raising that area’s population to roughly the same as Vancouver’s.

Under the regional growth strategy, Metro is proposing to develop more “urban centres” with office, retail, community, culture and higher density housing to keep people living and working closer to home or along transit corridors.

Metro has been struggling for years to concentrate development in these centres, and to curb sprawl from extending into rural areas.

Surrey Coun. Judy Villeneuve said her city is in desperate need of more transit, especially as it’s set to become the second largest metropolitan region in the province. The city is developing its town centres to become more transit-dependent, she said, while also looking at alternatives such as light rail, heritage rail and more community buses.

Surrey city council will visit Portland in October to consider that city’s transportation system, Villeneuve said, and will lobby the federal government for more infrastructure funding.

“Our transit network is very poor,” she said, adding that Vancouver already has a better transit system than Surrey. “Vancouver is a place where you don’t need a car. Surrey is a place where you have to have a car.

“[Vancouver] may have to look at waiting [for transit] just like we have.”

Carline said he has no problem with TransLink investigating rapid transit lines for the Broadway-UBC corridor, but it wouldn’t be prudent to spend its limited pot of money in Vancouver when there is a bigger need in Surrey and other areas south of the Fraser.

“That’s where the region is changing the most and that’s where we need transit,” he said, adding: “It shouldn’t be put off. … If we put rapid transit in there, it would put a big impact on the development community on where it wants to go.”

Carline said it’s more difficult to retrofit a community for high-density transit hubs after it has been developed, particularly if a city has decided to turn swaths of cheap land into low-density, sprawling office parks.

The draft regional growth report – the fifth to be released since the 1960s – has been in the works since 2002. Besides developing more urban centres, it calls for protecting industrial land for manufacturing and processing to create jobs, as well as land for rural and conservation uses.

Carline said the report has been revised to make it more flexible for municipalities to make decisions around their urban centres and other neighbourhoods without having to seek approval from the regional district.

Metro Vancouver will receive comments on the draft strategy until Oct. 15 before going to a public hearing, likely in November. The plan must be adopted by all of Metro Vancouver’s 22 member municipalities, the Tsawwassen First Nation and TransLink.

The Failure To Understand Modern Light Rail = Public Transit Chaos

May 25, 2010

‘Zwei’ has been taken aback by the viciousness of the SkyTrain Lobby and the great lengths they have taken in discrediting the LRT, while at the same time refusing to acknowledge the marketing failure of the proprietary (ICTS/ALRT/ALM/ART ) light-metro system, known in Vancouver as SkyTrain.

‘Zwei’ is also taken aback by abject refusal by many supposed experts to take the time to clearly understand modern light rail and/or modern LRT philosophy,  instead treating it the same as a glorified bus or a poor-man’s metro.  As well, ‘Zwei is dumbfounded, by many of the same supposed transit experts who do not understand the fundamentals of transit and or rail operation, especially from a customers point of view. In Metro Vancouver, many planning bureaucrats abjectly refuse to acknowledge that  modern light rail is a very strong tool to mitigate congestion and pollution, which only exacerbates our regional transportation planning ennui.

A good example of not understanding ‘rail‘ operation are those who continue to pontificate that automatic transit systems have fewer employees, therefore cheaper to operate than light rail. This simplistic view is wrong and except when traffic flows are in the order of 20,000 pphpd or more, then there are noticeable cost savings in automatic operation. The notion that automatic metros can operate 24/7 is just that, a notion as driverless metro need daily ‘down time’ to adjust and check the signaling system for if something goes wrong, the driverless metro stops and until a real persons checks the system to see why the metro stopped and if it is safe to continue operation, will operation be started again.

Unlike LRT, with an on-board driver, automatic metros need a full complement of staff to operate at all hours to ensure the safety of passengers, on trains and in stations. Many LRT operations have service 24 hours a day and with the simplicity of the transit mode, very few staff are needed. Contrary to what many ‘bloggist’s’ post, modern light rail is much cheaper to operate than metro and driverless metro.

The hysterical wailings of those wishing grade separated transit systems also ignore the fact that moder LRT is one of the safest public transit modes in the world. The fact that SkyTrain has a higher annual death rate than comparable LRT operations is forgotten in their zeal to discredit modern trams. Yes, cars do crash into trams. Yes, car drivers do disobey stop signals and deliberately drive across tram lines in the path of an oncoming trams, with predictable results. Yet tram/LRT/streetcar road intersections are about ten times safer than a road – road intersection. In Europe, if a car driver ignores a stop signal and is in an accident with a tram, the car driver is heavily fined and may lose his right to drive. In Europe, autos seldom come to grief with a tram, as the legal consequences colliding with a tram is a strong deterrent.

The speed issue is another ‘man of straw’ argument as those who want SkyTrain. They bang the ‘speed‘ drum loudly proclaiming that SkyTrain is fast and speed trumps all in attracting ridership. Speed of ones journey is just one facet of the many reasons why people opt to take public transit. What is true, it is that the overall ambiance and convenience of a ‘rail‘ transit system has proven more important attracting new ridership. Contrary to what many believe, elevated and underground transit stations tend to deter ridership. The speed issue is a non-issue and fact is, if the Vancouver to Chilliwack tramtrain comes into operation, it will have a much faster commercial speed than SkyTrain, yet Zwei would never make the claim that tramtrain would be better because it was faster!

Studies have shown (Hass-Klau Bus or Light Rail, Making The right Choice) that in urban areas the most beneficial distance between transit stops is 450m to 600m and with any greater distances between stops tends to deter ridership and stops closer than 450m tend to be too slow. Those want a fast subway under Broadway are commuting from the far reaches of the SkyTrain and or bus network and one would question why they would live so far away to commute to UBC, if they are at all?

In the real world, transit systems are designed and built to economically move people, not so in Vancouver where transit is built to cater to the needs of land use, thus we continue to build hugely expensive metro lines on low ridership routes (for metro), where selected property owners make windfall profits from up-zoning residential properties to higher density condos and apartments. This is a ‘fools paradise’, because we are spending up to ten times more to install a metro on transit routes that don’t have the ridership to sustain a metro, while at the same time failing upgrade many bus routes to LRT to cater to higher passenger flows, which now demand greater operational economies. Much needed transit upgrades and improvements in the region go wanting to fulfill the extremely expensive and questionable SkyTrain/land use dream on only a few routes.

The failure to understand modern light rail is leading the region into a massive financial black hole, by continually building extremely expensive metro while at the same time treating LRT as a yesterday’s transit mode. Today, Vancouver’s transit fares are some of the highest in North America and fares will continue to rise, largely in part due to SkyTrain and light-metro. TransLink will continue to be in financial peril if planning bureaucrats continues to plan and build with metro on the Evergreen Line and the Broadway subway.

Modern light rail has been crafted, with over 125 years of public transit experience, to fulfill  human transit and transportation needs, unlike our automatic SkyTrain light metro, which original design and selling point was to mitigate the massive costs of heavy-rail metro in an age before modern LRT. To put SkyTrain in a subway is an oxymoron and demonstrates the modes proponents gross ignorance of transit history; to continue to build SkyTrain on routes that do not have the ridership to sustain metro demonstrates complete fiscal irresponsibility.

As Zweisystem has always observed, “Those who fail to read public transit history are doomed to make the same very expensive mistakes.”

The failure to understand the role of modern LRT, streetcars and trams, will lead the region into transit and transportation chaos, where the much needed ‘rail‘ network will be but patches of expensive politically prestigious metro lines linked by buses: impractical, unsustainable, and fool-hardy.

Chaleroi light-metro station - Too expensive to complete and never used!

The Broadway Follies Part 3 – Questions & Answers about SkyTrain

May 7, 2010

We continue with the question and answer format about Broadway’s transit issues, with a focus on SkyTrain. Vancouver is the only city in the world that continues to plan and build solely with automatic (driverless) light-metro and many people would like to know why. First, we must tackle the issue of SkyTrain and answer questions posed about the SkyTrain light-metro system.

  • Q: What is SkyTrain?
  • A: SkyTrain is the local name given to the Urban Transportation Development Corporation (UTDC) proprietary light-metro system, now owned by Bombardier Inc.
  • Q: What is ALRT?
  • A: ALRT or Advanced Light Rail Transit, was the second name designated for the proprietary light-metro system. ALRT superseded the original designated name of ICTS or Intermediate Capacity Transit system, as only two such transit systems were built. SkyTrain is now marketed as ART or Advanced Rapid Transit. ICTS was first developed to mitigate the high cost of subway construction.
  • Q: Is the Canada Line SkyTrain or LRT?
  • A: No, the Canada Line is a conventional metro and incompatible with the SkyTrain system.
  • Q: Is SkyTrain a proprietary railway because it is automatic or driverless?
  • A: No, question of automatic or driverless operation is the type of signaling system used (SELTRAC moving block system). SkyTrain is considered an unconventional proprietary railway because it is powered by Linear Induction Motors or LIMs in stead of regular ‘squirrel cage’ motors..
  • Q: Is SkyTrain cheaper to operate than light rail because it is driverless?
  • A: No, the savings in driver’s wages operating with LRT is nullified by the use of attendants, transit police, and a large maintenance staff to keep the metro in operation. SkyTrain’s annual operating costs are over 50% greater than comparable light rail systems.
  • Q: Is SkyTrain faster than LRT?
  • A: No, SkyTrain is only faster than LRT because the route it operates on has been designed to be faster, many LRT systems operate at speeds up to 30kph faster than SkyTrain on select portions of their routes. SkyTrain’s maximum speed is 80 kph, while newer TramTrains now have maximum speeds of over 110kph! Given identical routes, with the same number of stations with the same quality of rights-of-ways, SkyTrain would be no faster than light rail.
  • Q: Is SkyTrain as popular as many claim?
  • A: No. There are only seven SkyTrain type operations built around the world. 2 – ICTS; 1 – ALRT; 4 – ART.
  • Q: Does SkyTrain have a greater capacity than LRT?
  • A: No.
  • Q: Does SkyTrain attract more ridership than LRT?
  • A: No, despite unsubstantiated claims by TransLink, there is no study or any proof at all that SkyTrain actually attracts more ridership than light rail.
  • Q: Does SkyTrain pays its operating costs as claimed by TransLink.
  • A: No. TransLink conveniently forgets to include the annual provincial subsidy of over $230 million. Also TransLink does not divulge how it apportions fares between bus and SkyTrain, thus there is no way to validate the claim.

Debunking the SkyTrain myth – Part 3 ~ So who operates SkyTrain and why?

June 5, 2009



Detroit’s ICTS

Two previous postings

” Debunking the SkyTrain myth……. ” and 

Debunking the SkyTrain myth Part 2 ” has sent the SkyTrain lobby into apologetic fits. The cries of “shock and disbelief“, untrue, and cherry-picked information fill the comments postings, yet the SkyTrain lobby fail to answer one question: “Why after three decades of unprecedented investment in public transit that SkyTrain has been rejected by transit planners around the world, even after an unprecedented sales program including being showcased at Vancouver’s Expo 86?” Despite the hype and hoopla about SkyTrain there are only seven type systems in operation, or nearing completion, sold under three marketing names.

Intermediate Capacity Transit System or ICTS

  1. The Toronto Transit Commission’s Scarborough ICTS a 6.4 km rail link forced on the TTC by the Ontario provincial government. Currently in operation, it needs major rebuilding and might be converted to light rail. The city of Hamilton rejected SkyTrain, even after the Ontario government was willing to pay for the initial installation.
  2. The 4.7 km Detroit people mover or locally known as the “Mugger mover“. This single track loop was a demonstration line for a planned ICTS system, but the larger network did not materialize.

Advanced Light Rail Transit/Advanced Light Rapid Transit or ALRT

  1. Vancouver’s 49.5 km SkyTrain. Forced upon the operating authority instead of originally planned for light rail in 1980 by the provincial government, the First Vancouver to New Westminster Line cost as much as the originally planned for Vancouver to Whally/Lougheed Mall and Vancouver to Richmond LRT. The Millennium Line was again forced onto the operating authority by the provincial government after much planning for LRT. It is interesting to note that there was a slight change to SkyTrain’s name from Advanced Light Rail Transit to Advanced Light Rapid Transit before 1990 reflecting that SkyTrain was not LRT.

Advanced Rapid Transit or ART

  1.  The 13 km  JFK airport AirTrain. A private deal between Bombardier Inc., the Port authority, and the Canadian Government, precluded local planning. The AirTrain is funded, in part, with an airport $7.00 departure tax.
  2.  The 29 km Kelana Jaya Line (formerly PUTRA) in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Forced upon the operating authority by senior government, who wanted a ‘show-case’ elevated transit system like a monorail, senior government officials were horrified to find out, even after a prolonged bidding process, that the PUTRA was just another railway and later built a monorail for the city’s third elevated transit line. The first elevated transit line in the city was the STAR elevated LRT line.
  3. The 27 km Beijing Airport Express. A limited stop, four station, airport transit line.
  4. The 18.5 km Everline in Yongin, South Korea. another limited stop airport line.

During the same period, over 150 new light rail transit (LRT) lines have been built or are now nearing completion, far too many to list. Many more new LRT lines are being planned. In fact, by 1986, the year of SkyTrain’s debut in Vancouver, it was considered obsolete by transit planners in North America and Europe and like the French VAL system, now seems only to be sold in private deals as a prestigious airport connector.

What happened?

Modern light-rail, was cheaper to build and operate and far more flexible in use. If one needed to construct a light-metro to cater to high traffic loads, LRT could do the job and carry more customers, yet retain the ability to operate on lesser rights-of-ways, in mixed traffic if need be. Proprietary driverless transit systems, by their very design, can not do. This inherent loss of operating flexibility far outweighed the few positives with light-metro and the fate of proprietary transit systems like ICTS/ALRT/ART and VAL were sealed. As with all proprietary transit systems, the seeds of obsolescence are sold with the product and if the manufacturer were to cease production, the costs for proprietary transit systems increase dramatically! In Seattle, the operators of the ALWEG monorail have great problems finding spares and have to custom make, at great expense, broken parts. It is like getting spare parts for an Edsel!

Except for Vancouver, no other city relies on SkyTrain ALRT/ART solely for rail transportation, which makes Vancouver and TransLink an anomaly. The continued efforts to force more SkyTrain construction is like the past Bre-X scandal (where ore samples were ‘salted’ with gold); with SkyTrain planning being ‘salted’ with questionable studies and invented statistical analysis. Abetted by a complacent media who treat all public transit projects as a “mom and apple pie” issue, never have done the investigative reporting that has been standard with other mega-projects and gave SkyTrain a ‘free pass’. 30 years of SkyTrain indoctrination is clearly evident; a burgeoning TransLink deficit; high transit fares; a rail transit network that a nervous TransLink admits that 80% of SkyTrain’s ridership first come from buses; and a largely misinformed SkyTrain lobby. No wonder transit planners from around the world chuckle at Metro Vancouver and TransLink with amusement.

The question that the SkyTrain lobby refuse to answer is again asked; “If SkyTrain is so good, why in an era of unprecedented investment in public transit, it has been rejected by transit planners around the world?

Influences on success of light rail – From ‘Future of Urban Transport: Learning from Success and Weakness: Light Rail’

May 26, 2009

The following is an excerpt from ”Future of Urban Transport: Learning from Success and Weakness: Light Rail” a study by Carmen Hass-Klau & Graham Crampton.

Influences on success

The available data allowed the effects of eleven different influences to be examined, using correlation and multivariate regression methods:

  • the average light rail speed,
  • population density 300m light rail corridors, following the lines,
  • monthly fare relative to the country’s GDP/Capita,
  • percentage of new light rail vehicles,
  • peak headway in minutes of light rail service,
  • park and ride spaces per light rail track/km,
  • pedestrian street length per city population,
  • % of passengers using travel cards,
  • light rail network density, number of public parking spaces in the city centre according to city centre size,
  • other suburban rail provision.

The four factors in bold are those which, on first analysis, seem to have statically significant effect on the overall indicator of success on their own, before considering their combined effect with other vehicles. The three strongest of these – travel card use, length of pedestrianized streets and corridor density, have positive effects, i.e. they improve the likelihood of the system scoring well in the combined measure of success. High levels of fares worked in the opposite direction.