8632Re: [carfree_cities] Cost per mile of Road, vs Rail
- Jun 10, 2005I 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
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).
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