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Old 05-18-2008, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Burkina Faso
421 posts, read 625,963 times
Reputation: 115

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In most American cities comparable to Detroit (like Atlanta or Cleveland), these trains serve the purpose of getting people to the airport and downtown. It's not going to be like New York or Chicago, with people riding trains everywhere. That said though, I think it is worth having an alternative to expensive airport parking.
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Burkina Faso
421 posts, read 625,963 times
Reputation: 115
Actually on closer inspection, this project sucks. It doesn't go anywhere near the airport.
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Old 05-19-2008, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Tokyo
156 posts, read 519,189 times
Reputation: 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paddington View Post
Actually on closer inspection, this project sucks. It doesn't go anywhere near the airport.
Yeah, running shuttle buses from certain train stations to the airport seems to defeat the purpose. Maybe the combination of high gas prices and the high cost of parking (would you believe that I used to pay less per day to park at the admittedly rurally located Tokyo Int'l airport than I do at the Blue Deck at DTW?) will create sufficient demand to actually run a spur line to and from the airport.
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:28 AM
 
955 posts, read 1,983,759 times
Reputation: 401
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paddington View Post
Actually on closer inspection, this project sucks. It doesn't go anywhere near the airport.
Exactly. That's why my proposal of using the NS tracks that go right past the airport property then north to connect with the rest of the plan to Ann Arbor makes the most sense. They just won't listen to me!
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Old 05-20-2008, 02:43 PM
 
5,114 posts, read 4,810,900 times
Reputation: 4380
Info gleaned from the original video link:
  • Two rail lines will run from the edge of Downtown to Eight Mile in the middle of Woodward Avenue.
  • There will be 13 stops.
  • It is estimated to cost 371 million dollars, with the expectation that 60% of those funds will be supplied by the federal government; there is no mention of where the other 40% of the funding (148 milllion dollars) will come from.
  • It will generate 12 thousand new jobs.
  • It will make 11 thousand trips daily.
  • It will required an annual subsidy of $140 million dollars; there is no mention of where this money will come from.
So, let's say it's 8 miles long. Those 11,000 trips daily must mean 11,000 passengers daily. If it meant 11,000 trips up to Eight Mile, then that's 88,000 miles traveled in a 24 hour period...or 29 trips across the continental United States, travelling at greater than 3600 miles per hour (more than Mach 4).

11,000 passengers and 12,000 employees...sounds like some employees won't get their own personal passenger and will need to share with other employees.

140 millon dollar annual subsidy for 11,000 trips daily works out to about $35 per trip. Assuming that a trip can't exceed the length of the railway (8 miles) that's $4.375 per mile travelled. If you had a car that got only ONE mile per gallon, paying for gas for commuting in said car would still be cheaper than taking the proposed light rail system.

This is a proposed jobs program wrapped up in a political dog-and-pony show, possibly timed to change the current political topics.

It's in the same vein as the Alaskan "Bridge to No-Where" or Oakland County's M-5 Connector (connecting the I-696/I-96/I-275 freeway exchange to...the Eldorado Country Club?).

Don't misunderstand me, I'm in favor of a good mass transit system for Detroit.

This is NOT a mass transit plan...accept no substitutes.

Last edited by djmilf; 05-20-2008 at 03:41 PM.. Reason: Added some thoughts
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Old 05-21-2008, 08:41 PM
 
1,851 posts, read 2,291,983 times
Reputation: 1864
djmilf - It is amazing how self-assured people are on the Internet.

I will attempt to be meek, because I may not be smart enough to understand your math, but I think it is wrong. You state that it would cost $4.375/mile for the train, while (assuming a car gets 1 mile/gallon at $4.00/gallon) then traveling by car would be cheaper. But I THINK YOUR MISSING SOMETHING HERE.

That car only carries one individual. The train carries around 50 (?)(In fact, 2 trains could be connected to one another to carry 100 people). So yes, it is cheaper PER MILE to travel by car. HOWEVER, I believe the important factor here is the cost per mile PER PASSENGER. The "per passenger" cost would be $4.375/50=$0.09 per mile per passenger for the train, while for a car (assuming 1 passenger) the cost would be $4.00 per mile per passenger.

Did I interpret your math right?

Last edited by usroute10; 05-21-2008 at 08:47 PM.. Reason: Bad English
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Old 05-22-2008, 08:09 AM
 
5,114 posts, read 4,810,900 times
Reputation: 4380
usroute10 - no, you didn't interpret my math correctly.

In paragraph 2 of my original message, I assumed that the 11,000 trips daily (this number is stated in the original video) implied that one trip equals one passenger. If it implied one train-trip carrying 50 or 100 passengers moving up Woodward then we're back to travelling a distance equivalent to 23 times across the continental US moving at better than 4 times the speed of sound (11,000 trips x 8 miles per trip is 88,000 miles; 88,000 miles divided by 24 hours is 3,666 miles per hour).

Also, for sake of argument, if one trip equals 50 passengers, then 11,000 trips daily means that the rail line would move more than half a million people per day. I don't know for certain how many jobs there are in downtown detroit, but I don't think that it's even close to half a million.

If the rail line will require a 140 million dollar annual subsidy to run (again, this figure is taken from the video), then that's roughly $383,500 per day. At 11,000 passengers per day, that's $34.86 per passenger.

My imaginary car getting 1 mpg was to make an absurd point. The only vehicles that I know of that get such poor gas mileage are armored military vehicles. Most cars get about 18-22 mpg city, most trucks get 12-15 mpg city. In reality, the cost in gasoline would be $2.67 (8 miles at 12 mpg is 2/3 of a gallon, 2/3 of a gallon at $4.00 per gallon is $2.67). If our hypothetical commuter drove a Toyota Prius (at 48 mpg city), then he'd pay only 66 cents for his gasoline (8 miles at 48 mpg is 0.17 gallons of gas, at $4.00 per gallon is $0.66).

Me, self-assured? Possibly. People who deal with me on a regular basis have even labelled me arrogant. I've taken their point and tried to correct my behaviour, but sometimes I'm not successful. I need to work harder on this.

My argument, correct? Maybe, maybe not. I'm not perfect and I do make mistakes; it's why I try to show my work when I make a point. Maybe I'm wrong about the $140 million dollar annual subsidy: maybe the speaker in the video got it wrong, maybe I didn't hear it correctly. Maybe my calculations are incorrect: maybe I made an arithmetic error or misapplied an equation. Maybe my assumptions are incorrect.

Point out the flaws in my argument, not the flaws in my personality.

Until then, I stand by my original assessment: this isn't a good mass transit proposal.
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Old 05-22-2008, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Burkina Faso
421 posts, read 625,963 times
Reputation: 115
Your argument is completely plausible. The Toledo Blade (not exactly a conservative paper) said that each regular rider on the bus was subsidized something like $25,000 a year, which is enough to buy them a new car plus free gas each year. And it costs a lot more to build and run a train line than a bus.
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Old 05-22-2008, 03:07 PM
 
1,851 posts, read 2,291,983 times
Reputation: 1864
Mr (or Mrs. Djmilf) it is apparent that you are a very intelligent person (I am not being sarcastic!). I have a comment and a question.

The comment is this - you are not considering that each passenger also has to pay a fare. If it is $1.50 per trip, some of that $140 million can be recouped.

Also, it would be good to know what that $140 million would be spent on. Would it be spent on operations as well as maintenance. If this is the case, then we would have to factor in the maintenance costs of each person driving their individual car into the financial analysis. And maybe also factor in the cost of road maintenance/snow removal, etc.

The question: what is a good mass transit proposal? Is a requirement that it HAS to go into the suburbs? Is that why y'all think its not a good proposal? Or do you object to the extraordinary price tag in a climate of economic turmoil in Michigan?

I applaud the City of Detroit in proposing this. If we had to rely on the suburbs, we probably would not have accomplished anything because of the disunity and distrust. If your objection is that it doesn't go into the suburbs, then don't fret. It can always be extended later if there is a need. LET'S JUST GET SOMETHING STARTED, and we can add on in the future.

To Paddington, I am too lazy to research this, but I have heard many, many times, that although it costs a lot more to build a train line than to provide buses, it costs LESS to operate a train then a bus, and trains have higher passenger capacity and last a whole lot longer than buses.
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Old 05-22-2008, 04:18 PM
 
5,114 posts, read 4,810,900 times
Reputation: 4380
OK, there might be a flaw in my example of the supersonic transit car covering a distance of 23 times across the United States in a 24 hour period...there might me more than ONE car making the trip!

So assuming 11,000 round trips daily (I went back to the video and checked this fact), that's 176,000 miles travelled daily (I was originally assuming a one-way trip of 8 miles, but it's actually a round trip of 16 miles). If there were 250 transit cars, then there would be only 44 trips per car each day. Each transit car would need to travel 704 miles each day, or 29 miles per hour (assuming that they are in continuous usage for 24 hours). Since these transit cars would need to all be in operation at the same time then roughly speaking they would be equidistant on the 16 mile loop. That means that if you miss a transit car, there's another one following along 330 feet behind it.
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