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Old 05-04-2010, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Rochester
599 posts, read 783,233 times
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Default Light rail vs Heavy rail

Which form of mass transit is more ideal for traveling around a city?
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Old 05-04-2010, 08:50 PM
 
324 posts, read 339,931 times
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Heavy rail moves more people.. Plus alot of light Rail systems just look like buses and feels that way, especially when u look over and your almost in traffic.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Chicago
721 posts, read 937,347 times
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Heavy Rail by far. I don't understand the rage about light rail. They remind me of old streetcars.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:47 PM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
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Light rail is cheaper to build and you can add capacity really easy as opposed to a bus line. They also run mostly on grade separated or street separated railways which means little to no traffic interference. Buses run with traffic and get stuck easily in Traffic. Streetcars run with traffic , and just like a Light Rail vehicle capacity can easily be added , many cities have plans to rebuild Streetcars on busy bus routes. It was a big mistake to rip up our streetcar / rail network last century , it could have reduced our need for oil and sovle most of our suburbia / urban congestion. But i believe many cities will rebuild or expand there Rail / streetcar networks slowly over the next 50 years.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:49 PM
 
Location: ITP - City of Atlanta Proper
6,477 posts, read 6,500,432 times
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By every measure (speed, capacity, convenience) subways smash light rail into the ground. Just look at the numbers.

Top 10 Weekday ridership numbers for cities with a subway in number of passengers:

1. NYC - 7,791,700
2. D.C. - 935,200
3. Chicago - 646,300
4. Boston - 481,300
5. San Fran - 358,500
6. Philadelphia - 308,900
7. Atlanta - 247,200
8. NYC-Jersey City (PATH) - 244,300
9. LA - 139,200
10. Miami - 60,200

Top 10 Weekday ridership numbers for cities with light rail only (this excludes Boston, SF, LA, Philly, Jersey City, and Baltimore because they have subway systems and for additional reasons I'll explain later) in number of passengers:

1. Portland - 112,400
2. San Diego - 93,100
3. Dallas - 63,200
4. Denver - 61,800
5. St. Louis - 57,600
6. Sacramento - 56,800
7. Salt Lake City - 45,200
8. Phoenix - 33,500
9. San Jose - 33,200
10. Minneapolis - 33,200

As you can see, only Portland and San Diego do a reasonably good job of moving a large amount of people with their light rail systems. However, it is not nearly as good as the cities that have subways that are capable of moving almost the entire resident population of their city in a day without even blinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dncr View Post
Heavy Rail by far. I don't understand the rage about light rail. They remind me of old streetcars.
By itself, I agree that it is a substandard mass transit model, but it is not without merit. When Light-rail is used in an area with at least a reasonably high population density and is integrated in conjunction with a subway system then it works quite well. For instance, look at the light rail usage data for cities that meet that criteria:

1. Boston - 237,700
2. San Francisco - 186,200
3. L.A. - 142,100
4. Philadelphia - 94,800

The reason why the usage is so much higher for these cities is that the light rail element has a large number people who use the subway portion of the system to rapidly go from one part of the city to another and then use light rail to get around the neighborhood in a similar fashion to a bus. Since a light rail car can carry more people than a bus NYC, DC and Atlanta all have plans to restart their streetcar/light rail systems as an addendum to their subways in the same way the four cities above do.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:56 PM
 
Location: Oak Park, IL
5,179 posts, read 7,910,831 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waronxmas View Post
By every measure (speed, capacity, convenience) subways smash light rail into the ground. Just look at the numbers.

Top 10 Weekday ridership numbers for cities with a subway in number of passengers:

1. NYC - 7,791,700
2. D.C. - 935,200
3. Chicago - 646,300
4. Boston - 481,300
5. San Fran - 358,500
6. Philadelphia - 308,900
7. Atlanta - 247,200
8. NYC-Jersey City (PATH) - 244,300
9. LA - 139,200
10. Miami - 60,200

Top 10 Weekday ridership numbers for cities with light rail only (this excludes Boston, SF, LA, Philly, Jersey City, and Baltimore because they have subway systems and for additional reasons I'll explain later) in number of passengers:

1. Portland - 112,400
2. San Diego - 93,100
3. Dallas - 63,200
4. Denver - 61,800
5. St. Louis - 57,600
6. Sacramento - 56,800
7. Salt Lake City - 45,200
8. Phoenix - 33,500
9. San Jose - 33,200
10. Minneapolis - 33,200

As you can see, only Portland and San Diego do a reasonably good job of moving a large amount of people with their light rail systems. Even with this in mind, it is not nearly as good as the cities that have subways that are capable of moving almost the entire resident population of their city in a day without even blinking.



By itself, I agree that it is a substandard mass transit model, but it is not without merit. When Light-rail is used in an area with at least a reasonably high population density and is integrated conjunction with a subway system then it works quite well. For instance, look at the light rail usage data for cities that meet that criteria:

1. Boston - 237,700
2. San Francisco - 186,200
3. L.A. - 142,100
4. Philadelphia - 94,800

The reason why the usage is so much higher for these cities is that the light rail element has a large number people who use the subway portion of the system to rapidly go from one part of the city to another and then use light rail to get around the neighborhood in a similar fashion to a bus. Since a light rail car can carry more people than a bus NYC, DC and Atlanta all have plans to restart their streetcar/light rail systems as an addendum to their subways in the same way the four cities above do.
Its a bit of the chicken versus egg problem. Heavy rail costs a lot more than light rail, so requires high population density to make the investment worthwhile.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:57 PM
 
Location: Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
8,904 posts, read 6,248,007 times
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heavy rail by far, moves quicker, can hold more people, etc.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:06 PM
 
Location: ITP - City of Atlanta Proper
6,477 posts, read 6,500,432 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oakparkdude View Post
Its a bit of the chicken versus egg problem. Heavy rail costs a lot more than light rail, so requires high population density to make the investment worthwhile.
This is true, at $100 to $200 million per mile to build, building a new subway system in any city just isn't feasible. Unless there is some great technological advancement, it will be quite some time before we see a city with a new subway system.

But that doesn't change the fact that in order for a light rail system to even approach the capacity levels of a subway system, it would have to be built in a similar fashion to a subway system in which case it would end up being just as expensive as building a subway. So why not just build a subway? Chicken meet egg.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:33 PM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,336 posts, read 12,982,925 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachael84 View Post
heavy rail by far, moves quicker, can hold more people, etc.
Light Rail can hold the same amount of people. It all depends on the size of the LRT Train.

Quote:
Originally Posted by waronxmas View Post
This is true, at $100 to $200 million per mile to build, building a new subway system in any city just isn't feasible. Unless there is some great technological advancement, it will be quite some time before we see a city with a new subway system.

But that doesn't change the fact that in order for a light rail system to even approach the capacity levels of a subway system, it would have to be built in a similar fashion to a subway system in which case it would end up being just as expensive as building a subway. So why not just build a subway? Chicken meet egg.
Not really , up here in the Northeast & in the Midwest many cities are cutting costs by using old abandoned or lightly used freight lines to save costs on building LRT. Most LRT systems are above ground unlike Heavy rail which is both. LRT uses cheaper materials and isn't worn out as fast. The cost is usually 1-5 million per mile for Light Rail.
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:38 PM
 
Location: ITP - City of Atlanta Proper
6,477 posts, read 6,500,432 times
Reputation: 3630
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
Light Rail can hold the same amount of people. It all depends on the size of the LRT Train.



Not really , up here in the Northeast & in the Midwest many cities are cutting costs by using old abandoned or lightly used freight lines to save costs on building LRT. Most LRT systems are above ground unlike Heavy rail which is both. LRT uses cheaper materials and isn't worn out as fast. The cost is usually 1-5 million per mile for Light Rail.
While that is all good and well (and Atlanta is in the process of doing the same with it's old service rail network), those systems alone can not and do not approach the capacity and speed of a subway system. The only reason the Green Line in Boston has subway-esque usage is because:

1. Used in a extremely high density city.
2. Was build like a subway.
3. Connects to a subway.

Same thing goes for MUNI in San Francisco and SEPTA.
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