8631Re: [carfree_cities] Cost per mile of Road, vs Rail
- Jun 10, 2005Hi All,
Well, it's easy to lie with statistics.
Some countervailing lies:
>o Freeways: $8 million per lane/per mileThe Century Freeway, the last one finished in LA
cost $200 million per KILOMETER (Newman & Kewnworth p60)
That's $321 million/mile. Just cite that as
"the cost of building a new urban freeway".
>o Separate bus lanes: $8.2 million per miledunno, probably they should cost slightly more than
a regular lane due to more complex access ramps.
>o Trolley/light rail: $30 million per mile"The San Diego Trolley and the Sacramento systems cost
respectively $9,000,000 and $9,600,000 per mile, according
to recent postings on the cons-spst-sprawl-trans list. 
These figures might be considerably reduced if fuel-cell-powered
trams can be developed, as such trams would not require an
expensive overhead power system" (from Carfree Cities, p184)
So just say, "A properly engineered tram system should
cost no more than $9 million/mile including rolling stock."
In fact, even this price is high. If abutters, who will
enjoy increased real estate values from the presence of
the line, can be impelled to permit the attachment of
overhead power hangers to their buildings for a nominal
fee, as is standard practice throughout Europe, then the
expensive poles can be largely or entirely eliminated,
along with the visual clutter. This should save plenty.
The fuel-cell tram is turning out to be a dream (I got taken
in by the fuel-cell hype myself). However, other forms of
self-propelled trams look to be possible.
So, if you really want to lie with statistics, you can
say, "A properly designed tram system need cost no more
than $2 million/mile." (don't bother to mention that this
assumes rolling stock that is not yet in production.)
>o High-speed transportation systems: $110could be, no data. It seems too high to me by a
>million per mile
factor of about ten. I'm sure that the Shanghai
maglev connection to the airport cost this much,
but you shouldn't be building maglev, anywhere, ever.
>Can the light rail figure really be correct?Yes, it could, if GM, Arthur Andersen, and George W. Bush
and their friends are in charge.
>If so, why should it cost so much more to put downWhen this was done on a huge scale around 1900, it
>some steel rails instead of asphalt?
couldn't have cost very much...
Hope this helps.
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J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
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