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Old 02-11-2015, 09:40 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
NYC or LA could probably make great use of a BRT system that took the two center lanes of every freeway.
NYC? Despite the complaints about Moses-era highway construction many of the freeways don't pass right by where people live. They pass more through industrial areas or right by the waterfront. And a freeway transit stop is oftenawkward for pedestrians to access. The BQE/Gowanus is a mix, but it's usually a bit peripheral to the residential areas. And the G subway parallels most of its route, with the R paralleling the Gowanus. Belt Parkway? Too far on the edge. Long Island Expressway? Western Queens has subways in more useful locations (underneath Queens Blvd), eastern Queens has the LIRR whose Queens stations get infrequent service, they could support at least the same amount of service as the suburban DC Metro or BART, the Port Washington is nowhere near capacity while the 7 subway line is. Van Wyck Expressway? Maybe, it would be a crosstown route, going perpendicular to the directions rail is going. The northern section passes through parkland, so not useful for transit stops. But maybe as an express Jamaica to Flushing route. But instead of BRT, why not use rail? There's already AirTrain going through the median of the southern part of the Van Wyck, extend it to Flushing and add a few intermediate stops. Can't see any other expressway that'd make sense.

Los Angeles less sure of, though there's a light rail line in the middle of a freeway.
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Old 02-11-2015, 10:20 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,061 posts, read 16,078,369 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
There's not really that much difference functionally between a completely grade separated busway and light rail, but most BRT isn't that. And at the cost of a completely grade separated busway, you're approaching light rail costs.



Except the quote was that nowhere in the US can light rail stand on its merits, that's a rather strong statement. And I can think of a few obvious counterexamples.

One: Green Line extension to Somerville (near Boston). There's already a right of way and an existing underground light rail tunnel going downtown (similar to the MUNI Market Street tunnel in San Francisco). Light rail fits better with existing transit than buses. Perhaps they were referring to completely new systems, however
Except that's not what it says. Go back and read the whole page rather than just the soundbite. Tell me if you disagree with what it actually says. Your already pretty much onto it. You maybe just read the soundbite out of context.
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Old 02-11-2015, 10:48 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,265,973 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanlife78 View Post
This can be curbed with more modern buses, running them as electric or hybrid buses. The stigma only really exists in areas that lack a good public transportation infrastructure. I know here in the Northwest, Seattle and Portland. When buses are clean, safe, and run on time and on a regular schedule with very short wait times, they tend to be more attractive to people to ride.
I personally know many people in places like San Francisco and Toronto who are happy to use the light rail
and metro systems on a regular basis but will rarely if ever take the bus. If they have to go somewhere
where the metro or light rail/streetcar doesn't go they will opt to drive their car, call a Taxi or Uber, etc.

Which tells me the 'bus stigma' exists even in places with good transit. In the morning and evening rush
hour for example I notice the streetcars, light rail and metro systems are always filled with commuters
in business suits but I don't recall the last time I saw someone get on the bus wearing a business
suit.

Buses are useful of course but it seems even city people will try to avoid it whenever they can using it
only if they really have to. For example they live and work somewhere in the city or go to school where the
light rail or metro doesn't take them and it isn't convenient or possible to drive, they will take the bus.
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Old 02-11-2015, 10:53 PM
 
1,478 posts, read 2,002,048 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
These ridiculous pax counts are not only suspicious but they're not apples to apples. If you're using double artic buses with a crush load of 270 pax then maybe you can get to those numbers with every bus at crush load. But the double artix are not exclusive on TransMilenio - there are plenty of non-artix and single artix in the mix so if we're assuming that every bus is at crush load then the average is probably more like 200 pax per bus and then you'd need 205 buses per hour per direction to sustain that passenger count. That's a bus every 18 seconds or less . . . which means that the dwell time has to be stupid short. I don't know if you've ever been on a crush load transit vehicle and watched people try to get on and off but it takes longer than a few seconds. I also don't know if you've ever been on a platform at a busy busway station but you have no idea which berth your bus will pull up to until it's in the station so it's also a total crapshow as people run from one of the platform to the other trying to catch their bus - which also significantly increases dwell times.

In other words, the only way you get these ridiculously high pax counts is to have a lot of through running express service that doesn't have to share platform space with the other buses at the terminus.

It's preposterous to rely on these arguments about capital costs.

NYC or LA could probably make great use of a BRT system that took the two center lanes of every freeway. That's how you build BRT on the cheap - by taking existing infrastructure - and that was exactly what was done in Bogota as well as in a few other cities. BRT isn't cheap in the capital sense when it has to be grade separated from scratch. Brisbane is over $1 billion at this point and that's after taking a 5 mile stretch of ROW from the Pacific Motorway and suffering from major congestion at several choke points because it was too expensive to fully grade separate there. It's also silly to compare construction costs in places like Colombia to those in the US.

Further, the reported high capacity of BRT comes at very high operating costs. 205 buses an hour on the Pittsburgh busway would cost ~$18,000/hour. On the LA Orange Line it would cost a good deal more. Moving the same amount of passengers on BART costs $5,125/hour. For the US light rail average, assuming shorter trains, then moving 41,000 pph would cost ~$13,000/hour . . . but then that's the benefit of having a rail system. For a capital investment platforms can be made longer and cars can be added to your train and it will lower your operating costs per revenue hour. Every time you want to add capacity to a busway you're not only making a capital investment but you're also raising your operating costs.

Like I've said, BRT is a good fit for a lot of US cities with low densities and in most cases would be a reasonable substitute for light rail but no one should pretend that in a high a volume situation it's cheaper to operate or that the lower capital costs are significant enough to make up for it.
Exactly. That 41K figure was actually cited prior to the introduction of biarticulated buses btw. So what you really have a 160pax buses generating this volume...or 256 buses per hour (the actual number is 280 buses per hour btw). That's a Indycar pit stop for dwell times (<13 sec). They only hit these #s with two very liberal advantages:

Their def of capacity wouldn't be tolerated from a safety standpoint. 7 people per q meter would drop to 4.5-5.0 in USA, Canada, Western Europe, and Australia (among other places). That right there drops the capacity here to about 25-26K.

The system can't get hit their numbers without heavy reliance upon express, as you mentioned. If every bus stopped at every stop, they'd have to execute <15 second stops. The actual stops during peak times are a bit over 30 because people are jockeying for position. Add to that the people who bypass the fare collection by crossing roads, people leaving buses who cross the road to avoid the platforms, etc and buses can't get in and out cleanly. They enhance capacity by creating multiple access points and bus queues, but that also complicates entry and exit. Looking at the routes, it looks like buses on average hit something a bit under 50% of all stops...which means you need sufficient overtaking lanes. The system in high capacity areas couldn't do this with one bypass lane each way. You'd need two. At a station, that'4 lanes plus two loading lanes, a platform and two buffer zones to separate the system from passenger traffic. That's 85 feet min, probably closer to 90-95 of ROW. You can't get that on US streets where there is density to support that kind of volume. The only example I can think of off the top of my head is Ocean Pkwy in Brooklyn. You'd need a really long stretch of road at high density with a lot of width. Good luck securing that much ROW there. We couldn't get that much ROW on a freeway either.

Bogota at 41K = USA at about 26K (ignoring the ROW and overtaking lane requirement). Cut that down to a single overtaking lane each way, and the "practical" capacity of the system is probably about 15K...ignoring operating cost issues, the likelihood of development tolerating that kind of bus traffic, etc.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:02 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,519,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
I personally know many people in places like San Francisco and Toronto who are happy to use the light rail
and metro systems on a regular basis but will rarely if ever take the bus. If they have to go somewhere
where the metro or light rail/streetcar doesn't go they will opt to drive their car, call a Taxi or Uber, etc.

Which tells me the 'bus stigma' exists even in places with good transit. In the morning and evening rush
hour for example I notice the streetcars, light rail and metro systems are always filled with commuters
in business suits but I don't recall the last time I saw someone get on the bus wearing a business
suit.

Buses are useful of course but it seems even city people will try to avoid it whenever they can using it
only if they really have to. For example they live and work somewhere in the city or go to school where the
light rail or metro doesn't take them and it isn't convenient or possible to drive, they will take the bus.
Oh I am not saying the stigma doesn't exist in places like that as well, though for those that you know in San Francisco and Toronto that won't use the bus but will use rail, there are people that are more than happy to use the bus. All one has to do is look at the bus ridership numbers in those cities. I know here in Portland we have a large percentage of people who willingly ride the bus rather than use their car to commute downtown.
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Old 02-12-2015, 12:21 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,061 posts, read 16,078,369 times
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Great, here we go on the hypothetical carrying capacities no one cares about. So BRT can only "hypothetically practically carry" numbers around what heavily used heavy rail systems can (BART carries about 21,000 peak inbound). The "hypothetical practical capacity" being 15,000 instead of the actual capacity being 41,000 might actually matter if anyone was talking about replacing BART with BRT. And nobody is. Meanwhile, light rail like Portland's tends to cap out at around 2,000. Seattle's Link was designed so it could be scaled up to about 5,600.
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Old 02-12-2015, 01:14 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
46,053 posts, read 29,519,126 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Great, here we go on the hypothetical carrying capacities no one cares about. So BRT can only "hypothetically practically carry" numbers around what heavily used heavy rail systems can (BART carries about 21,000 peak inbound). The "hypothetical practical capacity" being 15,000 instead of the actual capacity being 41,000 might actually matter if anyone was talking about replacing BART with BRT. And nobody is. Meanwhile, light rail like Portland's tends to cap out at around 2,000. Seattle's Link was designed so it could be scaled up to about 5,600.
What caps out at around 2,000 in Portland? I am not sure what you are talking about here.
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Old 02-12-2015, 02:52 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,954,813 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
NYC? Despite the complaints about Moses-era highway construction many of the freeways don't pass right by where people live. They pass more through industrial areas or right by the waterfront. And a freeway transit stop is oftenawkward for pedestrians to access. The BQE/Gowanus is a mix, but it's usually a bit peripheral to the residential areas. And the G subway parallels most of its route, with the R paralleling the Gowanus. Belt Parkway? Too far on the edge. Long Island Expressway? Western Queens has subways in more useful locations (underneath Queens Blvd), eastern Queens has the LIRR whose Queens stations get infrequent service, they could support at least the same amount of service as the suburban DC Metro or BART, the Port Washington is nowhere near capacity while the 7 subway line is. Van Wyck Expressway? Maybe, it would be a crosstown route, going perpendicular to the directions rail is going. The northern section passes through parkland, so not useful for transit stops. But maybe as an express Jamaica to Flushing route. But instead of BRT, why not use rail? There's already AirTrain going through the median of the southern part of the Van Wyck, extend it to Flushing and add a few intermediate stops. Can't see any other expressway that'd make sense.
I'm glad you worked all of that out

My point wasn't necessarily that we should do it but that it's more or less what happened in Bogota and a lot of other Latin American BRT cities. It was done on the cheap by taking existing infrastructure.

That's the lie of BRT - that it's cheap because it was cheap in Columbia.
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Old 02-12-2015, 03:49 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,954,813 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Great, here we go on the hypothetical carrying capacities no one cares about.
I think what people care about are apples to apples comparisons. You're accusing other people of fantasy but you're throwing out questionable stats about a BRT system that doesn't exist in the US or Canada (or Europe or Australia). Your TransMilenio fantasy world doesn't add up in any sense and that's why you routinely avoid responding directly to critiques of passenger counts or costs.

Quote:
So BRT can only "hypothetically practically carry" numbers around what heavily used heavy rail systems can (BART carries about 21,000 peak inbound).
BART is probably more like 28,000 peak hour at this point . . . but if every train were a 10 car train then capacity is closer to 60,000 which they've probably approached for a few recent special events.

Quote:
The "hypothetical practical capacity" being 15,000 instead of the actual capacity being 41,000 might actually matter if anyone was talking about replacing BART with BRT.
Two problems here - 1. 41,000 isn't the actual capacity of any line in the TransMilenio system. It's the capacity of half a dozen or more lines added together because they share part of a route 2. You're talking about replacing LRT with BRT except that the "hypothetical practical capacity" of LRT is similar to that of heavy rail. If it makes you feel better replace "BART" with "LA Blue Line" and give it all of the grade separation of your hypothetical North American BRT.
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
4,164 posts, read 4,617,184 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhamoutlook View Post
I have recently become quite a bit more interested in the transportation side of planning and I think it's because I moved to a city without an efficient public transit. For a long time, the argument has been about what to do to improve the transit and Light Rail and BRT are the two things that keep coming up. I've done quite a bit of research on them but still don't seem to have a good understanding of exactly how they are built.

The city studies keep coming back to BRT because of cost. However, I look around the city and don't see any current streets/highways that can be converted to BRT without significant infrastructure changes. Also, many of these routes are heavily used by cars.

So, I'm left with this... Does BRT require building a lot of new roads? Expanding the width of current roadways? If all of this work is required, how is this cheaper than light rail or even heavy rail?

Maybe this has all been covered here a thousand times but I'm just curious. The city (I live in Birmingham, AL) just won the bid for the World Games in 2021. They have now switched to the idea of Light Rail. (I think they are wanting to do something a little more impressive for visitors???) They are hoping to have about a 10 mile line completed by then. Do you all think that's even possible?
Very interesting thread for me so thanks for starting it. Here in Indy they're working on a massive overhaul of the barely existent public transit we have that would include 4 or 5 BRT lines. Original proposal had light rail but the state government would only pass it if light rail was banned as an option so that light rail line has converted to a BRT route. It means tearing up the tracks that are already in place but currently they are heavy rail tracks. My understanding is they would have to have been rebuilt anyway for light rail. So this BRT vs light rail debate is interesting to me.
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