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PHLspecial
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Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:07 pm

It is easy to use the Coronavirus to say public transit is dangerous...

Since we are talking about funding in the U.S. currently why not discuss the issue of funding public transit.
Should the U.S. buff it or kill it?
Why is public transit deemed not valuable in the U.S?


I would consider large and medium sized cities for this discussion. We would be talking about local level transit so commuter rail, subways, rapid transit lines such as subways, street cars/trolleys, bus rapid transit, and bus network. Not amtrak.
Buffing transit would have positive economic impact, for every dollar spend on public transit would yield 2/3 times more spending on the economy through direct (buying trains, fuel, etc...) and inducted impact (boosting retail or restaurants).
Killing it would save billions on tax payer money and car finance companies would receive a major boost along with car manufactures
The way U.S. markets itself that its all about efficiency and growing denser in cities that public transit would be rising in usage before the pandemic.
 
LabQuest
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:51 pm

Its not valuable in most of the country because its no dense enough to support it economically. Keep it in bigger cities.

There's no reason to have bullet train service from New York to Dallas when its still going to take 3x the time and cost more than a southwest ticket.
 
cpd
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:03 pm

PHLspecial wrote:
It is easy to use the Coronavirus to say public transit is dangerous...

Since we are talking about funding in the U.S. currently why not discuss the issue of funding public transit.
Should the U.S. buff it or kill it?
Why is public transit deemed not valuable in the U.S?


I would consider large and medium sized cities for this discussion. We would be talking about local level transit so commuter rail, subways, rapid transit lines such as subways, street cars/trolleys, bus rapid transit, and bus network. Not amtrak.
Buffing transit would have positive economic impact, for every dollar spend on public transit would yield 2/3 times more spending on the economy through direct (buying trains, fuel, etc...) and inducted impact (boosting retail or restaurants).
Killing it would save billions on tax payer money and car finance companies would receive a major boost along with car manufactures
The way U.S. markets itself that its all about efficiency and growing denser in cities that public transit would be rising in usage before the pandemic.


It could be worth investing in it. But possibly also not just for passengers but freight too, high speed freight between major cities/destinations might be useful.

Design the trains locally as well, perhaps even build them locally too, then export them. Australia would surely buy then in an instant, like it did the F35.

The alternative is to go the other direction and rip up all train tracks across the USA and scrap all of the trains. Everything goes by road or by plane.
 
Redd
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:23 pm

cpd wrote:


The alternative is to go the other direction and rip up all train tracks across the USA and scrap all of the trains. Everything goes by road or by plane.


Considering the major role that rail plays in US shipment of freight, the tracks are essential to the American economy. Rail moves more cargo than road in the US.
 
ltbewr
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:48 pm

One problem with mass transit is that costs so much and people want cheap fares subsidized by taxes.

Mass transit including regional light and heavy rail, buses with express lanes in metro areas can have significant benefits. When new lines put in or expanded, property values go up along them, pollution is reduced, less traffic. We also need to do as done in some cities around the world, to limit commercial deliveries during peak hours, curb the number of Uber/Lift cars operating, consider more use of congestion pricing/tolls, more flexibility in work schedules, allow more working from home and more affordable housing close to working areas.

One thing I would like to see is more freight on trains and less by truck for long distances. It is very wasteful to have 100's of trucks hauling farm goods from Central California to the East coast when 1-2 trains operating in an better system of logistics could do it in the same or less time, no worries as to weather, fewer workers, less hassle with work time rules, with trucks doing the 'last mile'. There would also be significant environmental benefits too.
 
rfields5421
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:54 pm

Within a city or metro area, I see mass transit as a combination of light rail and buses as working and doing a decent job for those who must use it.

The American psyche is such that driving a personal vehicle is much more desirable than using public transit. For several years that I worked in downtown Dallas, taking the DART bus was significantly cheaper than driving, paying for parking in a private lot, and a lot less stressful. But I lived within a quarter mile of a bus stop, and my work was just three small blocks over from the downtown stop.

One other lady drove five miles and parked for free in a DART lot in Carrolton, but no one else was in a position to use the bus.

When we go to events in downtown Dallas, or the convention center, even to the State Fair or to see Broadway plays at the Music Hall in Fair Park, we always use light rail. Also trips to the Dallas Zoo. It's just so much less hassle.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
PHLspecial
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:33 pm

ltbewr wrote:
One problem with mass transit is that costs so much and people want cheap fares subsidized by taxes.

Mass transit including regional light and heavy rail, buses with express lanes in metro areas can have significant benefits. When new lines put in or expanded, property values go up along them, pollution is reduced, less traffic. We also need to do as done in some cities around the world, to limit commercial deliveries during peak hours, curb the number of Uber/Lift cars operating, consider more use of congestion pricing/tolls, more flexibility in work schedules, allow more working from home and more affordable housing close to working areas.

One thing I would like to see is more freight on trains and less by truck for long distances. It is very wasteful to have 100's of trucks hauling farm goods from Central California to the East coast when 1-2 trains operating in an better system of logistics could do it in the same or less time, no worries as to weather, fewer workers, less hassle with work time rules, with trucks doing the 'last mile'. There would also be significant environmental benefits too.


Roads don't exactly operate for free either. Roads are subsidized as well.
I do agree on more freight trains which means eventually more track is needed to be laid down for some of the busy corridors in this country. I don't see long distance trains being successful but trains connecting cities within 300 miles is worth it. Though I see that intercity trains and commuter rail is a powerful asset to have in a city.
 
PHLspecial
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:36 pm

rfields5421 wrote:
Within a city or metro area, I see mass transit as a combination of light rail and buses as working and doing a decent job for those who must use it.

The American psyche is such that driving a personal vehicle is much more desirable than using public transit. For several years that I worked in downtown Dallas, taking the DART bus was significantly cheaper than driving, paying for parking in a private lot, and a lot less stressful. But I lived within a quarter mile of a bus stop, and my work was just three small blocks over from the downtown stop.

One other lady drove five miles and parked for free in a DART lot in Carrolton, but no one else was in a position to use the bus.

When we go to events in downtown Dallas, or the convention center, even to the State Fair or to see Broadway plays at the Music Hall in Fair Park, we always use light rail. Also trips to the Dallas Zoo. It's just so much less hassle.


I think the DART light rail has done a great job in connecting business districts and entertainment centers for easy access to the city, suburbs and airport.
Unfortunately/(fortunately?) oil is cheap so yeah more Americans drive now.
 
apodino
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:56 pm

Funny you started this thread because I was thinking about this today and reminiscing about my own childhood growing up in Boston riding the T. For whatever reason, the powers that be sometime in the early 20th century decided that Cars were the way to go and that everything would be designed around the Car and not mass transit. This led the to Eisenhower Interstate System being constructed and led to a lot of old streetcar systems going under, and a lot of railroad bankruptcies as well (Penn Central is the noteworthy one, as at one time this was the largest company in the US). Now in the US everything is designed around the automobile and mass transit seems to be an afterthought in most big cities. However more and more cars are piling onto roads, more and more climate changing pollution is poured into our air, and increased traffic is leading to more and more time wasted commuting instead of at work or home with family. The result is every household is required to own a vehicle just about, which itself is a Tax (a tax that corporate America reaps the benefits of), unless they are fortunate enough to live in an area with good mass transit. (In the US, the only big cities that would fit this bill are Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, and San Francisco)

I would like to see public transit in the big cities comporable to cities such as London, New York, and Chicago. I see a lot of opportunities out there if the politicians would grow a pair and make it happen.

Dallas - The metroplex is one big sprawling area, and the Dart has good coverage on that side, but the transit over in Fort Worth is terrible and that area is booming. Additionally, Arlington and Grand Prairie could benefit from systems that are linked to both Dallas and Fort Worth. (Jerry Jones has long lobbied against public transit, especially in Arlington, and if you have ever seen parking rates at Cowboy's games, you can understand why)

Los Angeles - LA has made great progress in this area and continues to do so, but most of what they offer is Light Rail, and I would like to see another Heavy Rail line or two out there.

Orlando - A rail link between MCO, International Drive, and Disney World would be huge for this area.

Those are a few. I could name many more out there.

LabQuest wrote:
Its not valuable in most of the country because its no dense enough to support it economically. Keep it in bigger cities.

There's no reason to have bullet train service from New York to Dallas when its still going to take 3x the time and cost more than a southwest ticket.

We aren't talking High Speed Rail here. New York to Dallas is an area where Flying is always going to be better. High Speed Rail is a whole different debate.


One question that does need to be asked is why does it cost us so much to build transit infrastructure in this country? Many of the projects in NY City, such as the East Side Access and the Second Avenue Subway, cost way more per mile to build than systems in other parts of the world, noteably London (They may not be able to build runways there, but they can build rail) If you can figure out ways to keep the costs of this stuff down, it becomes a much more attractive alternative.
 
PHLspecial
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:09 pm

LabQuest wrote:
Its not valuable in most of the country because its no dense enough to support it economically. Keep it in bigger cities.

There's no reason to have bullet train service from New York to Dallas when its still going to take 3x the time and cost more than a southwest ticket.


Please I would like to keep the conversation within a metro area of a city. So again commuter rail, subways, trolleys, BRT, bus networks. I'm trying to keep the this discussion in major cities and medium sized cities. It is worth it to invest in my opinion.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:34 pm

Living in a big city with half-decent public transport (and current major investments in new metro lines) I'm still surprised by questions on travel forums around "how do I use public transit?"

Stupidly surprised, having grown up in a cioty where public transit was an afterthought.

My travels in the US have been mainly in the NE, and a commuter card has been one of my first purchases in NY, DC and Boston (I may still have a Charlie card in my wallet, given my semi-regular visits). What apodino says above makes a lot of sense, especially the MCO-attractions line.

What I'm looking towards with interest is post-COVID. Even though restrictions are easing in Australia, public transit usage is still around 20% of pre-COVID. I wouldn't say some of our investments will be white elephants, but I do suspect that a bunch of jobs which have moved to home/outside downtown/CBD will stay there, and transit capacity may be better than planned.
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kalvado
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 10:40 pm

One problem is that "invest" is not the end of the story. US average cost of public transportation is $1 per passenger-mile, and all transit systems require subsidy - in NYC fares cover 50% of MTA costs (with tax free fuel). Our 1M area local transit takes $4 subsidy per $1.50 fare, again with the tax free fuel. They wouldn't cover payroll with fares even in best of times.
"green" is also a very queastionable statement, average fuel economy is around 30 passenger-miles per gallon. Better than a single-occupancy vehicle, but not much. The only thing that public transportation does is encourages less travel and higher density. Which has its own can of worms as recent events have shown
 
TSS
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:17 pm

kalvado wrote:
One problem is that "invest" is not the end of the story. US average cost of public transportation is $1 per passenger-mile, and all transit systems require subsidy - in NYC fares cover 50% of MTA costs (with tax free fuel). Our 1M area local transit takes $4 subsidy per $1.50 fare, again with the tax free fuel. They wouldn't cover payroll with fares even in best of times.


I've often wondered how proponents of public transit would react if they had to pay the actual break-even (not overall investment, just break-even to maintain existing infrastructure) cost per fare and not a highly subsidized version of same.

kalvado wrote:
"green" is also a very questionable statement, average fuel economy is around 30 passenger-miles per gallon. Better than a single-occupancy vehicle, but not much. The only thing that public transportation does is encourages less travel and higher density. Which has its own can of worms as recent events have shown


I think the general feeling on all such things is that if you're uncomfortable, e.g. being forced to sit next to at best someone you'd never speak to and at worst someone you'd normally cross the street to avoid while having no control over the interior climate and wondering (or worse, KNOWING) what the heck that nasty smell is, then it must be "green" in some way. in other words, the "Hair Shirt Syndrome".
Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
 
LabQuest
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:19 pm

PHLspecial wrote:
LabQuest wrote:
Its not valuable in most of the country because its no dense enough to support it economically. Keep it in bigger cities.

There's no reason to have bullet train service from New York to Dallas when its still going to take 3x the time and cost more than a southwest ticket.


Please I would like to keep the conversation within a metro area of a city. So again commuter rail, subways, trolleys, BRT, bus networks. I'm trying to keep the this discussion in major cities and medium sized cities. It is worth it to invest in my opinion.


Oh well yeah inside mid-large cities for sure. I think many are doing light rail networks which are super nice in the downtown core and nearby neighborhoods.
 
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Channex757
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:34 pm

Public transport has to be an attractive option to work well. Comfortable, clean options such as those American-built Proterra electric buses or street-running metro systems using 1500v DC overhead power.

Vehicles with working aircon and heating, and a lack of diesel fumes belching out of the back. Eventually economies of scale kick in and those subsidies start to shrink. It's money well spent and if it is more desirable for the USA then public-private partnerships can work. Where I live has light rail with street running sections inside towns and the uptake has been nothing short of amazing. Millions of passenger journeys taken off the road.
 
apodino
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:35 pm

kalvado wrote:
One problem is that "invest" is not the end of the story. US average cost of public transportation is $1 per passenger-mile, and all transit systems require subsidy - in NYC fares cover 50% of MTA costs (with tax free fuel). Our 1M area local transit takes $4 subsidy per $1.50 fare, again with the tax free fuel. They wouldn't cover payroll with fares even in best of times.
"green" is also a very queastionable statement, average fuel economy is around 30 passenger-miles per gallon. Better than a single-occupancy vehicle, but not much. The only thing that public transportation does is encourages less travel and higher density. Which has its own can of worms as recent events have shown


A couple of issues with your post. I don't like the term miles per gallon since most Light and Heavy rail systems operate on Electricity. Electricity leads to no emissions, and thus is a much greener option.

One part of Rail costs that other forms don't have to deal with is infrastructure. Railroads have to maintain their own infrastructure such as rails. This is not true in other forms of transit. Trucking companies, bus companies, and people who drive their cars do not have to maintain the road ways. (And in fact this makes it very easy for Politicians to ignore when crafting budgets). The airlines do not maintain Runways and Taxiways at major airports. But the railroads have to maintain their own tracks. If you take away this fact, and just focus on operating and maintaining vehicles, the costs would be very comparable. If I am not mistaken, over in the UK the Government maintains the rails but private companies operate the trains.

So I think when talking about Transit infrastructure. If you look at the tax dollars as going to maintain the infrastructure, this is no different than any other form of transportation where tax dollars do maintain the infrastructure. If the fares are covering the costs of the vehicles and operating the vehicle and maintaining them, in all honesty its not any different than any other form of transportation. Because of the infrastructure, there is no such thing as unsubsidized transportation.
 
LCDFlight
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Tue Jun 09, 2020 11:44 pm

(US views only) Public transit is a huge bugaboo for transportation planning pros (I guess I used to do some low level planning at major airlines).

The cost structure for public transit is frequently so ridiculous that it is cheaper to lease each rider a decent car. That's value destruction. Seeing a shiny $400,000 bus with three people in it, emitting tons of CO2, obstructing traffic, with a professional driver who gets a pension plan, does not make sense.

Once you have spent a few years inside the airlines, honing the micro details of a perfectly balanced network that serves people at the most efficient cost, the details of public transit are mind blowingly dysfunctional. It is more about politics than it is about transportation.

Yes, I am not including the New York Subway, which is marvelous.

But nothing gets me going like the High Speed Rail debate, where hippies claim it will "save money." That is truly special.

The future for public transit is privately-operated autonomous pod transportation (perhaps subsidized for the needy). This will happen in 8-10 years. This will require no budget and no taxpayer input. This will completely take care of the cost problem, the convenien e problem AND many traffic / density parking problems. This is the big story of public transportation. It will go away.&c
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:12 am

I don't like the term miles per gallon since most Light and Heavy rail systems operate on Electricity. Electricity leads to no emissions, and thus is a much greener option.


So, electricity just shows up without any pollution? Wow!

Trucking for farm goods, even transcontinental, makes a lot of sense. Pick up at the farmer’s field, delivered cross-country, in three days. No train service can come close especially for perishables. Kenny Monfort made a fortune guaranteeing beef deliveries in 48 hours anywhere in the US from his feedlots in Greeley, CO.
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:18 am

I think the best option for HSR in the US is use it to connect cities that are about a 5 hour drive/1 hour flight from each other and do it on a regional authority. Like Houston-Dallas/San Antonio/Austin/New Orleans, Chicago-Milwaukee/St. Louis/Indianapolis, etc...

No one is going to take the train from coast to coast or even Chicago to NYC, unless hyperloop lives up to its promise... But intraregional can work IMO.
When wasn't America great?


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kalvado
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:20 am

apodino wrote:
A couple of issues with your post. I don't like the term miles per gallon since most Light and Heavy rail systems operate on Electricity. Electricity leads to no emissions, and thus is a much greener option.

62% of US electricity comes from fossil fuel. so much for no emissions.
Besides, as you mentioned, rails may not exist in many areas. You may add that to the city street - but you start with bulldozing bunch of buildings... Good luck

Airports in US are required to break even.
apodino wrote:
One part of Rail costs that other forms don't have to deal with is infrastructure. Railroads have to maintain their own infrastructure such as rails. This is not true in other forms of transit. Trucking companies, bus companies, and people who drive their cars do not have to maintain the road ways. (And in fact this makes it very easy for Politicians to ignore when crafting budgets). The airlines do not maintain Runways and Taxiways at major airports. But the railroads have to maintain their own tracks. If you take away this fact, and just focus on operating and maintaining vehicles, the costs would be very comparable. If I am not mistaken, over in the UK the Government maintains the rails but private companies operate the trains.

Airports in US are required to break even. Airport fees are numerous, you may be better off asking about that in general forum. Gas taxes are not covering full cost of road maintenance, but there is a lot of fine print there. For example, I pay about 2 cents per mile in gas taxes for my car. Yes, I am not shoveling dirt - but I guess railroads may outsource the maintenance as well.
While we're at this, city buses largely run on tax-free fuel.

apodino wrote:
So I think when talking about Transit infrastructure. If you look at the tax dollars as going to maintain the infrastructure, this is no different than any other form of transportation where tax dollars do maintain the infrastructure. If the fares are covering the costs of the vehicles and operating the vehicle and maintaining them, in all honesty its not any different than any other form of transportation. Because of the infrastructure, there is no such thing as unsubsidized transportation.

Significant difference here is that a lot of aviation and road taxes are charged from actual users. In my area, local transit authority collects mortgage recording tax as significant source of revenue - completely unbundling actual users from those taxes. It may make some sense to cross-subsidize; but you are just talking some alternative truth here.
 
kalvado
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:35 am

LCDFlight wrote:
Once you have spent a few years inside the airlines, honing the micro details of a perfectly balanced network that serves people at the most efficient cost, the details of public transit are mind blowingly dysfunctional. It is more about politics than it is about transportation.


TSS wrote:
I've often wondered how proponents of public transit would react if they had to pay the actual break-even (not overall investment, just break-even to maintain existing infrastructure) cost per fare and not a highly subsidized version of same.

I had a chance to compare public transportation in Canada, namely Calgary, with public transportation in similar-sized area in upstate NY.
Observation 1: it costs more than 2x as much per ride in Canada
Observation 2: It was so convenient!
The explanation I heard - Canada doesn't subsidize as much, so transportation agency truly depends on riders - and the agency has to actually work to gain ridership. That means running routes where demand is, and not where another politician wants to draw a line; work to make transit attractive and actually usable, and actually winning the paying customer. Subsidies reserved for those with low income - and again that means they are paying customers who's business has to be won.
So do we want more subsidies..errr.. I mean investment is US?
 
DiamondFlyer
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 1:50 am

kalvado wrote:
apodino wrote:
A couple of issues with your post. I don't like the term miles per gallon since most Light and Heavy rail systems operate on Electricity. Electricity leads to no emissions, and thus is a much greener option.

62% of US electricity comes from fossil fuel. so much for no emissions.
Besides, as you mentioned, rails may not exist in many areas. You may add that to the city street - but you start with bulldozing bunch of buildings... Good luck


Rails did exist in most places in this country, but consolidation and trucking has made it so that the class 1 railroads don't care about carload freight. Anything less than a unit train and they're really not interested in customers complaints. Especially in light of PSR taking over. Railroads should be moving anything over 500 miles in this country, with trucks doing the last mile delivery where needed.
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rfields5421
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 2:55 am

Kent350787 wrote:
Living in a big city with half-decent public transport (and current major investments in new metro lines) I'm still surprised by questions on travel forums around "how do I use public transit?"


It does take a bit of an education. My granddaughter raised in Dallas and a user of DART light rail was overwhelmed by the NYC Subway/ rail system. Lucky she had PawPaw to show her what to look for. When I took my wife to Paris France (not Texas, been there many times also).

She was shocked that I had no trouble with the rail/ subway system. I told her Paris was easy, I learned to use light rail and subways in Tokyo. We used the Metro when we went to DC. I refuse to try to drive my 22' long pickup truck into DC. Same thing when we went to the Arch in St Louis from Scott AFB. My wife was raised in St Louis and had never seen the Arch up close. Though, she left there as an adult in 1960.

In Paris, we made a day trip to London and back in about 14 hours one day. Took my father about three months to go from London to Paris in 1944.

It is hard to explain to many people who don't have the concepts and have been conditioned to driving everywhere. But with practice, almost anyone can get it quickly and find the benefits.

The biggest problem is finding out how to buy tickets. What zones are, but it's not hard to learn.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
Kent350787
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 3:24 am

rfields5421 wrote:
Kent350787 wrote:
Living in a big city with half-decent public transport (and current major investments in new metro lines) I'm still surprised by questions on travel forums around "how do I use public transit?"

The biggest problem is finding out how to buy tickets. What zones are, but it's not hard to learn.


I totally agree with this - just try to buy a Charlie Card in Boston, although the MetroCard is readily available in NYC! I've mostly used mass transit for my work commute for over 30 years now, and it's the only sensible way for downtown travel, especially in peak periods. Both our kids have stored value cards at home and just use the transit they need to. The youngest in particular has easily worked out the systems in most cities we've travelled, including connections (Google maps helps a lot :) )

At least a number of systems worldwide with tap and go turnstiles are integrating with electronic payment systems. In Sydney, you can just tap your credit card - which is great unless you're a family travelling together. Stored value cards are widely available.

A people have said, mass transit is best at just that - moving lots of people point to point. It relies on density, either of residences or employment, for the value case to stack up.

Slightly related - I was in NOLA in early January, and was amazed to see police on duty directing traffic to allow cars to exit parking garages downtown druing peak hour. I have travelled reasonably widely, but maybe not to a car focussed large downtown?
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Kiwirob
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:34 am

PHLspecial wrote:
Killing it would save billions on tax payer money and car finance companies would receive a major boost along with car manufactures
The way U.S. markets itself that its all about efficiency and growing denser in cities that public transit would be rising in usage before the pandemic.


You think all the people who use public transport would just rush out and buy cars if public transport was gone? A lot of those people simply can't afford cars. Think of the huge increase in traffic and vehicle related pollution. Think of all the massive new road building projects that would need to be started to handle this massive new influx of vehicles, then there is the parking issue, you'd need significantly more parking.
 
Kiwirob
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:44 am

TSS wrote:
kalvado wrote:
One problem is that "invest" is not the end of the story. US average cost of public transportation is $1 per passenger-mile, and all transit systems require subsidy - in NYC fares cover 50% of MTA costs (with tax free fuel). Our 1M area local transit takes $4 subsidy per $1.50 fare, again with the tax free fuel. They wouldn't cover payroll with fares even in best of times.


I've often wondered how proponents of public transit would react if they had to pay the actual break-even (not overall investment, just break-even to maintain existing infrastructure) cost per fare and not a highly subsidized version of same.


If you're going to do that then people would need to pay the full cost of driving, those roads aren't maintained and built for free, there is a cost you know.
 
tommy1808
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 7:32 am

PHLspecial wrote:
It is easy to use the Coronavirus to say public transit is dangerous...


It's also nonsense. Look at the amount of Public Transport South Korea and Taiwan have, and compare to the lack of Corona cases.

Kiwirob wrote:
TSS wrote:
kalvado wrote:
One problem is that "invest" is not the end of the story. US average cost of public transportation is $1 per passenger-mile, and all transit systems require subsidy - in NYC fares cover 50% of MTA costs (with tax free fuel). Our 1M area local transit takes $4 subsidy per $1.50 fare, again with the tax free fuel. They wouldn't cover payroll with fares even in best of times.


I've often wondered how proponents of public transit would react if they had to pay the actual break-even (not overall investment, just break-even to maintain existing infrastructure) cost per fare and not a highly subsidized version of same.


If you're going to do that then people would need to pay the full cost of driving, those roads aren't maintained and built for free, there is a cost you know.


:checkmark:

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I don't like the term miles per gallon since most Light and Heavy rail systems operate on Electricity. Electricity leads to no emissions, and thus is a much greener option.


So, electricity just shows up without any pollution? Wow!


While true, the improvement per year exceeds fuel consumption improvements quite easily.

Kenny Monfort made a fortune guaranteeing beef deliveries in 48 hours anywhere in the US from his feedlots in Greeley, CO.


That's a decission, not a limitation. I can ship stuff by train about twice as fast as a courier driver, let a lone a truck, if I want to and my customer is willing to pay for it.
Unless it's from nowhere to nowhere that can be done quicker than ordering courier by helicopter. For about 1% of the price btw.

Trains can beat any road vehicle if the transportation system is set up for it, which rail cargo usually isn't due to focus on bulk cargo.
Automation plays a huge roll in that, there is no reason why a single cargo rail car (with electrical engine and battery) couldn't go the last couple of miles from/to a main track autonomous at low speeds, get picked up by a cargo train and proceed to close to its destination at 100mph.

ltbewr wrote:
One problem with mass transit is that costs so much and people want cheap fares subsidized by taxes.


Of course, why would someone on a train not just pay for that but also subsidize roads? Which is what you do if you dont use up road space.

Best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
TSS
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:02 am

Kiwirob wrote:
TSS wrote:
kalvado wrote:
One problem is that "invest" is not the end of the story. US average cost of public transportation is $1 per passenger-mile, and all transit systems require subsidy - in NYC fares cover 50% of MTA costs (with tax free fuel). Our 1M area local transit takes $4 subsidy per $1.50 fare, again with the tax free fuel. They wouldn't cover payroll with fares even in best of times.


I've often wondered how proponents of public transit would react if they had to pay the actual break-even (not overall investment, just break-even to maintain existing infrastructure) cost per fare and not a highly subsidized version of same.


If you're going to do that then people would need to pay the full cost of driving, those roads aren't maintained and built for free, there is a cost you know.


Yep, and that cost is paid by taxes on fuel along with a few other ways depending on area, so that the people who use the roads are the ones who pay for them.
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tommy1808
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:11 am

TSS wrote:
Kiwirob wrote:
TSS wrote:

I've often wondered how proponents of public transit would react if they had to pay the actual break-even (not overall investment, just break-even to maintain existing infrastructure) cost per fare and not a highly subsidized version of same.


If you're going to do that then people would need to pay the full cost of driving, those roads aren't maintained and built for free, there is a cost you know.


Yep, and that cost is paid by taxes on fuel along with a few other ways depending on area, so that the people who use the roads are the ones who pay for them.


Nope. That is no longer the case, that is why Infrastructure in the US is falling apart and the highway trust fond going bust.

best regards
Thomas
Well, there is prophecy in the bible after all: 2 Timothy 3:1-6
 
kalvado
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 9:06 am

tommy1808 wrote:
TSS wrote:
Kiwirob wrote:

If you're going to do that then people would need to pay the full cost of driving, those roads aren't maintained and built for free, there is a cost you know.


Yep, and that cost is paid by taxes on fuel along with a few other ways depending on area, so that the people who use the roads are the ones who pay for them.


Nope. That is no longer the case, that is why Infrastructure in the US is falling apart and the highway trust fond going bust.

best regards
Thomas

Bingo! At least sorting out tax mess is relatively straightforward approach to discuss.
Now back to buses running on tax free fuel and having axle load 5x of a car (and road wear is proportional to 4th power of that)
 
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:41 pm

kalvado wrote:
One problem is that "invest" is not the end of the story. US average cost of public transportation is $1 per passenger-mile, and all transit systems require subsidy - in NYC fares cover 50% of MTA costs (with tax free fuel). Our 1M area local transit takes $4 subsidy per $1.50 fare, again with the tax free fuel. They wouldn't cover payroll with fares even in best of times.

Many major cities, such as New York, would come to a complete halt if you shut down mass transit and expected everyone to drive. How do you get hundreds of thousands of people into Manhattan on a Monday morning if they all have to drive and park? Making mass transit an affordable option helps keep the roads open to those who need them. Traffic in New York is bad enough without dumping thousands of more vehicles into the mix if mass transit isn't an option.
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kalvado
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:51 pm

Moose135 wrote:
kalvado wrote:
One problem is that "invest" is not the end of the story. US average cost of public transportation is $1 per passenger-mile, and all transit systems require subsidy - in NYC fares cover 50% of MTA costs (with tax free fuel). Our 1M area local transit takes $4 subsidy per $1.50 fare, again with the tax free fuel. They wouldn't cover payroll with fares even in best of times.

Many major cities, such as New York, would come to a complete halt if you shut down mass transit and expected everyone to drive. How do you get hundreds of thousands of people into Manhattan on a Monday morning if they all have to drive and park? Making mass transit an affordable option helps keep the roads open to those who need them. Traffic in New York is bad enough without dumping thousands of more vehicles into the mix if mass transit isn't an option.

Great questions. However a bigger question is if megacities like NYC are a sustainable idea to begin with.

As for keeping things "affordable" - this is where fundamental feedback principles of society are broken. If employer can get away with paying the wage which doesn't cover housing and commute cost, I would rather let that position go unfilled until payscale is properly adjusted rather than subsidize underpaid position. Eventually, with enough unfilled positions, cost of operations in a megacity must cause downsizing - eventually bringing things to sustainability.
Transit in a mid-sized city may be much easier and cheaper to operate, and even then I would favor Canadian approach of providing subsidies to those in need rather than to transit agencies.
 
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:06 am

LCDFlight wrote:
(US views only) Public transit is a huge bugaboo for transportation planning pros (I guess I used to do some low level planning at major airlines).

The cost structure for public transit is frequently so ridiculous that it is cheaper to lease each rider a decent car. That's value destruction. Seeing a shiny $400,000 bus with three people in it, emitting tons of CO2, obstructing traffic, with a professional driver who gets a pension plan, does not make sense.

Once you have spent a few years inside the airlines, honing the micro details of a perfectly balanced network that serves people at the most efficient cost, the details of public transit are mind blowingly dysfunctional. It is more about politics than it is about transportation.

Yes, I am not including the New York Subway, which is marvelous.

But nothing gets me going like the High Speed Rail debate, where hippies claim it will "save money." That is truly special.

The future for public transit is privately-operated autonomous pod transportation (perhaps subsidized for the needy). This will happen in 8-10 years. This will require no budget and no taxpayer input. This will completely take care of the cost problem, the convenien e problem AND many traffic / density parking problems. This is the big story of public transportation. It will go away.&c

Pod transportation would cost more than our current system? Plus wouldn't have the same problem as cars? The bottleneck being humans entering/exiting pods and whatever stations platforms they have for pods to safely let humans get off and on. High rail on shorter distances do make sense and is profitable as Amtrak proves.
 
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:09 am

kalvado wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:
TSS wrote:

Yep, and that cost is paid by taxes on fuel along with a few other ways depending on area, so that the people who use the roads are the ones who pay for them.


Nope. That is no longer the case, that is why Infrastructure in the US is falling apart and the highway trust fond going bust.

best regards
Thomas

Bingo! At least sorting out tax mess is relatively straightforward approach to discuss.
Now back to buses running on tax free fuel and having axle load 5x of a car (and road wear is proportional to 4th power of that)

If you don't have a bus you will have 5x or more of cars on the road. That would also lead to wear as well if you want to play that game.
 
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:16 am

LabQuest wrote:
Its not valuable in most of the country because its no dense enough to support it economically. Keep it in bigger cities.

There's no reason to have bullet train service from New York to Dallas when its still going to take 3x the time and cost more than a southwest ticket.

Commercial airlines service is also a form of public transit, so there's little point to bring the plane vs train argument into public transit debate
It's pointless to attempt winning internet debate.
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 6:25 am

tommy1808 wrote:
Kenny Monfort made a fortune guaranteeing beef deliveries in 48 hours anywhere in the US from his feedlots in Greeley, CO.


That's a decission, not a limitation. I can ship stuff by train about twice as fast as a courier driver, let a lone a truck, if I want to and my customer is willing to pay for it.
Unless it's from nowhere to nowhere that can be done quicker than ordering courier by helicopter. For about 1% of the price btw.

Trains can beat any road vehicle if the transportation system is set up for it, which rail cargo usually isn't due to focus on bulk cargo.
Automation plays a huge roll in that, there is no reason why a single cargo rail car (with electrical engine and battery) couldn't go the last couple of miles from/to a main track autonomous at low speeds, get picked up by a cargo train and proceed to close to its destination at 100mph.

One thing with freight railroad is that they tend to be optimized toward heavy load and modest speed, according to my understanding, and it caused the slow speed of many passenger train services currently operated in the United States by Amtrak.
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 7:20 am

PHLspecial wrote:
kalvado wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:

Nope. That is no longer the case, that is why Infrastructure in the US is falling apart and the highway trust fond going bust.

best regards
Thomas

Bingo! At least sorting out tax mess is relatively straightforward approach to discuss.
Now back to buses running on tax free fuel and having axle load 5x of a car (and road wear is proportional to 4th power of that)

If you don't have a bus you will have 5x or more of cars on the road. That would also lead to wear as well if you want to play that game.


For one, given the average car occupancy of 1.67, there would be 10+ cars for most of those heavy busses, but wear and tear on streets essentially explode with axle loading, as that flexes the road surface. So, that bus will do more damage than those 10+ cars in most circumstances. By quite a margin. Heavy trucks however are much worse still....
That is however not the only cause of wear and tear, in most climates streets break down quite nice even without use, and you'd need about 5 times more road surface for 10 cars than for one bus. In densely populated areas a single bus may replace 30+ cars. That extra road costs much more than fixing the extra damage from the bus.

c933103 wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:
Kenny Monfort made a fortune guaranteeing beef deliveries in 48 hours anywhere in the US from his feedlots in Greeley, CO.


That's a decission, not a limitation. I can ship stuff by train about twice as fast as a courier driver, let a lone a truck, if I want to and my customer is willing to pay for it.
Unless it's from nowhere to nowhere that can be done quicker than ordering courier by helicopter. For about 1% of the price btw.

Trains can beat any road vehicle if the transportation system is set up for it, which rail cargo usually isn't due to focus on bulk cargo.
Automation plays a huge roll in that, there is no reason why a single cargo rail car (with electrical engine and battery) couldn't go the last couple of miles from/to a main track autonomous at low speeds, get picked up by a cargo train and proceed to close to its destination at 100mph.

One thing with freight railroad is that they tend to be optimized toward heavy load and modest speed, according to my understanding, and it caused the slow speed of many passenger train services currently operated in the United States by Amtrak.


:checkmark:
Exactly. Rail is geared towards stuff where a trucks flexibility doesn't make up for its inefficiencies. And if your goal is a steady stream of coal, trip time becomes almost irrelevant.

But there is no reason why you can't run containers at 100mph, while still being efficient, and no real reason why single rail cars can't be delivered to single customers in short order after leaving a main track. As mentioned, the last 10-20 miles could be done autonomously at a desent clip, even if you limit them to a fast walking pace.

Best regards
Thomas
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Derico
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 8:10 am

Most North American cities "grew" after WWII which was the era of the automobile. All the infrastructure went to accommodate cars and low density housing in suburbs so most of the metropolitan areas cannot be economically covered by mass transit. Now it's too late to do urban planning so basically most US cities have been "stuck" with the car and hours of commuting for 20+ years and will be stuck with it for sure for another 20 more.
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Buses, tramways, elevated heavy rail, subways and high speed rail

Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:04 pm

From viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1446797, post 19:
It would have been off topic, therefore a new topic. As there are many high speed rail fans, please prove me wrong.

Sancho99504 wrote:
The Seattle area has the very problem that you think is solved by trains. We have the Sounder, which links Lakewood to the south and Everett to the north, with downtown Seattle.

There is also light rail in Tacoma, which is currently exapnding around town. Light rail will link Tacoma to the airport in SeaTac. SeaTac is already linked to downtown Seattle on light rail while you'll eventually be able to get from Shoreline to Seattle when their done with that project.

We also have a very good bus system. The issue is, people here are hell bent on driving anywhere and everywhere.

There are wealthy people who willingly spend hours every day, commuting to Seattle from either the North Sound or South Sound by car.

Bus systems is for people who have patience or can't afford cars. They are not attractive and more of a social service. When in Munich I take the bicycle to the commuter train. Buses are nerving.
Seattle has around 600.000 inhabitants, the metropolitan area four million.
You have a light rail system with 22 stations and a commuter rail with 12 stations
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_light_rail
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sounder_commuter_rail

Would people buy cars if there had to be only a few km road and rest of the journey has to be done by trains?
It requires a network. Well, it seems Seattle is building it. Within the next 50 years a lot of people will settle close to these stations. I'm confident in two decades it will be a success. When Munich built a tunnel to connect all existing suburban railway lines for commuter trains in 1972 there were around 400.000 passengers/ day. Now it's 840.000 passengers/ day.

Time to travel 10 km in urban areas:
20 km/ h: 30 min
23 km/ h: 26 min (tramway average EU 15) source: p.31, https://www.uitp.org/sites/default/file ... europe.pdf
25 km/ h: 24 min
30 km/ h: 20 min
35 km/ h: 17 min (subway in Munich, Hamburg) source: https://www.netzsieger.de/ratgeber/der- ... eits-index
40 km/ h: 15 min

Most big cities have an average car speed of 25 to 35 km/ h, small cities even 40 km/h.
source: https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten ... welt-2009/
But what use are such statistics? Interesting is the average speed during rush hour. And the more people shift to public transport, the less traffic on existing roads. Car drivers in rush hour profit just the same.

Subways can reach 35 km/ h average speeds by following a sine wave leaving and entering the station. The acceleration which pushes one back is compensated by the fall towards front. The train can accelerate and break much faster. That's not negligible if there is a stop every one km or so.
If a commuter train stops only every three km a sine wave track is less important.
If one can drive with bicycle/ car to a close by subway/ commuter train station and from there enjoy a good public transport mostly based on subways, people are willing to shift. Elevated tracks within cities are not good.
Here average speeds of Metros in the US:
https://ggwash.org/view/4524/average-sc ... ro-compare

Tramway are around 23 km/ h. Frequent stops and slow speed in curves makes a low average speed. Buses should be worse, but not much worse. The big advantage of a tram versus the bus is capacity. Between 4.000 and 30.000 passengers/ day on a given route a tramway makes sense.
Including the time required to reach the commuter train/ subways, those are mostly still slower than the car. But they are stress free, which is why people use them. Rush hour traffic and looking for a parking place is nerving.

On 10 km track the subway is around 9 min faster than the tram. How to save nine minutes with long distance rail?
Munich to Berlin is as high speed as it gets unless one has no/ extreme few stops. (I believe France / Spain has tracks with less stops.) The train covers 623 km in 3h55min. That's an average speed of 160 km/ h even though there are sections with tracks build for 300 km/ h.
https://www.bahn.com/en/view/trains/lon ... rom%20both.

Time to travel 120 km:
80 km/ h: 1h 30 min
100 km/h: 1h 12 min
120 km/h: 1h
133 km/h: 54 min
160 km/h: 45 min

Only relevant for top speed, each step saving six minutes over 120 km nonstop at that speed:
150 km/h: 48 min
171 km/h: 42 min
200 km/h: 36 min
240 km/h: 30 min
300 km/h: 24 min

To save 9 min on 120 km long distance travel a high speed train has to drive average 160 km/ h instead of 133 km/ h. 133 km/ h average is already high speed. Everything over 100 km/ h average is good.

12 km/h faster in 10 km urban traffic saves as much time as 27 km/ h faster over 120 km in very high speed traffic !!!!

Is it better to build 10 km subway tunnel in a congested city or 120 km very high speed track in the countryside?
People like to think in fastest, not in averages. To try to save money in public transport infrastructure in urban areas is not a good idea. Most expensive is just good enough. That's by the way the reason average speeds of high speed trains are rather pathetic for the effort they demand. They drive slow within cities. 200 km/ h outside cities is often achievable by track renewal. Some curves will have to be built with larger curve radii, but not as complicated as a 300 km/h track.

By the way: Our commute example was only 10 km. But then it's 2 x 10 km/ day. Here a subway saves 18 min. We would have to drive 240 km very high speed one way in one day to save so much time. Imagine somebody has a 20 km commute one way. He would need 480 km very high speed rail one way to save the time a 20 km subway line both ways can save.
Last edited by SQ22 on Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Typo fixed
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rfields5421
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:40 pm

Derico wrote:
Most North American cities "grew" after WWII which was the era of the automobile. All the infrastructure went to accommodate cars and low density housing in suburbs so most of the metropolitan areas cannot be economically covered by mass transit. Now it's too late to do urban planning so basically most US cities have been "stuck" with the car and hours of commuting for 20+ years and will be stuck with it for sure for another 20 more.


Actually, after WWII, there was a planned conspiracy to eliminate public transportation focused on urban rail/ trolley's, etc. The lines were bought up by the conspirators and shut down. With the focus moving to automobile sales, fuel sales, tire sales and bus lines as the 'poor' person's alternative.

Standard Oil, General Motors and Goodyear Tire & Rubber entered a plea agreement of guilty of such a conspiracy in federal court in the very early 1950s.

But by then it was too late to protect what was a fairly decent mass transit system in most American cities.

Also, mass developments became the popular, like Levittown.in 1947 and the second one in 1952. For the first time, single family homes were designed with an automobile parking spot in mind.

Also, it's not 20 years, more like 50+.
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Re: buses, tramways, elevated heavy rail, subways and high speed rail

Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:48 pm

In the UK 50 or more years ago the population of one area would work at a few local factories which were all based in the same area. Therefore buses or trams could ensure a good load of passengers by running a service from the local housing areas to the factory areas. Also cars were not quite as common then.

However now on say a housing estate people work in diverse location North South East and West and at locations anywhere from a few miles away to say 50 miles away so difficult for public transport to supply a economical service.

Now where i live in the UK is about 50 miles to the centre of London and there is a good train service, but there are no bus services to the station from near to where i live, so you drive to the station but the car park is always full

What the answer is beyond me
 
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 12:53 pm

PHLspecial wrote:
kalvado wrote:
tommy1808 wrote:

Nope. That is no longer the case, that is why Infrastructure in the US is falling apart and the highway trust fond going bust.

best regards
Thomas

Bingo! At least sorting out tax mess is relatively straightforward approach to discuss.
Now back to buses running on tax free fuel and having axle load 5x of a car (and road wear is proportional to 4th power of that)

If you don't have a bus you will have 5x or more of cars on the road. That would also lead to wear as well if you want to play that game.

No, one bus with 5x axle loading causes 5^4=625 more damage than a single car. That's the trick - heavy vehicles have disproportional effect on the road, hence a lot of regulations on heavy trucks.
Streets don't see constant flow 18-wheelers on a regular basis, not streets in the center of a city, but buses create comparable effect.
 
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:21 pm

A few two cents:
1. Public Transit in US is a mess mainly due to how spread out things are. It also has to do with urban planning - many metro areas has well over a single employment center (CBD). For example, LA has downtown plus all those things on Wilshire, not to mention all those industrial/business parks in the suburbs built around highway interchanges. Houston? Downtown, Uptown/Galleria, TMC, then there are suburban business parks along major highways also, which...
2. Make mass transit planning hard. Using the Houston example, sure, I can take the express bus to downtown if I work there. But what if I want to commute from SW Houston to Energy Corridor? Back to the car I go.
3. Even in Japan the car ownership rate spike once you go outside of core of Tokyo metro area/Keihanshin metro area. Mid-size city like Sapporo or Fukuoka? People just drive everywhere. More rural cities? Public transit are losing money left and right.
4. If you have to compare, let say, Japan to USA, you can see the trend of public transit use in Tokaido corridor (well, except Nagoya thanks to Toyota) comparable to NE (BosWash) corridor. Except, well, something like 60% of Japan's population live near Tokyo, Nagoya, or Osaka; while BosWash contain maybe 15% of US population. And don't get me started on Seoul (50% of SK population).
 
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 1:37 pm

rfields5421 wrote:
Derico wrote:
Most North American cities "grew" after WWII which was the era of the automobile. All the infrastructure went to accommodate cars and low density housing in suburbs so most of the metropolitan areas cannot be economically covered by mass transit. Now it's too late to do urban planning so basically most US cities have been "stuck" with the car and hours of commuting for 20+ years and will be stuck with it for sure for another 20 more.


Actually, after WWII, there was a planned conspiracy to eliminate public transportation focused on urban rail/ trolley's, etc. The lines were bought up by the conspirators and shut down. With the focus moving to automobile sales, fuel sales, tire sales and bus lines as the 'poor' person's alternative.


:checkmark: It also happened in old European cities that were laid out hundreds of years prior to the automobile. In Denmark they made the mistake of removing all trams to make way for cars, only to reverse the decision and reestablish them in the recent years. Similar stuff happened in the UK, where trams also made a return after 50 years of absence. Off the top of my head, Luxembourg and many French cities went through the same evolution. There is even Berlin, where in the west they made way for cars, and since the reunification they have been slowly been bringing the trams back again.
 
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 2:47 pm

Urban design was an emergent solution over 1,000 years. The use of animal+cart transport was constant for let's say 900 of those years. They had very good conventional rules to build a village or a city. The entry of rail and streetcars was relatively seamless and effective. Only recently did cars arrive in large numbers, messing up those traditions.. We are still arriving at the right configuration. Technology is also changing again, away from cars, to autonomous vehicles. This may solve a lot of traffic issues and convenience issues in public transportation
 
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Re: buses, tramways, elevated heavy rail, subways and high speed rail

Thu Jun 11, 2020 4:33 pm

No matter it is bus, tram, train, metro, the speed and experience of passengers can be improved by providing rapid servoce that omit smaller stops and only stop at a few key stops alone the route. However, density and concentration would be needed in the city for such type of service to make sense, and for trains and trams and metro it would also require additional infrastructures
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Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:08 pm

Driving across rural northeast Texas one day about 8 years ago, my then 10 year old grandson commented that there seemed to be a decaying/ dying small town every 10-15 miles. I told him that's how things were setup, when a man, or horse, could walk 5-10 miles a day round trip to the town for business or buying something.

Transportation capability always significantly impacts how people live, where they live.

Yes, metro Tokyo when I lived in Yokosuka in the early 80's was a marvel of mass transit. But it we wanted to go to Mt. Fuji area, or Sendai - it was usually drive.
Not all who wander are lost.
 
Sokes
Posts: 1249
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2019 4:48 pm

Re: buses, tramways, elevated heavy rail, subways and high speed rail

Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:48 am

vc10 wrote:
Now where i live in the UK is about 50 miles to the centre of London and there is a good train service, but there are no bus services to the station from near to where i live, so you drive to the station but the car park is always full.

Suppose it rains in March. Would you like to walk let's say six minutes to a bus stand, wait two minutes for the bus (of course under rain protection) and then have eight stops beside all the usual traffic lights till you reach the station?
Munich has the highest population density of all German cities. As c933103 pointed out that's crucial for public transport. However in less dense cities people still accept fast trains provided there are ample car parking spaces at the stations. It's intermodal transportation really. Combine the advantage of comfort and speed of cars in the suburbs with the speed and stress free travel of trains inside the city.

I believe below 500.000 inhabitants the cost of sine wave tunnels and underground stations is considered too high.
(If we assume a life of 100 years for the tunnel: How much money does an individual spend on his car in 100 years? How much do 300.000 people spend on cars in 100 years? How much money is too much for such a tunnel?)
In a town of 150.000 inhabitants public transport was bus based. The municipality offered the university students a very cheap semester ticket provided all students buy them. So students had to vote if they want this. The proposal won with only a small majority. But afterwards car parking places at the university became available.
Public transport is high fixed cost with low marginal cost. Or at least low marginal cost till a bus gets so full that frequency has to be increased. However each car driver switching to public transport eases the life of other car drivers.

I believe in cities below 500.000 people or so public transport is unattractive in comparison to the flexibility of a car. Those who love their car, but dislike traffic jams and lack of parking space should ask themselves if they aren't willing to pay other road users to use the bus.
In exchange those who take a free 1 year bus ticket shouldn't be allowed to park their cars in areas of the city which lack parking space. If they sometimes need, they would have to buy online a one day parking ticket.
This parking limitation should only be enforced after a three months free bus trial. The parking space problem may get solved without it. After three months everybody would have to decide if he wants the free ticket. It's the prerogative of those who don't to decide if parking should remain free for those with bus tickets. If yes, bus rides also become free for everybody. Every five years or so this election has to be repeated.
The problem are rainy days. Some of the people who would mostly use the bus may prefer the car on such days. I believe those who don't profit from free buses should have guaranteed parking places in exchange. On the other side couples inside the city may decide one car is enough. The reservation may not be needed.
Or one could reserve parking spaces for those without bus ticket only in those areas of town with shortage.
It's probably best to start free bus rides in summer when the walk to the bus stand is pleasant. Habits don't change easy.

Speaking of intermodal transport:
Depending on the number of traffic lights I estimate in cities a bicycle reaches 10-14 km/ h average speed. Riding twice daily 3 km to the train station is a good and time saving way to stay healthy.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
ArchGuy1
Posts: 1388
Joined: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:35 pm

Re: Buses, tramways, elevated heavy rail, subways and high speed rail

Fri Jun 12, 2020 3:03 am

A monorail system might be another idea for a public transportation system, and cities like Addis Ababa, Ethiopia could use such a system.
 
PHLspecial
Topic Author
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:11 pm

Re: Public Transit in the U.S. Buff it or kill it?

Fri Jun 12, 2020 2:50 pm

kalvado wrote:
No, one bus with 5x axle loading causes 5^4=625 more damage than a single car. That's the trick - heavy vehicles have disproportional effect on the road, hence a lot of regulations on heavy trucks.
Streets don't see constant flow 18-wheelers on a regular basis, not streets in the center of a city, but buses create comparable effect.

Let's enjoy sitting in traffic in center cities without buses. 5 cars is longer than 1 bus. Dude I get you hate public transit

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