BRT vs LRT

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BRT vs LRT

  • a synopsis of a study of the 2 methods brings up many questions as to how both are being evaluated after starting service. 2 main things are passenger growth and costs of building. study author says not enough information is required after service starts to evaluate a project especially on BRT. author will post more on study later but take a look so far -------

    http://www.railwayage.com/index.php/blogs/lyndon-henry/research-study-new-lrt-projects-beat-brt-on-capital-cost-ridership-measures.html?channel=

     

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  • Lyndon Henry excludes BRT that runs in mixed traffic because he considers it not to be rapid transit at all.  He looks only at BRT on a dedicated roadway.  

    However, by putting BRT on a dedicated roadway in congested areas and then moving it onto roads in outlying areas we can often get sufficient speed in both places with a cost reduction where buses are simply running on roads.  That is, of course, a compromise.  But it is a compromise with a lot of good points.  

  • BRT does not get a lot of oversight.  The biggest disadvantage is that you can not increase the capacity in relation to available manpower like you can with MU'ing streetcars with rail.

              The line I would cite as a major success in the late 70's was San Diego's San Ysidro line. It was a major embarrassment to USDOT. Not because it was built under budget, opened early, got 115% of its operating revenue from the fare box.  But because it did all this without any federal funding.

             San Francisco Muni is very happy with their rail fleet because of its crush capacity. Also San Francisco gets it's power from a city owned Hetch Hetchy dam.  Numerous times Muni has been quite glad to not have to pay unpredictable prices for diesel fuel.   In addition to it's rail fleet Muni also has an extensive electric bus fleet.  In addition Muni does not like having to use large(articulated) buses due to the fuel expense(in addition to some oddball engines). 

          Muni concluded a long time ago that BRT that was used is Los Angeles at the time was not the way to go. They also had a very good idea of the cost.

         I am not sure about Seattle's experience but I would note that they do not run diesel buses thru their tunnel's only electric.

           I would also point out that Los Angeles MTA has converted much of their BRT to rail and I think Salt Lake City did the same.

    Rgds IGN

  • "Our study..... Major challenges ..., were that not only is there no standard, consistent process for evaluating how well these projects meet their goals, but in fact crucial data elements are either obscured or unavailable for convenient public access."

    If there are no standard, consistent processes for evaluating the projects, why would anyone place any credence in the author's conclusions?  

    "Data for DMU light railway projects were also a problem......, reliable data for only one such project—North County Transportation District's Sprinter line linking Oceanside and Escondido, California."  

    The cost of Capital Metro's Red line from Leander to downtown Austin, although not central Austin, which is a DMU line, is very well known. The data has been published in numerous sources. In addition, the annual operating costs for the Red Line are available in Austin's annual budgeting and financial statements.  This guy was an analyst for Capital Metro, and he does know the cost numbers that have been cited by several sources?

    The capital costs to upgrade the Austin and Western for the Red Line commuter service are debatable. The debate centers around Capital Metro claiming that some of the upgrades would have been made irrespective of the planned operation of commuter trains on the railroad. They allocated these costs to freight operations.  I don't know of anyone who believes them.

    "These results suggest that BRT projects do not have any particular advantage when very heavy installation (tunnels, elevated structure, etc.) is involved."  

    Agreed!  But the BRT projects planned for Texas don't involve extensive capital expenditures. The buses will run along existing roadways, i.e. Preston Road in Dallas, Lamar Blvd. in Austin, etc. The capital improvements for Austin's 37.5 mile BRT system are estimated to be $1.3 million per mile.  They include pullover zones, new stations, traffic signal upgrades, etc. Similar numbers have been projected for Dallas and San Antonio. They do not include the cost of the buses.

    The estimated cost of a proposed light rail system from Austin's airport to downtown and on to the University of Texas campus is approximately $48 to $50 million per mile. This does not include the equipment. These numbers square with the estimated cost to construct the light rail lines in Dallas.

    For FY11 the average subsidy for light rail passengers in Dallas was $4.82. The average for bus riders was $5.82. The subsidy for RBT riders probably would be between the two, suggesting that it would take a lot of riders and a long time for the spread to cover the capital cost variances. This is especially true after factoring in the financing costs.

    What is the best solution to urban transportation problems is the key question. In some areas it may be light rail; in others it could be BRT. The notion that one size fits all does not sit well with me.  Neither does this study. 

  • narig01

    BRT does not get a lot of oversight.  The biggest disadvantage is that you can not increase the capacity in relation to available manpower like you can with MU'ing streetcars with rail.

              The line I would cite as a major success in the late 70's was San Diego's San Ysidro line. It was a major embarrassment to USDOT. Not because it was built under budget, opened early, got 115% of its operating revenue from the fare box.  But because it did all this without any federal funding.

             San Francisco Muni is very happy with their rail fleet because of its crush capacity. Also San Francisco gets it's power from a city owned Hetch Hetchy dam.  Numerous times Muni has been quite glad to not have to pay unpredictable prices for diesel fuel.   In addition to it's rail fleet Muni also has an extensive electric bus fleet.  In addition Muni does not like having to use large(articulated) buses due to the fuel expense(in addition to some oddball engines). 

          Muni concluded a long time ago that BRT that was used is Los Angeles at the time was not the way to go. They also had a very good idea of the cost.

         I am not sure about Seattle's experience but I would note that they do not run diesel buses thru their tunnel's only electric.

           I would also point out that Los Angeles MTA has converted much of their BRT to rail and I think Salt Lake City did the same.

    Rgds IGN 

    According to the San Diego Transit Fact Sheet, the current fare-box recovery for the trolleys is approximately 55 per cent.  That is better than anything that I have seen for any other transit system.

    I was in Seattle just before Thanksgiving. I popped down to the transit tunnel, which is unique. The tunnel was hoisting light rail vehicles and fossil fueled buses.  I am not sure whether they were diesel or natural gas.  I did not seen any trolly buses in the tunnel.  

  • Seattle's transit tunnel was opened with dual-mode trolleybus but the conversion to light rail involved changing the overhead to 12,50 or 1,500V DC precluding continued use of the dual-mode buses.   The bus operation now is supposed to be hybred, with battery power in the tunnel, but actually battery power is only used to start out of stations, then diesel is used to the next station.   As far as I am concerned this was a far more expensive and disruptive conversion than was needed.  Glad to comment further on  separate thread if desired.

    Approximately 16,000 passengers per hour past a particular point in one direction on one lane, or more, rail is the way to go.   Less, bus.   Capitol costs vs. operating costs.   That is the rule-of-thumb gleaned from a number of successful projects.

  • One unquantifiable factor that is understandably overlooked is the cachet of rail service of any sort (light rail, rapid transit or commuter rail) over bus rapid transit in attracting riders.  For some reason, people who would not ride a bus would be willing to ride light rail or other rail services.

    Paul The commute to work may be part of the daily grind, but I get two train rides a day out of it.
  • 16,000 passengers per hour minimum before rail?  That is 267 passengers per minute.  Let's see you move 250 passengers a minute in each direction past a particular point with buses.

    Dave

    Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow

  • CSSHEGEWISCH

    One unquantifiable factor that is understandably overlooked is the cachet of rail service of any sort (light rail, rapid transit or commuter rail) over bus rapid transit in attracting riders.  For some reason, people who would not ride a bus would be willing to ride light rail or other rail services.

    It depends a lot on the bus.  If the BRT vehicle is really just a low floor urban, articulated vehicle, with lousy seats, HVAC, ride quality and noisy, with a 50 mph top speed.  you won't get many takers for a 40 minute ride, regardless of ROW.  

    However, if you offer up nice high floor, integrated HVAC, 70 mph, reclining seat, air ride machines, you won't have a problem, even if they use existing highways.

    -Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

  • Phoebe Vet

    16,000 passengers per hour minimum before rail?  That is 267 passengers per minute.  Let's see you move 250 passengers a minute in each direction past a particular point with buses.

    55 people on 2 second headways at 60 mph is about it for a bus - 55 x 60 /2 = 1650 pass/min.  

    -Don (Random stuff, mostly about trains - what else? http://blerfblog.blogspot.com/

  • Don,  

    Could your clarify how we get buses to leave on a 2 second headway.

    Do you mean that a bus can be loaded in 2 seconds?

    Or do you mean that you could have several buses loading at the same time so they could leave 2 seconds apart?  And if so how many buses would that take?

    Or do you mean something else?

    John

  • Sam1

    According to the San Diego Transit Fact Sheet, the current fare-box recovery for the trolleys is approximately 55 per cent.  That is better than anything that I have seen for any other transit system.

    I was in Seattle just before Thanksgiving. I popped down to the transit tunnel, which is unique. The tunnel was hoisting light rail vehicles and fossil fueled buses.  I am not sure whether they were diesel or natural gas.  I did not seen any trolly buses in the tunnel.  

     

                I was referring to the first 2 years of operation.  From downtown to the border at San Ysidro. It was a very heavily used line from the border to downtown.   This lines success was what convinced San Diego city  leaders that mass transit was worth the investment.  Especially compared to trying to build more highways.  

                Seattle, I'm not as familiar with Seattle's tunnel as I should be. I was wrong about Seattle.

    Rgds IGN

     

  • Also this is what I'd found on BRT.

    :  http://improve-public-transport.wikispaces.com/intro_BRT#brtdefinition

    Rgds IGN

  • 1.   My error.   The 16,000 figure was really for two lanes, on in each direction.   And 125 passengers per minute in one lane is a maximum feasible goal, with articulated buses carrying 125 passengers and operating at one per minute.   (In the Lincoln Tunnel bus lanes, one bus per 45 seconds is normal.).   This might require skip-stop service with long platform lanes that the express bus can pass.    8.000 is the right figure for one lane, not 16,000.  My apologies.    The headway in one lane is 60 seconds, not 2 seconds.

  • daveklepper

    1.   My error.   The 16,000 figure was really for two lanes, on in each direction.   And 125 passengers per minute in one lane is a maximum feasible goal, with articulated buses carrying 125 passengers and operating at one per minute.   (In the Lincoln Tunnel bus lanes, one bus per 45 seconds is normal.).   This might require skip-stop service with long platform lanes that the express bus can pass.    8.000 is the right figure for one lane, not 16,000.  My apologies.    The headway in one lane is 60 seconds, not 2 seconds.

    I still find it difficult to imagine running 125 passenger articulated buses on one minute headways being more efficient than rail.  Those buses in the Lincoln Tunnel are not stopping to load passengers.

    Dave

    Lackawanna Route of the Phoebe Snow