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8631Re: [carfree_cities] Cost per mile of Road, vs Rail

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Jun 10, 2005
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      Hi All,

      Well, it's easy to lie with statistics.
      Some countervailing lies:

      >o Freeways: $8 million per lane/per mile

      The 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 mile

      dunno, 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. [1999]
      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: $110
      >million per mile

      could be, no data. It seems too high to me by a
      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 down
      >some steel rails instead of asphalt?

      When this was done on a huge scale around 1900, it
      couldn't have cost very much...

      Hope this helps.

      ------ ### -----
      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
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