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8632Re: [carfree_cities] Cost per mile of Road, vs Rail

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  • Lloyd Wright
    Jun 10, 2005
      I have been collecting some of this data directly from municipalities for a
      new public transport book. I do find there is a great deal of distortion of
      figures. Many times officials are embarrassed by cost over-runs, and thus the
      numbers given in the press are frequently under-representations. I have been
      contacting project developers directly to get closer to actual costs.

      Rail figures can be fudged a bit by excluding rolling stock, fare
      instrastructure, stations, and land costs. For example, I quizzed San Diego
      staff over the low figure given for the trolley, which in reality was around
      US$ 15 million per km. The newer additions to the San Diego system over
      double this. It is interesting to note that second phases of projects are
      usually significantly higher due to the high costs of transfer stations.

      There is also a big difference between developed countries and developing
      countries. A highway underpass built in Quito (Ecuador) last year cost US$ 1
      million. The same infrastructure in Europe or North America would be about 20
      times that number.

      Likewise, tram systems in developing countries can legitimately be in the area
      of US$ 12 million per kilometre (Tunis) and most BRT systems are being
      developed for between US$ 1 million and US$ 5 million per kilometre (Quito,
      Curitiba, Goiania, Sao Paulo, Jakarta, Taipei, Beijing, Dar es Salaam). LRT
      in developed nations is running these days from about US$ 18 million per
      kilometre (Lyon) to about US$ 40 million per kilometre (LA Gold Line).

      Elevated rail is generally in the range of US$ 45 million per kilometre (Kuala
      Lumpur PUTRA) to US$ 75 million per kilometre (Bangkok Skytrain). The
      Shanghai maglev is an outlier for technology reasons at about US$ 320 million
      per km.

      The lowest cost underground systems were Mexico City and Madrid (both in the
      range of US$ 45 million per km). Madrid's underground is really a remarkable
      story from the standpoint of cost management. Of course, the soft clay
      underneath Madrid also played a role. At the higher end of underground
      development is Washington (over US$ 200 million per km), Hong Kong (US$ 222
      million per km), and London's Jubilee Line (US$ 350 million per km).

      Best regards,

      Lloyd
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