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Old August 29th, 2013, 02:20 AM   #9081
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This is why the high speed rail should have been planed between Vegas and LA (or the hyperloop) not to SF, first. The 15 is a parking lot at lest once a day.
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Old August 29th, 2013, 03:07 AM   #9082
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This is why the high speed rail should have been planed between Vegas and LA (or the hyperloop) not to SF, first. The 15 is a parking lot at lest once a day.
What about building more I-15 lanes since it runs through the desert and the Cajon pass is quite wide already.
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Old August 29th, 2013, 03:13 AM   #9083
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Well, building the rail line would give people the choice of going by train, which some of them might prefer.
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Old August 29th, 2013, 09:06 PM   #9084
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What about building more I-15 lanes since it runs through the desert and the Cajon pass is quite wide already.
NDOT widened I-15 from Primm to just outside Las Vegas from 4 to 6 lanes just a few years ago. I'm sure it's in Caltrans' long-range plan to widen I-15 to 6 lanes plus a truck-climbing lane where needed but getting funding for this 112+ mile project between Primm and Barstow might be a problem.
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Old August 30th, 2013, 01:45 AM   #9085
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Probably it's not completely true there as the flows are completely different, but in Europe, more lanes generally means more cars, not less jams... and that just makes the problem worse in the accesses and exists... being able to produce a chaos in near roads and streets.

For that, I agree with Penn's Wood, sometimes giving alternatives is a better choice.
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Old August 30th, 2013, 01:54 AM   #9086
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Probably it's not completely true there as the flows are completely different, but in Europe, more lanes generally means more cars, not less jams... and that just makes the problem worse in the accesses and exists... being able to produce a chaos in near roads and streets.
.
I-15 is a long-distance thoroughfare there. There aren't much traffic, I guess, to/from exists between Victorville and Las Vegas. No major cities, no other thoroughfares.
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Old August 30th, 2013, 07:44 AM   #9087
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Probably it's not completely true there as the flows are completely different, but in Europe, more lanes generally means more cars, not less jams... and that just makes the problem worse in the accesses and exists... being able to produce a chaos in near roads and streets.

For that, I agree with Penn's Wood, sometimes giving alternatives is a better choice.
In this case, I don't think an additional lane would lead to a significant increase in congestion. I'm going to base my argument solely on the impact of truck traffic on I-15. California law caps the truck speed limit to 55 MPH (automobile speed limit is 70 MPH) and restricts them to the far right lane except when passing a slower moving vehicle. In it's current configuration (2 lanes each direction) trucks use the left lane when passing a slower vehicle often causes automobile traffic to back up behind the passing truck. If another lane is added, then trucks would be prohibited from using the far left lane as they can use the middle lane to pass slower vehicles in the right lane. That would leave the left lane open for automobile traffic to cruise along at 70 MPH (or 80 or 90 or 100...).

I would also agree with Suburbanist that traffic volumes are relatively light during the week. However, weekend traffic on I-15 often very heavy with folks heading to and from Las Vegas. The photo posted earlier in this thread looks like it was taken on a Sunday afternoon of westbound I-15.
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Old August 30th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #9088
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There is enough space in the median of I-15 to widen it to 8 lanes without needing right-of-way acquisition. The high-speed train proposal is beyond nonsense. Successful high-speed trains were the ones that alleviated busy railroads, which is not the case between Victorville and Las Vegas. Furthermore, it would begin a good 80 miles outside Los Angeles. There is no precedent for such a high-speed train to be succesful. Who would take the train if the most congested segment is the first half in Greater Los Angeles, where the train doesn't run through? Train projects based on the assumption that people would materially reduce driving are not successful. Trains don't drive on assumptions, they drive on proven ridership, which does not exist in this corridor. It would be much cheaper and effective if they would widen I-15 to six/eight lanes between Barstow and Nevada.
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Old August 30th, 2013, 07:45 PM   #9089
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I wasn't arguing for it, just suggesting - well, saying outright - that some people might prefer it. So it would create a choice. (And the original poster's idea that it was a higher priority than a Los Angeles-San Francisco line, I'm certainly not taking a position on.)

But I'd point out that Las Vegas is a far, far bigger city now than it was even 20 or 30 years ago, so assumptions based on what rail demand was in the past here are not necessarily as valid as they are in "older" parts of the country or in Europe. I wouldn't have expected to see the sort of traffic jam pictured here out in the desert either, based on recent history. But there it is.
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Old August 30th, 2013, 07:55 PM   #9090
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People have a choice; driving or flying. There are several airports in greater Los Angeles. But often it turns out that if people have a choice, they still prefer to drive. You have great choice of public transport in Europe and driving is still by far the most popular means to get around (most countries have a driving share between 80 and 90%, which is only slightly lower than in the U.S.)

The rail project existence is based on the assumption that thousands of drivers would switch to the train. European experiences show there is no large modal shift. Most high-speed train users are those who used conventional trains before, which does not exist in this corridor. Thus, there is no proven ridership. Nobody would take a multi-billion dollar bet based on wild guesses, which rail ridership estimates usually are. These estimates are almost always far off the actual usage.

There is a difference in transportation forecasting between roads and rail. Road estimates are based on factors such as population growth, spatial developments, gasoline prices, etcetera. These forecasts are generally fairly accurate, except for most toll roads. They tend to underestimate urban road usage, but not by much. Rail ridership forecasting, on the other hand, is based on far less concrete data, mostly assumptions about how many people would switch from car to rail. These forecasts are almost always significantly off the actual ridership. There is extensive research on this subject, google "Bent Flyvbjerg" on Google for more information about this. He is a leading researcher about megaprojects, cost, risk and ridership / road forecasting.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 05:09 AM   #9091
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
People have a choice; driving or flying. There are several airports in greater Los Angeles. But often it turns out that if people have a choice, they still prefer to drive. You have great choice of public transport in Europe and driving is still by far the most popular means to get around (most countries have a driving share between 80 and 90%, which is only slightly lower than in the U.S.)
This is completely untrue where good alternatives are given.

It's also a pain to flight over such a short distance...

Comparing this corridor with a similar one (in distance)... Madrid-Valencia

In 2012, there was on average 12241 vehicles per day (on the least congested stretch, so we might infer that most of them were doing the complete route) on A-3 (the motorway that connects both cities), being a 72% of them cars... with a mean occupation of 1.3 persons/car * 366 days we get that there were around 4.2 million passengers by car between both cities in 2012

On the same period, Renfe sold 1.7 million train tickets for that route.

The train gets a share of 87% when compared to the plane, so... 1.7 * 0.13 = 221.000 passengers by plane in 2012.

So we have:
Car: 4.2 million or 69.62% (it takes around 3.5 hours)
Train: 1.7 million or 27.77% (it takes around 1.5 hours)
Plane: 0.221 million or 3.61% (it takes around 1 hour)
------
Total: 6.12 million passengers

And 2012 was the 2nd year of operation of the high speed train. Note also that the car traffic is overstimated as some of those cars have a different origin or destination.

I don't pretend to say that new lanes on I-15 aren't necessary (they probably are) nor that HST would be good for that route (I think it probably would be). I pretend to say that the idea of a HSL between L.A. and Las Vegas shouldn't be discarded that easily as it probably have a good potential and IMHO further studies should be done to check if it's viable.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 05:26 AM   #9092
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Probably it's not completely true there as the flows are completely different, but in Europe, more lanes generally means more cars, not less jams... and that just makes the problem worse in the accesses and exists... being able to produce a chaos in near roads and streets.

For that, I agree with Penn's Wood, sometimes giving alternatives is a better choice.
I was going to say the same thing. For some reason, which seems totally counter intuitive, that is the case. I remember reading a study once where they came to this conclusion. They were saying that the main cause of congestion on roads was poor interconnectedness, which then caused bottle necks, which is the main cause traffic jams. Having extra lanes causes even bigger bottle necks where multilane roads intersect, merge, or shrink again. So in many cases the traffic jams are a result of "bottlenecks" and not because of too many cars on the road. So the only way to really prevent traffic jams is to prevent bottlenecks everywhere. Building more lanes has the opposite effect. Instead of alleviating, it actually creates bottlenecks which cause massive backups, aka traffic jams.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 05:31 AM   #9093
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There is enough space in the median of I-15 to widen it to 8 lanes without needing right-of-way acquisition. The high-speed train proposal is beyond nonsense. Successful high-speed trains were the ones that alleviated busy railroads, which is not the case between Victorville and Las Vegas. Furthermore, it would begin a good 80 miles outside Los Angeles. There is no precedent for such a high-speed train to be succesful. Who would take the train if the most congested segment is the first half in Greater Los Angeles, where the train doesn't run through? Train projects based on the assumption that people would materially reduce driving are not successful. Trains don't drive on assumptions, they drive on proven ridership, which does not exist in this corridor. It would be much cheaper and effective if they would widen I-15 to six/eight lanes between Barstow and Nevada.
You are probably right, but they are building a train between LA and SF. In my opinion it would have been better to build it from LA to Vegas as a first trial, and than expand if the system works. It would also be cheaper.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 05:38 AM   #9094
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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
People have a choice; driving or flying. There are several airports in greater Los Angeles. But often it turns out that if people have a choice, they still prefer to drive. You have great choice of public transport in Europe and driving is still by far the most popular means to get around (most countries have a driving share between 80 and 90%, which is only slightly lower than in the U.S.)

The rail project existence is based on the assumption that thousands of drivers would switch to the train. European experiences show there is no large modal shift. Most high-speed train users are those who used conventional trains before, which does not exist in this corridor. Thus, there is no proven ridership. Nobody would take a multi-billion dollar bet based on wild guesses, which rail ridership estimates usually are. These estimates are almost always far off the actual usage.

There is a difference in transportation forecasting between roads and rail. Road estimates are based on factors such as population growth, spatial developments, gasoline prices, etcetera. These forecasts are generally fairly accurate, except for most toll roads. They tend to underestimate urban road usage, but not by much. Rail ridership forecasting, on the other hand, is based on far less concrete data, mostly assumptions about how many people would switch from car to rail. These forecasts are almost always significantly off the actual ridership. There is extensive research on this subject, google "Bent Flyvbjerg" on Google for more information about this. He is a leading researcher about megaprojects, cost, risk and ridership / road forecasting.
Then make it a party train, it is Vegas after all. Why sit in traffic for 5 to 8 hours, when you can get wasted on a train on the way there, and take a nap on the way back home. I know I would take it. The drive between Vegas and LA is fun the first couple of times but it gets old after a while. Flying is quick, through the air, but the airport hassles make it as long as driving and depending on how many people are going can be expensive. But of course the train would only work if it left from Los Angels proper and not some station in Victorville.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 08:07 AM   #9095
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The Bay Bridge In San Francisco Is Closed Right For Construction. Here's A Timelapse Drive On The New Span.

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Old August 31st, 2013, 03:29 PM   #9096
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Adding more lanes on I-15 is the only way to reduce the weekend/holiday congestion. If you think a high speed train reduces congestion; take a look at France, where the main holiday corridor is one of the best performing high speed trains in the world (Paris - Lyon - Marseille). Yet holiday congestion on the roads is one of the worst in all of Europe.

At the same time;

There is no high-frequency passenger train service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Current ridership on the Southwest Chief is less than 1000 passengers per day. All succesful high-speed services in Europe and Asia were the ones that alleviated intensively used conventional rail services. No such thing exists along the I-15 corridor.

European fuel prices are 2.5 - 3 times higher than the U.S. In addition, there are high tolls in most of Europe (and Japan). These are all things which would be inducive to a modal shift from driving to trains for long-distance travel, but there is no significant modal shift from driving to train travel. Only a very small modal shift was observed along high-speed rail in Europe (from driving to train). This effect is likely to be even smaller in the U.S., where there are no tolls and far lower fuel prices (hence lower out-of-pocket costs).

In addition, fares for high-speed rail is often more expensive than flying, and always more expensive than driving, especially when traveling with multiple persons. Plus, congestion on I-15 north of Barstow is fairly limited to certain hours of the weekens, average traffic volumes are not that high, so few people are willing to switch from driving to the train for congestion reasons, after having driven already 100 miles in far more congestion-prone areas in Greater Los Angeles to reach the southern terminus in Victorville the first place.

Furthermore, there is no private interest in this HSR project. No private investor wants to put up billions for construction this high-speed rail, because it will never pay itself back. Nearly all passenger services don't even pay the cost of running the train back, not to mention the huge capital cost to construct the line in the first place. Also, building a high-speed rail in the median of I-15 (if even possible due to grades) prevents a cost-effective widening of I-15 in the future, because the railroad takes up the space in the median.

So the end result will be a huge money-losing high-speed rail service, no reduced congestion on I-15 and fewer options to widen I-15 within the existing right-of-way.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 03:43 PM   #9097
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Have you driven there?
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Old August 31st, 2013, 05:16 PM   #9098
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Adding more lanes on I-15 is the only way to reduce the weekend/holiday congestion. If you think a high speed train reduces congestion; take a look at France, where the main holiday corridor is one of the best performing high speed trains in the world (Paris - Lyon - Marseille). Yet holiday congestion on the roads is one of the worst in all of Europe.

At the same time;

There is no high-frequency passenger train service between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Current ridership on the Southwest Chief is less than 1000 passengers per day. All succesful high-speed services in Europe and Asia were the ones that alleviated intensively used conventional rail services. No such thing exists along the I-15 corridor.

European fuel prices are 2.5 - 3 times higher than the U.S. In addition, there are high tolls in most of Europe (and Japan). These are all things which would be inducive to a modal shift from driving to trains for long-distance travel, but there is no significant modal shift from driving to train travel. Only a very small modal shift was observed along high-speed rail in Europe (from driving to train). This effect is likely to be even smaller in the U.S., where there are no tolls and far lower fuel prices (hence lower out-of-pocket costs).

In addition, fares for high-speed rail is often more expensive than flying, and always more expensive than driving, especially when traveling with multiple persons. Plus, congestion on I-15 north of Barstow is fairly limited to certain hours of the weekens, average traffic volumes are not that high, so few people are willing to switch from driving to the train for congestion reasons, after having driven already 100 miles in far more congestion-prone areas in Greater Los Angeles to reach the southern terminus in Victorville the first place.

Furthermore, there is no private interest in this HSR project. No private investor wants to put up billions for construction this high-speed rail, because it will never pay itself back. Nearly all passenger services don't even pay the cost of running the train back, not to mention the huge capital cost to construct the line in the first place. Also, building a high-speed rail in the median of I-15 (if even possible due to grades) prevents a cost-effective widening of I-15 in the future, because the railroad takes up the space in the median.

So the end result will be a huge money-losing high-speed rail service, no reduced congestion on I-15 and fewer options to widen I-15 within the existing right-of-way.
I agree that asking people to drive out to Victorville to catch the train is stupid.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 06:29 PM   #9099
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Have you driven there?
I have, two or three times and it is quite heavily used road.
I was actually heading north to Vegas on one of the Fridays and traffic was a real pain. I was not completely stuck (like on the above photos) but due to bad lane discipline of American drivers it was constant battle trying to overtake slow moving cars.

Still, due to many other factors the HSR there would be a massive flop. I can't see it taking off anywhere in the US apart from some of the most used transport corridors, particularly Boston - Washington DC.
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Old August 31st, 2013, 06:40 PM   #9100
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Cool. At least you know what's being discussed then, seeing that you know the setting...
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