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Media Notice: New Studies Evaluate Rail Transit Benefits and Criticisms

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  • Todd Alexander Litman
    MEDIA NOTICE For Immediate Release 26 October 2004 New studies by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute evaluate rail transit benefits and criticisms.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 25, 2004
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      MEDIA NOTICE
      For Immediate Release
      26 October 2004


      New studies by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute evaluate rail
      transit benefits and criticisms.

      “Rail Transit In America: Comprehensive Evaluation of Benefits” evaluates
      rail transit benefits based on a comprehensive analysis of transportation
      system performance in 130 U.S. cities. It finds that cities with large,
      well-established rail systems have:
      · Lower per-capita traffic congestion costs.
      · Lower per-capita traffic fatalities.
      · Lower per capita consumer transportation expenditures.
      · Higher per capita transit ridership.
      · Higher transit commute mode split.
      · Lower transit operating costs per passenger-mile.
      · Higher transit service cost recovery.


      This study found that residents in cities with large, well-established rail
      transit systems experience about half the per capita traffic congestion
      delay as people who live in comparable size cities that lack rail. This
      occurs because residents of rail transit cities drive fewer annual miles
      and have an effective alternative when traveling on the most congested
      corridors. Cities with large rail systems have about a third lower per
      capita traffic fatality rates, resulting in an estimated 250 avoided deaths
      annually in the U.S. Residents of these cities save approximately $450
      annually per capita in transportation costs compared with consumers living
      in cities that lack rail systems.

      The study concludes that rail transit service costs are repaid several
      times over by reduced congestion, road and parking facility costs, reduced
      traffic accident costs, and consumer cost savings.

      “Rail Transit In America” is available at http://www.vtpi.org/railben.pdf
      The executive summary is available at http://www.vtpi.org/railbensum.pdf



      “Evaluating Rail Transit Criticism” examines claims that rail transit is
      ineffective at improving transportation system performance, that rail
      transit investments are not cost effective, and that transit is an outdated
      form of transportation. It finds that critics often misrepresent issues and
      use biased and inaccurate analysis.

      “Evaluating Rail Transit Criticism” is available at
      http://www.vtpi.org/railcrit.pdf



      “Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs: Best Practices Guidebook”
      describes how to accurately evaluate the full impacts (benefits and costs)
      of a particular transit service or improvement. It identifies various
      categories of impacts and how to measure them. It discusses how to avoid
      common errors made in transit evaluation.

      “Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs” is available at
      http://www.vtpi.org/tranben.pdf


      * * *

      According to study author Todd Litman, “Our research indicates that quality
      public transit provides significant benefits, including congestion
      reduction, road and parking facility cost savings, consumer cost savings,
      reduced traffic accidents and basic mobility for non-drivers. It can
      increase economic productivity, community livability, and property values.
      Quality transit service is expensive to build, but the costs tend to be
      more than offset by incremental economic benefits.”

      “When critics conclude that rail transit is ineffective and wasteful, the
      failure is often in their analysis. Either from ignorance or intention,
      critics fail to use best practices when evaluating transit,” says Litman.


      * * *

      For information contact: Todd Litman
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute
      Email: litman@...
      Phone: 250-360-1560
      Fax: 250-360-1560
      Website: www.vtpi.org


      * * * * * * *
      The Victoria Transport Policy Institute is an independent research
      organization dedicated to developing innovative transportation analysis and
      problem solving. The VTPI website (www.vtpi.org) has many resources
      addressing a wide range of transport planning and policy issues.



      PLEASE FORWARD TO ANYBODY INTERESTED IN THESE ISSUES




      Sincerely,
      Todd Litman, Director
      Victoria Transport Policy Institute
      "Efficiency - Equity - Clarity"
      1250 Rudlin Street
      Victoria, BC, V8V 3R7, Canada
      Phone & Fax: 250-360-1560
      Email: litman@...
      Website: http://www.vtpi.org
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