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Reports and Links

This page contains some background/comparitive information on LRT and other technologies.  I'm not a fan of Skytrain, in case that isn't clear.  I think light rail is actually not a bad idea for the NE Sector, but we have to get away from the extremely high costs of skytrain infrastructure which is responsible for all of the problems around expansion of the system.    My personal opinion is that the entire lower mainland region blew it many years ago - we should have HEAVY rail (like the west coast express) running the major east/west corridors - one where we have WCE now, the other should have run out the center of Hwy1.  From there we should 'hub' out into the suburban communities with either light rail or bus transit, depending on demand.
One of my concerns around the proposed Evergreen Line is that the requirement has not been fully established - its like we just are 'assuming' we need the Evergreen Line.  For 1.4+ billion dollars, is this really what we need in the Northeast sector ?  Is the ridership/demand really there ? Will it be ? Are we driving an unsustainable future with a rapid transit mega project ?
When will be get off of the Skytrain technology - which is one of the most expensive transit systems on a per kilometer basis on the planet !
Why will people suddenly alter their lifestyles and jump on a train ? Do we know ? Why will they not ride a bus ?
I ask these questions, nobody seems to have answers !  Nobody seems to want to consider the question !!
I have read considerable material in regards to BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) vs LRT (light rail transit) comparisons, and unfortunately, its hard to find a good, impartial comparison.  BRT is still a new concep to most cities - and engineers and planners, and is becoming more accepted as the possiblities are being realized.
I am including some VERY biased reports here - you be the judge !  
 - for the main site
The Weststart Network - Advanced Transit Newsletter - Winter 2006
Metro-Magazine - BRT Continues to Shine
Ottawa BRT vs LRT report - FLorida Universiy, case study - interesting numbers compared to LRnow report
Many of the reports compare a dedicated busway construction (such as Ottawa) to an LRT line with new construction - however, most busways evolve from existing road networks, and dont require 100% dedicated right of way construction.   
Most comparisons between bus and lrt dont compare 'apples to apples' - they speak of the dedicated right of way for LRT and the nice stations, and traffic signal pre-emption.  THESE benefits are only exclusive to LRT because of the systems they compare - there is no reason that buses could not be afforded dedicated right-of-ways where necessary, that they couldnt have improved stations, or traffic signal pre-emption.  They could also be nicer, low floor vehicles, running on alternative energy solutions such as Hydrogen Fuel Cell, and frequencies can be adjusted to meet local demand.  Lanes can be dedicated in peak periods to transit vehicles, and revert to general capacity lanes or HOV lanes in off peak hours.
No matter how slanted the argument for LRT, even LRT advocates will generally concede that rail is best suited for urban , high ridership environments - as ridership is lowered, relative cost of LRT goes up - way up ! And capital cost can be significantly lower for BRT systems, particularly in an environment where little modification to existing infrastructure is required.
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