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Old March 18th, 2007, 12:02 AM   #481
UrbanBen
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Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
The problem is that politicians and the public at large (including the business community) don't understand transportation/transit very well, much less than other hot issues, and poor decisions often result. The advocacy group I'm involved with in Baltimore seeks to educate the public and root out the non-sense that gets put out by anti-transit politicians. Even with a new transit friendly gubernatorial administration, it's hard work. Many flat out don't understand the New Starts federal funding process. There's still a lot of "transit is good", "rail is good/better" (not always) stuff. The devil is in the details. But you've got to start out with a sound, open, long-term, planning process first. Study all reasonable alternatives...etc.

Nate
If you're going for long-term planning, rails are cheaper than the roadway maintenance for trolleybuses.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 12:05 AM   #482
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Hey, well I never advocated trolleybuses

Nate

Edit: I didn't realize it was supposed to be electric trolley bus with pantographs and all. That was noted until the finer print. Doesn't change things too much though.

Last edited by getontrac; March 18th, 2007 at 12:13 AM.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 01:53 AM   #483
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Hey, well I never advocated trolleybuses

Nate

Edit: I didn't realize it was supposed to be electric trolley bus with pantographs and all. That was noted until the finer print. Doesn't change things too much though.
It does, because if you're going to build infrastructure for the route anyway, in the long-term it's better to use steel rails than concrete.

Of course, the biggest issue here is that a streetcar drives development and gets passengers who won't use a bus. The streetcar maintenance facility is most of the cost, and we can build other streetcars to use the same one.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 02:09 AM   #484
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If you're going for long-term planning, rails are cheaper than the roadway maintenance for trolleybuses.
Actually, this is one of the economic factors that killed the streetcar networks that existed many decades years ago. The city or state pays to maintain the roads. The transit agency pays to maintain the rails. In many cities, the transit agency also had to pay to maintain the pavement adjacent to the rails. By replacing streetcars with buses and tearing up the rails, transit agencies freed themselves from the maintenance cost of the right of way. I'm sure that this is factored into the operating cost estimates provided in Sound Transit's overview of the project:

Annual Operating Cost (Millions)
Streetcar: $5.2
Bus: $3.5
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Old March 18th, 2007, 07:24 AM   #485
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I don't know First Hill, but from some of the above comments I gather they may not need development or redevelopment.

I think they should go with a CNG or hybrid rapid type bus, no pantographs or guideway ifrastructure.

People will start riding all kinds of transit once they have a good backbone of rapid transit to take them longer distances, quickly, to the places they need to go--whether it's streetcar or not. One can witness this in DC. People use the Metrobuses to get to Metrorail stations and they have at their feet 8 radials extending outward and crossing over each other, none more than one rail-to-rail transfer away.

Buses share ROW utilized by many other automobiles and pedestrians, transit vehicles are usually a smaller fraction of that. Therefore the O&M cost would logically be spread around to all the users. With rail in mixed-traffic, the utility only belongs to the streetcar, therefore they would bear the brunt of the O&M cost.

Either way, given the short-life span of streetcar guideway/ROW infrastructure (20 years), any savings in operating costs would never overwhelm the captial costs which are almost 10 times higher than the bus.

If this is a politicized payoff to one particular neighborhood, then Seattle's stuck. But choosing streetcar is akin to throwing money down the toilet or into the fireplace. The economics stink and ST knows it.

I prefer to be fiscally logical when dealing with transit, even though I'm gung-ho on building as much transit as the economics will bear where rider benefit is maximized (time-savings).

I truly find it curious of the streetcar fanatics that many espouse the economics of their wishes: building lots of surface streetcar lines at relatively low cost comparted to high-cost grade-seperated HRT, as being superior. In reality the exact opposite is often true. They pick and choose which cost will give them an advantage in the argument. (I admit, I'm a HRT fanatic).

It's projects like this that make transit look bad to accountants who work for state legislatures: "you paying all your tax dollars for this"; and this is justifiably so, when compared to other transit services. This project would be a money pit. Link LR is a bargain by comparison.

I think I've said all I can say for this, lest some useful bit of new info comes up. We all have our visions and interpretations of how things are and should be.

Nate
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Old March 18th, 2007, 07:40 AM   #486
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I agree with you about heavy rail, it is so much more efficient and reliable. However the thing is, Seattle doesnt have much rail at all so people want anything that moves on rails, Plus the south lake union line of the streetcar thats started construction last July is almost done... a couple more months. So streetcars are faster to build... Central Link started construction in 2004/2005 and it wont be done till the summer of 2009...
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Old March 18th, 2007, 10:35 AM   #487
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Seattle, very beautiful, I heart it.
Well, the people there maybe somewhat extreme, at least, they know what I mean! It is hard for them to admit, but I believe that they just want to be so American. Then, I understand. Because they want it, and what's more, I know they are cute and they just want to have that.
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Old March 18th, 2007, 11:25 PM   #488
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Actually, this is one of the economic factors that killed the streetcar networks that existed many decades years ago. The city or state pays to maintain the roads. The transit agency pays to maintain the rails. In many cities, the transit agency also had to pay to maintain the pavement adjacent to the rails. By replacing streetcars with buses and tearing up the rails, transit agencies freed themselves from the maintenance cost of the right of way. I'm sure that this is factored into the operating cost estimates provided in Sound Transit's overview of the project:

Annual Operating Cost (Millions)
Streetcar: $5.2
Bus: $3.5
First up, that streetcar will *probably* not operate in mixed traffic - it'll be lane-separated and cross at crossings. I don't know for sure.

More importantly - I'm thinking total cost here, not "cost to Sound Transit". Total cost is cheaper for the streetcar per passenger served.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 01:44 AM   #489
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"Cost per passenger served" or 'Cost per ride" is not a valid economic measure of transportation performance.

Passengers X miles = passenger-miles is valid because it measures "work" performed, in this case distance. Not doing this way leads to misconception of costs and performance.

For example, in 2005 the operating cost per passenger for Core Bus service for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) was $2.65. For the Metro, it was $3.14. This would give one reason to make the argument that the bus is cheaper to operate, BUT....

The subway does more work, because those on the subway generally travel longer distances versus the bus, so....

The cost per passenger-mile of Core Bus was $0.79. The Metro $0.55.

Given the amount of work performed, the Metro was clearly cheaper to operate that year.

Simply counting individuals is meaningless in transit because the essence of transit is traveling some distance. The other factor of critical importance in transit economics is distance traveled per unit time.

Nate
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Old March 19th, 2007, 06:38 AM   #490
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
Actually, this is one of the economic factors that killed the streetcar networks that existed many decades years ago. The city or state pays to maintain the roads. The transit agency pays to maintain the rails. In many cities, the transit agency also had to pay to maintain the pavement adjacent to the rails. By replacing streetcars with buses and tearing up the rails, transit agencies freed themselves from the maintenance cost of the right of way.
The majority of streetcar lines in the US back when streetcars first came into being were operated by private corporations for profit - and they did make a profit. That is, until the suburban locations for business and living became cheaper (due to numerous reasons) and the lines were no longer making money.

I don't think there's any transit agency in the U.S. that makes a profit - it's all subsidized. Someone should correct me if I'm wrong on this for sure. I'd love to see some numbers proving that there's a U.S. agency that makes a profit on fares alone. I'd give me great hope for the future of mass transit in the U.S.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 08:31 AM   #491
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One might think NYC would be able to make a profit--if only on operating costs. I haven't analyzed the politics or admin of that system to determine why they don't. If even a transit company could afford to more than recover their operating costs, they'd have to be a huge company with deep reserves to finance capital projects.

People way back before affordable autos paid a market price for transit, it wasn't really that cheap, but they had to, or walk. Unless we return to metropolitan regions with land-use as dense as pre-WWII cities, and gas and auto operation becomes significantly more expensive, I don't see it ever happening again. I can accept transit as a public good to be at least partially paid for by the govt.

Also, returning to above, I think it was easier to build expensive capital projects way back when, because labor was cheaper due to non-unions, and environmental and human impacts weren't a concern--the latter really jacks up costs. Of the old subway systems, Cleveland was last, and I believe that was at least partially govt. financed. It opened in the mid-50s and was obsolete the day it opened. Boston and Philly got most of their tunneling done well before the auto dominated era--meaning they'd get the ridership to pay it off because people were forced to ride. Recent extension of the Red and tunneling of the elevated Orange occured during govt. financing. Chicago didn't have much tunneling relative to the size of the system.

Other cities that would have benefited from rapid transit on an operational economy with rider benefit were simply not big enough to have transit companies that could afford to take the risk of the capital project. Think of what Detroit would have been like had they built a subway....

I think the reasons airlines are still profitable is due to the fact people are willing to pay a premium because the time-savings benefit can be so incredibly high versus any other mode. Though, that may be changing, too. The airlines may soon go the way of transit.

It's an industry where no one's going to buy more than they need, so there's never a hot product. Only so many of us take joy rides on transit. Most people don't care, they just want to get to point A to B. If a car does it faster, cheaper than transit (with unlimited location mobility), you can't make money in the transit industry (outside of paratransit services, maybe). At least inter-city bus (Greyhound) still works.

Nate
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Old March 19th, 2007, 10:06 AM   #492
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Yeah. Capital costs are one thing, because they require huge investments of money. Actually, when Portland built their Yellow line light-rail, a considerable portion of the capital costs were reduced/recovered by using "green" building methods. It didn't cover the full costs if I remember correctly.

And I guiltily raise my hand at taking "joy rides" on transit. Yeah, I'm such a nerd.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 01:34 AM   #493
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And I guiltily raise my hand at taking "joy rides" on transit. Yeah, I'm such a nerd.
I take it up a notch by flying to specific cities *purely* to take joy rides on their subways. That's the Real reason. But I do go on architectural tours and some sight seeing in between subway stops! That's what I did in London and Paris. I'll be doing it again in Moscow, Madrid, and Barcelona by spring's end. For Paris, I go monthly to "visit my friends"...metro numbers 1 and 14! So I'm a nerd too...borderline subway-freak.

I just wish Seattle can build it faster. I get depressed when I think of full build-out (2020? 2030?) because I'll be so old by then...and my parents might be dead.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 01:43 AM   #494
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I can't say I've ever flown to cities for the express purpose of riding their transit systems. You have me beat.

And yes, the build-out dates for Seattle's system is rather depressing. I'll be 45 in 2030... that's way too long to wait. There's a good chance I'll be living in Portland at some point, and they're a whole lot closer to build out than Seattle. They already have 3 lines and they'll have 4 in 2009. That's only two years away. We have to wait until 2018 until we get two lines (maybe 3).
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Old March 20th, 2007, 03:12 AM   #495
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First up, that streetcar will *probably* not operate in mixed traffic - it'll be lane-separated and cross at crossings. I don't know for sure.

...
The project description section of the Sound Transit blurb for the streetcar project is provided below. Both the streetcar and bus options would have similar alignments operating in curbside street lanes with a combination of mixed traffic and business access transit-only lanes. The bus route would actually be longer with a terminus at Aloha Street, which is about a half dozen blocks further north than the proposed streetcar terminus at John Street.

http://soundtransit.org/Documents/pd...st_Hill_DP.pdf

Long Description

This capital project scope, and the companion capital cost estimate, are intended to include the entire project development cycle (agency and project administration, environmental clearance, design, all aspects of property acquisition, permits, agreements, construction, testing, commissioning and contingencies) from project initiation through the start-up of the revenue operations. This project would enhance transit service connections between First Hill, the Central Link light rail line, and downtown Seattle transit hubs with new transit service (streetcar or bus) along the Jackson Street / Broadway Avenue corridor. Two options were considered for providing service between International District Station and Capitol Hill Station via Jackson Street, 12th Ave, Boren Avenue, and Broadway:

1. Streetcar
2. New bus route

The streetcar route would extend as far north as John Street. The bus route would provide service from 2nd Ave and Jackson to Aloha Street, as that would be the logical location for bus turnarounds. An extension of the streetcar option to Aloha Street is described in project N7c.

Project Elements Included:

Streetcar (Option 1):
• At-grade in-street streetcar generally operating in curbside street lanes in combination of mixed traffic and business access transit-only lanes
• Approximately 2.2 miles in length
• Double-track entire alignment, using a one-way couplet on Jackson / King Street
• Business access transit-only lanes on Jackson (westbound only) from 5th Ave to 12th Ave and on Broadway southbound from James Street to
Terrace Street and northbound from Alder Street to Seattle Central Community College at Olive Street
• Streetcar-only lane under I-5 on King Street
• 13 streetcar stops (Seven stops are constructed as a curb bulb-out, six stops fit with existing sidewalk. Amenities include shelters, signage, lighting,
seating, and real-time passenger information)
• Light maintenance and vehicle storage facility
• Removal and replacement of the top 12 to 18 inches of pavement in streetcar lanes only
• Transit signal priority at up to 13 intersections
• Transit-only signal phase at 6 intersections
• 1 percent for art per ST policy
• 10 minute peak headways, 15 minute off-peak and weekends, 20 hours per day, 7 days per week
• Skoda-type low-floor vehicles and associated traction power supply facilities including 3 substations and OCS
• One-car trains
• 6 vehicles (including 2 spares)
• Pantograph overhead power supply
• Connection to Waterfront Streetcar on 5th Avenue

Bus (Option 2):
• Transit signal priority at up to 19 intersections
• Transit-only signal phase at 4 intersections
• Business access transit-only lanes on Jackson (westbound only) from 4th Ave to 12th Ave and on Broadway southbound from Olive Street to Terrace
Street and northbound from Alder Street to Olive Street
• Enhanced shelters with real-time passenger information at all stops
• Bus bulbs at 5 stops (all other stops are curbside)
• 7 40-ft electric trolley coaches, including one spare
• 1 percent for art per ST policy
• 10-15 minute peak, off-peak and weekends, 20 hours per day, 6 days per week (16 hours per day Sunday)

Utilities:
• Relocation of major parallel water utilities (one 32" line, one 40" line)
• Relocation of overhead trolleybus wires where necessary (no poles)
• Protection and bridging for major utility crossings
• Installation of new poles for pantograph overhead power supply

Right of-Way and Property Acquisition:
• ROW for maintenance base and vehicle storage
• Purchase of properties for widening to accommodate three 90 degree right turns at intersections
• Allowance for construction laydown area

Mitigation:
• The final project scope will include all mitigation(s) committed to by ST in pertinent, future project-level environmental documents
• Traffic mitigation during construction

Exclusions:
• Non-structural architectural and aesthetic elements in excess of the ST art program
• Replacement of displaced on-street parking
• Grade-separated pedestrian crossings
• Utility undergrounding
• Central radio communications
• Upgrading of street lighting or pavement type
• Street, sidewalk and utility upgrades or betterments not directly needed to support bus or streetcar facilities and operations
• Demolition of closed bus zones and other costs of stop consolidation
• Bus maintenance base expansion for fleet additions
• Conversion of streetcar vehicles from pantograph to trolley poles
• Additional signage at IDS or Capitol Hill light rail stations
• Other stop (station) and trackway components and amenities not specifically included
• Ticket vending machines or Smart Card readers
• Community development fund
• Third party funding

Permits Required:
• Building, electrical, mechanical, utility, construction-related
• Master use
• Street use

Agreements Required:
• City of Seattle
• WSDOT agreement for undercrossing of I-5
• King County Metro

ST has developed scope definitions for ST2 project proposals for the purposes of developing cost estimates, implementation schedules, a financial plan, and the estimation of project benefits. This scope definition should not be construed as a commitment that all defined features will be included in the final developed project.


Evaluation Measures

Average Weekday Ridership
Streetcar: 3,000 - 3,500
Bus: 2,000

Capital Cost
Streetcar: $129.7 - $149.2 in Millions of 2006$ (Bus in 2005$)
Bus: $13.4 - $15.4

Annual Operating Cost in Millions of 2006$ (Bus in 2005$)
Streetcar: $5.2
Bus: $3.5

Travel Time & Reliability
Streetcar: Medium
Bus: Medium

Connectivity & Integration
Streetcar: Medium
Bus: Medium

Land Use & Development
Streetcar: High
Bus: High

Customer Experience
Streetcar: Medium
Bus: Medium

Risk Avoidance
Streetcar: Medium
Bus: High
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Old March 20th, 2007, 03:17 AM   #496
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Quote:
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...

More importantly - I'm thinking total cost here, not "cost to Sound Transit". Total cost is cheaper for the streetcar per passenger served.
The cost numbers from the Sound Transit blurb for the project are as follows:

Capital Cost (Millions)
Streetcar: $129.7 - $149.2 (Average = $139.45)
Bus: $13.4 - $15.4 (Average = $14.4)

Annual Operating Cost (Millions)
Streetcar: $5.2
Bus: $3.5

In 2005, Sound Transit was able to take advantage of record low interest rates to sell bonds at 4.6%. This could be considered Sound Transit’s cost of capital. The annualized capital cost plus operating cost could be calculated as follows:

Annualized Capital Cost + Operating Cost (Millions per Year)
Streetcar: 0.046 x $139.45 + $5.2 = $11.61
Bus: 0.046 x $14.4 + $3.5 = $4.16

The services proposed for the streetcar and bus options are very similar yet Sound Transit predicts a much higher ridership for the streetcar. Across the Internet, you can find light rail supporters bemoaning the fact that Federal Transit Administration guidelines for predicting ridership do not feature any factor to take into account a perceived preference for rail transport over buses. Sound Transit is not likely to seek federal funds for the project, so they are not obligated to follow the Federal Transit Administration guidelines. I’ll give Sound Transit the benefit of the doubt and use their numbers:

Average Weekday Ridership
Streetcar: 3,000 - 3,500 (Average = 3,250)
Bus: 2,000

The cost per passenger is then:

Streetcar: $11.61 million/year / 3,250 daily passengers = $3572 per year per daily passenger
Bus: $4.16 million/year / 2,000 daily passengers = $2080 per year per daily passenger

The streetcar option cannot be justified based on a purely financial analysis of capital and operating costs. There have to be other reasons to want it. Possible reasons include a political deal that allowed the deletion of a transit station or a surplus of funds that must be spent in a specific sub area such as was the case for the Tacoma Streetcar.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 04:19 AM   #497
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post

The streetcar option cannot be justified based on a purely financial analysis of capital and operating costs. There have to be other reasons to want it. Possible reasons include a political deal that allowed the deletion of a transit station or a surplus of funds that must be spent in a specific sub area such as was the case for the Tacoma Streetcar.
I agree. If I apply my economics 101 class to this situation, that deleted station created an opportunity cost of a "savings" of $320 million for Sound Transit. So serving the same corridor for anything less than that while losing minimal ridership would come out as a large gain. In the streetcar case, they're saving $200 million in capital costs...not bad!
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Old March 21st, 2007, 06:16 AM   #498
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Originally Posted by greg_christine View Post
The cost numbers from the Sound Transit blurb for the project are as follows:

Capital Cost (Millions)
Streetcar: $129.7 - $149.2 (Average = $139.45)
Bus: $13.4 - $15.4 (Average = $14.4)

Annual Operating Cost (Millions)
Streetcar: $5.2
Bus: $3.5

In 2005, Sound Transit was able to take advantage of record low interest rates to sell bonds at 4.6%. This could be considered Sound Transit’s cost of capital. The annualized capital cost plus operating cost could be calculated as follows:

Annualized Capital Cost + Operating Cost (Millions per Year)
Streetcar: 0.046 x $139.45 + $5.2 = $11.61
Bus: 0.046 x $14.4 + $3.5 = $4.16

The services proposed for the streetcar and bus options are very similar yet Sound Transit predicts a much higher ridership for the streetcar. Across the Internet, you can find light rail supporters bemoaning the fact that Federal Transit Administration guidelines for predicting ridership do not feature any factor to take into account a perceived preference for rail transport over buses. Sound Transit is not likely to seek federal funds for the project, so they are not obligated to follow the Federal Transit Administration guidelines. I’ll give Sound Transit the benefit of the doubt and use their numbers:

Average Weekday Ridership
Streetcar: 3,000 - 3,500 (Average = 3,250)
Bus: 2,000

The cost per passenger is then:

Streetcar: $11.61 million/year / 3,250 daily passengers = $3572 per year per daily passenger
Bus: $4.16 million/year / 2,000 daily passengers = $2080 per year per daily passenger

The streetcar option cannot be justified based on a purely financial analysis of capital and operating costs. There have to be other reasons to want it. Possible reasons include a political deal that allowed the deletion of a transit station or a surplus of funds that must be spent in a specific sub area such as was the case for the Tacoma Streetcar.
Annualization of capital costs is a confusing concept to those not versed in finance (including myself). When money isn't being borrowed, I'm not sure what the "interest rate" means, but in The Report Instructions for the Section 5309 New Starts Criteria--May 2006 (p. 59) lists the interest rate for mixed-traffic as 0.0944% (presumably this would be the same for bus, but the cost is never covered by the transit agency, since it is shared with vehicular traffic which covers the cost; equitably, the majority of it for construction or reconstruction. I find this unclear for buses). The years of useful life must be calculated, also, here at 20 years.

Here's a handy site for those interested (yeah, almost nobody, but this is the important stuff when it comes to the Feds and the accountants in the state legislature!):

www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/annualized.htm

In that case the annualized capital costs + annual operating costs=

Steetcar: $15.76M +$5.2M= $21.0M

Bus: $1.6M + $3.5M= $5.1M

Then....

Cost of Mode per passenger-mile per day:

Streetcar: $21.0M/(3250 rides*365 days*(75% of 2.2 miles))= $ 10.73/pm

Bus: $5.1M/(2000 rides*365 days*(65% of 2.6 miles))= $4.15/pm


The bus route was estimated to be longer. I think the shorter the length of the route, the the longer the average travel distance. I think both are high, but I tried to be make a reasonable guess.

Of course, these equations don't take into account rolling stock or weekend variations in ridership that affect annual operating costs.

Such excersizes might be merely academic on boards like this, but it's useful knowledge when being transit advocates. You've got to beat the anti-transit politicos and the pundits at their games. Now Wendall Cox and Peter O'Toole would certainly approve of the above exercise, since the bus won. But the reality is that both numbers are very high, so the bus isn't really an efficient option either. The concept, as a transit service, is flawed at its inception by the politics in Seattle, apparently. The Feds wouldn't fund either alt., I'm sure, esp. since the streetcar is slower under equal operating conditions (even, I think with an electric pantograph bus).

Kub86, I think you're last comment is valid, if Seattle is cornered into this forced dillema. Otherwise, the $320M not spent could probably garner 10,000 riders somewhere else in Seattle, traveling 3 times as fast and costing 5 less to operate.

Anyway....

Nate

EDIT: Of course, the Feds calculate the annualized capital and annual operating costs together divided by total hours saved versus the baseline alternative. So the high capital-cost rail alternative rail alternative can beat the bus alternative even if the numbers like above favor the bus, if the rail saves time. Everything done above is the "cost" side, the Feds deem time savings as the largest "benefit". But it's good to have the combined capital and operating costs close. The operating costs had better be lower on the preferred alternative.

I did a rough version of the above for the 14-mile Link and got around $2.50--that whips the butts off the trolley/bus project. Too much time spent on this stuff.....

Last edited by getontrac; March 21st, 2007 at 07:43 AM.
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Old March 21st, 2007, 07:38 AM   #499
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I think the academics of the economics when looked at through the lens of politics brings a greater understanding to the way transportation is planned, and the way things are planned in general. If there's one overridingly important lesson I've learned in my studies about planning it's that it is inherently a political profession as much as a technical one.

In order to rationalize the costs involved in any project, costs must be attributed to political decisions. Essentially, the end result, when applying costs to everything, is of "economic" sense every time (though not of personal sense many times). The problem is these costs aren't always monetary, and applying a monetary cost to a political decision is near on impossible, not to mention obviously political.

The case of Seattle and this streetcar is no different. The perceived benefit outside direct monetary costs of a streetcar is greater than the the other options. Seattle's political environment feels a streetcar will give the city a particular image, attract greater ridership, and more development. These are all benefits that have no direct monetary cost, but a whole bunch of political value.

It's difficult to think of political decisions in this manner, but it's a helpful exercise in understanding the decisions. A strict financial analysis is lacking, which I think getontrac and the rest of us have been alluding to in our discussion.

Point in fact, I don't think any of us entirely disagree, only that we are all thinking of costs in a slightly different manner.

For those of us who live in the Seattle area, there are a couple community events in regards to ST2 planning. I attended a previous open house for the South End. It is an excellent venue to talk directly to the people managing the specific projects.

Incidentally, I was more interested in WSDOT's highway plans than the light rail projects at this time, because they have a greater direct affect on my life (i.e. driving habits), but both Sound Transit and DOT project managers were there to talk to, not to mention various local politicians. I found it a very useful experience.

Roads and Transit Open House:
http://www.soundtransit.org/x4799.xml

East Link Public Workshops:
http://www.soundtransit.org/x4984.xml
http://www.soundtransit.org/x4991.xml
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Old March 22nd, 2007, 02:26 AM   #500
greg_christine
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I must admit that I have always been a fan of Electric Trolley Buses (ETBs). ETBs offer many of the advantages of streetcars at a much lower price. Like streetcars, ETBs are quiet. Compared to streetcars, ETBs offer the advantages of being able to climb steeper hills and being able to maneuver around obstructions such as illegally parked cars. I am skeptical of Sound Transit's projection that a streetcar line would have much higher ridership than a similarly designed ETB line. An ETB line could be designed with many of the same amenities associated with streetcars such as shelters with seats at "stations", off-vehicle fare payment, and modern low-floor vehicles. The travel speed for an ETB would be similar to a streetcar. The chief disadvantages are that the ride quality of an ETB is not as smooth as a streetcar and the boarding of passengers in wheelchairs is not as convenient. To me, the $100+ million cost savings of ETBs relative to streetcars more than offsets these disadvantages.

Irisbus Civis trolleybus.


Interior of Irisbus Cristalis 18m trolleybus.
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