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Old February 5th, 2008, 08:19 AM   #341
Electrify
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I already know where this thread is going, so I'm gonna say my .02 cents, grab some popcorn, and watch the fallout.

First of all, I think many transit enthusiasts need to stop romanticizing the olden days of transit and wake up to reality. In the 21st century, we all live fast paced lives and want to get to our destinations as quickly as possible. While trams are nice for short trips through an urban area, their speed is not enough to meet the needs of most people. While it is easy to say that people should live downtown, it isn't realistic to expect several million people living between the outer sprawl and inner suburbs to pack up their things and move into an area that is only a few square miles big. A full LRT is in a different league from trams, using railway crossings, railway rail, and spaced out stations to essentially create an above ground subway. However, many people aren't too thrilled with having a speeding train run down their street, splitting it in two. This is why grooved tram rail gets used through dense areas, and a significant reason why these vehicles travel so slow through them.

BRT allows for excellent speed through urban areas while being somewhat pedestrian friendly. Sure you'll have to look both ways for speeding buses, but it is surely better than having to walk half a block to cross the train tracks to get to the other side of the street. I think a lot of people have very ignorant views on buses, and this needs to change. Buses are fantastic forms of public transit, and there is no form of transit that is as flexible or reliable. People who will avoid buses but hop on a tram are no better than those who will avoid Wal Mart but goto Target instead.

Now, obviously BRT does have capacity limits. As stated earlier, it would be insane to try and carry the traffic on New York's subway line on buses. It wouldn't work. But at the same time too, building subways and tunneling is also become an unrealistic solution to our urban transit woes. In fact, it is estimated that the new NYC subway line will cost $1 billion per kilometer!!! It is already hard enough to get politicians to fund transit when so much of their voting base drives, imagine trying to get through a project like that...

This is why I can see monorails replacing subways as HRT in the next century. Monorails can be built to subway capacities and speeds, and are much cheaper to install than subways. Unfortunately, like buses, they are plagued with a false image and too become the victim of prejudice.

I think it is time for transit enthusiasts to stop living in the early 20th century, and start trying to push for transit that will meet people's long term needs and are affordable investments. BRT and monorails accomplish these goals. LRT and subways, while once smart investments, ultimately need to retire and accept their place in history.
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You are genius too Electrify, never would have thought of this if not for your thread.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 08:25 PM   #342
Electrify
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Another measure of the success of the Orange Line is the amount of vituperative that the organization Light Rail Now has directed against it < http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_brt_2006-10a.htm >. The Light Rail Now pictorial raises some legitimate issues but the claim that the Orange Line is underperforming in terms of ridership is preposterous. The Orange Line outperforms the Gold Line in part because it offers more frequent service. The Orange Line buses must operate more frequently in order to provide capacity similar to the multi-car light rail trains of the Gold Line.
LRN claims that if the Orange line was a LRT, it would probably outperform the Gold line more so since rail has more appeal.

What LRN forgets to mention is that the Gold line goes right into downtown, while the Orange line is more of a cheap extension line to the Red metro line, requiring a 'needless transfer' to continue one's journey. What this means is that many who drive may choose to simply drive to the Red line, rather than take the Orange line. It also means that BRT can be just as appealing to commuters as LRT, and that people care more about how efficient a transit mode is over what vehicle is used.

With that said, I do believe the Orange line would have been a good candidate for LRT, simply because it runs most of its route in its own private corridor - an area where LRT does excel in. IMO BRT works best with exclusive lanes through the middle of roadways along major streets.

EDIT: However, even though the Orange line would have been a good candidate for a LRT, one of the benefits of it being a BRT is that it acts as an accurate model in North America of how a BRT should be run, and how efficient it can be.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 06:00 AM   #343
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There is an excellent video by streetfilms on BRT:

http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/...ransit-bogota/
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Old February 6th, 2008, 07:22 AM   #344
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Fantastic
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You are genius too Electrify, never would have thought of this if not for your thread.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 01:41 PM   #345
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Thank you for posting a link to the video. 1.3 million passengers per day! It is hard to believe until you see it in action.
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Old February 7th, 2008, 06:47 AM   #346
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You're welcome

Streetfilms has some wonderful short documentaries, but I think that this is one of the first that they have done overseas.

The Bogota system is amazing. I was there just a few months ago - it's really puts BRT potential into perspective and must be seen to be believed. I hope to go back in a few years and visit the smaller cities and see how it works there. 1.3 rides out of a population of 7million or so is good, but 100,000 in a population of 500,000 really intrigues me.

Last edited by adrimm; February 7th, 2008 at 06:54 AM.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 03:50 AM   #347
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrimm View Post
That's just it - in my mind open air curbside stops don't qualify as "stations".

You tell a member of the public "station" and they want a *station*, not a glorified bus shelter with ticket dispenser and a sign on it that says "station".
Have a look at the nations most used light rail system, with people waiting for a train



A glorified bus shelter would be better. It would provide....shelter. This light rail stop is a strip of concrete painted yellow to indicate a stop on the ROW.
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Old February 10th, 2008, 03:55 AM   #348
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I don't even see the yellow strip of concrete -_-"

Yes that stop needs shelter...
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Old February 12th, 2008, 05:15 AM   #349
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Quote:
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I don't even see the yellow strip of concrete -_-"

Yes that stop needs shelter...
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesinclair View Post
Have a look at the nations most used light rail system, with people waiting for a train



A glorified bus shelter would be better. It would provide....shelter. This light rail stop is a strip of concrete painted yellow to indicate a stop on the ROW.

Ugh It needs a *station*. How's a simple shelter going to stop the howling snow-filled wind from pummelling innocent transit users? No matter how cushy the train or bus is, I'd think twice if I had to wait in conditions like that photo.

Last edited by adrimm; March 23rd, 2008 at 04:20 AM. Reason: re-order
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Old February 12th, 2008, 05:20 AM   #350
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Heeere we go:

From streetsblog.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 07:11 AM   #351
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MISC | Americans Using Mass Transit Hits 50-Year High

Americans using mass transit hits 50-year high



NEW YORK, March 10 (Reuters) - The number of Americans hopping buses and grabbing subway straps has climbed to the highest level in half a century as soaring gasoline costs push more commuters to take mass transit.

U.S. mass transit ridership began to surge when gasoline hit the $3 a gallon level in 2005 and has continued to rise steadily ever since as pump prices top record after record, according to a report released on Monday by the American Public Transit Association.

"As people are struggling with the increase in fuel prices, they have to make adjustments, and one of the ways they are doing that is driving less and taking public transportation more," said William Millar, the president of the APTA.

Mass transit use increased by more than 2 percent in 2007 to the highest level in 50 years, with Americans taking more than 10 billion trips on public transport while the number of vehicle miles traveled was flat in the first 10 months of the year.

Even when gasoline prices dipped last year and some people returned to driving, others appear to have switched to public transport permanently, according to Millar.

"We started seeing gas prices consistently go above $3 a gallon (in 2005) and we noticed that overall transit ridership was going up," Millar said.

"When gas prices moderated, some of those people said, 'Hey, this works pretty good for me, I'll stick with it.'"

The largest area of mass transit growth was in light rail use, which includes street cars and trolleys, with a 6 percent increase during 2007. Commuter rails were second with an increase of 5.5 percent in ridership and subway ridership had an increase of 3.1 percent.

Cities with less than 100,000 people also saw a large increase -- 6.4 percent -- in public transportation use.

With many analysts predicting $4 gasoline this summer, mass transit use is likely to become even more popular.

"If past experience is any indication, as the price of fuel goes up and particularly as it hits a psychological milestone, which I expect $4 is, I would expect that we would see a spurt in ridership," Millar said.
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Old March 13th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #352
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Good news!
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Old March 13th, 2008, 08:01 PM   #353
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10.3 Billion Trips Taken On Public Transportation Ridership In 2007 -- The Highest Level in 50 Years; Ridership Increased as Gas Prices Remained High

http://www.apta.com/media/releases/080310_ridership.cfm
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Old March 20th, 2008, 04:56 AM   #354
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The sad part is that mass transit prices rise at the same rate as car transit prices. The only difference is that its staggered: mass transit systems buy a contract for a year or more, but once its over, they pay the current price.

That is, as long as our trains and buses use fossil fuels, and our electricity comes from oil and gas theres not a huge gain.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 05:59 AM   #355
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10.3 billion is not that impressive for a country of 300 million considering over a billion rides come from NY alone.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 05:23 PM   #356
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Can anyone break down these stats by city, or by transit mode?

Incidentally, an impressive line-up of buses, but why San Francisco 2006? And, given the cars parked between them, how do you get onto them? And where are the passengers?

Took this photo at my local railway station last night ... people!




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Old March 21st, 2008, 01:28 AM   #357
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Emm, i think that is some kind of bus depot or storage area -- those busses don't seem active.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 02:31 AM   #358
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I haven't noticed much of a difference here, but ridership has supposedly grown 7 percent on our bus network.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 07:32 AM   #359
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Although its great that US transit ridership levels are rising you have to remember that the US uses actual rides not revenue rides.
In most of the world stats are on revenue ridership levels. A trip in Canada which requires 3 transfers is counted as one ridership but in the states its considered 3.
Its very deceptive and yes New York is a huge amount of that.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 07:43 AM   #360
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Do you have any proof for this wild accusation?
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