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RE: [carfree_cities] Bus Rapid Transit

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  • Lanyon, Ryan
    Ottawa, Canada probably has one of the first major bus rapid transit systems (see www.octranspo.com). Briefly, some advantages and disadvantages are:
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 1, 2001
      Ottawa, Canada probably has one of the first major bus rapid transit systems
      (see www.octranspo.com). Briefly, some advantages and disadvantages are:

      Advantages:
      - routes are flexible, and can use the rapid transit system for part of the
      way, primarily through downtown, preventing the need to transfer (we have a
      number of express buses that offer door-to-door service from suburbs via
      neighbourhood collectors and then the rapid transit system)
      - the system can easily go from dedicated bus-only roadways to dedicated bus
      lanes, which works well when the project is built in phases (no need for
      immediate grade separation or new infrastructure)
      - steeper grades are more easily accomodated (assumption)
      - the system can be integrated into the local expressways. Bus-only lanes
      on expressways immediate show stalled car commuters the benefits of taking
      transit (works with rail if the line runs parallel or over the highway).

      Disadvantages:
      - the usual down sides of bus transportation - noise, pollution, social
      stigma
      - rail transit is still seen as preferred. We're building our first light
      rail line (on existing track), but there is talk of extending the rail
      system and replacing the bus-only ways
      - buses can get held up in traffic where the system merges with other roads
      - too many buses (and drivers) are needed in heavy volumes that could be
      served with fewer trains (capacity and cost issues)

      I think in general what we've experienced is that the system works well for
      a city under 1,000,000. Our metro area recently surpassed that mark, and
      new strains and pressures are pushing us toward light rail instead.

      The opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of my
      employer.

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Craig Bollen [mailto:craigb@...]
      > Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2001 11:11 AM
      > To: 'carfree_cities@...'
      > Subject: [carfree_cities] Bus Rapid Transit
      >
      >
      > I've never had the opportunity to use a system like the
      > proposed Bus rapid
      > Transit below.
      > Does anyone have any experience? Because the bus transit
      > ways are fixed
      > does the line have the same benefits as a typical rail line?
      > Any Opinions?
      >
      > http://www.ltd.org/brt1.html
      >
      > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
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      >
    • Ronald Dawson
      ... systems ... As far as I know transitway construction costs have ranged from some where between $16 million to $58 million (CDN) a kilometre. ... The
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 2, 2001
        Lanyon, Ryan wrote:
        >Ottawa, Canada probably has one of the first major bus rapid transit
        systems
        >(see www.octranspo.com).

        As far as I know transitway construction costs have ranged from some where
        between $16 million to $58 million (CDN) a kilometre.

        >I think in general what we've experienced is that the system works well for
        >a city under 1,000,000. Our metro area recently surpassed that mark, and
        >new strains and pressures are pushing us toward light rail instead.

        The original plan/idea was to convert it to light rail.

        >The opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of my
        >employer.

        Also look at how much of it is built on former railway right of way.
        http://members.home.net/rails/maps.html Dawson

        P.S. Ryan, If you want more information stop by the T2000 office at Suite
        100, 117 Sparks Street, Ottawa ON.
      • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
        ... We don t have fully separated Bus transitways in the UK, but where extensive bus priorities, including short stretches of guided busway, has been
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 3, 2001
          > As far as I know transitway construction costs have ranged from some
          > where between $16 million to $58 million (CDN) a kilometre.
          >
          We don't have fully separated Bus transitways in the UK, but where
          extensive bus priorities, including short stretches of guided busway, has
          been introduced in Wolverhampton (just north of Birmingham), I understand
          the total cost for 11 kilometers (7 miles) was �3.5 million. I guess that
          would be about $1m (CDN) per mile - except this figure was supposed to
          include the 14 new buses as well as the infrastructure. Similar,
          successful schemes also operate in Edinburgh, and Leeds.
          In contrast, the initial LRT line in Manchester cost over �120 million,
          which is about �7 million a mile. However, this was essentially a Heavy
          Rail conversion, and subsequent extensions are/will cost considerably
          more, as Houses, School playgrounds, farmland etc have to be compulsorily
          purchased and destroyed (just like with major Roads)!
        • Ronald Dawson
          ... We have bus lanes in Montreal as well. ... When you say guided busway , do you mean buses with those small side mounted wheels on the front? ... Since
          Message 4 of 11 , Mar 4, 2001
            Philip wrote:
            >> As far as I know transitway construction costs have ranged from some
            >> where between $16 million to $58 million (CDN) a kilometre.
            >>
            >We don't have fully separated Bus transitways in the UK, but where
            >extensive bus priorities,

            We have bus lanes in Montreal as well.

            >including short stretches of guided busway,

            When you say "guided busway", do you mean buses with those small side
            mounted wheels on the front?

            >has
            >been introduced in Wolverhampton (just north of Birmingham), I understand
            >the total cost for 11 kilometers (7 miles) was £3.5 million. I guess that
            >would be about $1m (CDN) per mile - except this figure was supposed to
            >include the 14 new buses as well as the infrastructure. Similar,
            >successful schemes also operate in Edinburgh, and Leeds.

            Since there's less infrastructure, no wonder it's cheaper.

            >In contrast, the initial LRT line in Manchester cost over £120 million,
            >which is about £7 million a mile. However, this was essentially a Heavy
            >Rail conversion, and subsequent extensions are/will cost considerably
            >more, as Houses, School playgrounds, farmland etc have to be compulsorily
            >purchased and destroyed (just like with major Roads)!

            I'd like to who is planning this. Dawson
          • philip@aal.cix.co.uk
            ... Yes. ... GMPTE, the local Government Agency that oversees public transport in the county - and are currently my employers. The above observations are
            Message 5 of 11 , Mar 4, 2001
              > >including short stretches of guided busway,
              >
              > When you say "guided busway", do you mean buses with those small side
              > mounted wheels on the front?

              Yes.
              >
              >
              > >In contrast, the initial LRT line in Manchester cost over �120 million,
              > >which is about �7 million a mile. However, this was essentially a Heavy
              > >Rail conversion, and subsequent extensions are/will cost considerably
              > >more, as Houses, School playgrounds, farmland etc have to be
              > compulsorily purchased and destroyed (just like with major Roads)!
              >
              > I'd like to (know?) who is planning this.

              GMPTE, the local Government Agency that oversees public transport in the
              county - and are currently my employers.
              The above observations are largely to do with the Ashton-under-Lyne
              extension, which is definitely going ahead. The School playground is
              actually just reduced in size - not least to keep the actual Line a safe
              distance from the School premises. I believe the School has been
              "compensated".
            • Ronald Dawson
              ... So I see. http://www.gmpte.gov.uk/newsdesk/library/ashmetb.html Dawson
              Message 6 of 11 , Mar 4, 2001
                Philip wrote:
                >GMPTE, the local Government Agency that oversees public transport in the
                >county - and are currently my employers.
                >The above observations are largely to do with the Ashton-under-Lyne
                >extension, which is definitely going ahead. The School playground is
                >actually just reduced in size - not least to keep the actual Line a safe
                >distance from the School premises. I believe the School has been
                >"compensated".

                So I see. http://www.gmpte.gov.uk/newsdesk/library/ashmetb.html Dawson
              • Chris Bradshaw
                As an Ottawan, I find the disadvantages of busways to be greater than Ryan mentioned. Because the Ottawa system was built to allow later conversion to light
                Message 7 of 11 , Mar 4, 2001
                  As an Ottawan, I find the disadvantages of busways to be greater than
                  Ryan
                  mentioned.

                  Because the Ottawa system was built to allow later conversion to light
                  rail, it is
                  more costly than either alone. For instance, the grade of the
                  right-of-way was
                  limited to accommodate the more limited capability of rail, but the
                  width of the
                  right-of-way had to be wider than needed by light rail due to the need
                  for
                  additional snow storages and the decision to allow buses to pass each
                  other in the
                  stations and most everywhere else. Also, security is expensive, since
                  stations had
                  to be below/above-grade rights-of-way, although bus-only would allow
                  stations to be
                  at-grade, thus accessing the natural security ("eyes on the street")
                  that comes
                  with at-grade stations. Below/above grade stations are also cheaper to
                  build.

                  The system has also failed to stimulate infill development at the
                  stations (they
                  are really only stops, since buses for different routes don't have
                  unique "docking"
                  areas). This is because of one of the so-called advantages: reduced
                  need to
                  transfer (whereas rail systems require transfers between two different
                  systems for
                  the collector and the long-haul portions of th trip, busways don't).
                  The lack of
                  transfering means that there is little extra pedestrian traffic at the
                  transfer
                  points and also, those wanting to board the system at these points often
                  cannot
                  find an empty seat. Add to that the fact that those coming from further
                  out
                  usually don't pay extra for their seats for the longer trips they get.

                  For those wanting to limit transfers, rail provides a different
                  solution: live
                  closer to the main lines, rather than in the far corners of sprawled
                  subdivisions.
                  The bus sustem, by reaching the latter areas of cul-de-sacs and
                  crescents) reduces
                  the amount of walking (and cycling) that transit commuters will do
                  (often to avoid
                  the wait for a connector bus, when the walk isn't that far), and it
                  reduces the
                  reliance by people on the shopping and services near their home (and
                  this
                  discourages such outlets ever being located in the first place).

                  Most people today don't live or work near these "conveniences." As a
                  result, even
                  if they can commute to job/school by bus/walking/cycling, they can't
                  "chain"
                  personal-business destinations into those trips, as SUV (single-occupant
                  vehicle)
                  commuting can. Either workplaces will have to provide these outlets
                  within a short
                  walk of workplaces, or neighbourhoods will have to provide them. Else,
                  we will
                  never get people out of cars.

                  Chris Bradshaw, Ottawa

                  = = = = =

                  "Lanyon, Ryan" wrote:

                  > Ottawa, Canada probably has one of the first major bus rapid transit systems
                  > (see www.octranspo.com). Briefly, some advantages and disadvantages are:
                  >
                  > Advantages:
                  > - routes are flexible, and can use the rapid transit system for part of the
                  > way, primarily through downtown, preventing the need to transfer (we have a
                  > number of express buses that offer door-to-door service from suburbs via
                  > neighbourhood collectors and then the rapid transit system)
                  > - the system can easily go from dedicated bus-only roadways to dedicated bus
                  > lanes, which works well when the project is built in phases (no need for
                  > immediate grade separation or new infrastructure)
                  > - steeper grades are more easily accomodated (assumption)
                  > - the system can be integrated into the local expressways. Bus-only lanes
                  > on expressways immediate show stalled car commuters the benefits of taking
                  > transit (works with rail if the line runs parallel or over the highway).
                  >
                  > Disadvantages:
                  > - the usual down sides of bus transportation - noise, pollution, social
                  > stigma
                  > - rail transit is still seen as preferred. We're building our first light
                  > rail line (on existing track), but there is talk of extending the rail
                  > system and replacing the bus-only ways
                  > - buses can get held up in traffic where the system merges with other roads
                  > - too many buses (and drivers) are needed in heavy volumes that could be
                  > served with fewer trains (capacity and cost issues)
                  >
                  > I think in general what we've experienced is that the system works well for
                  > a city under 1,000,000. Our metro area recently surpassed that mark, and
                  > new strains and pressures are pushing us toward light rail instead.
                  >
                  > The opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of my
                  > employer.
                  >
                  > > -----Original Message-----
                  > > From: Craig Bollen [mailto:craigb@...]
                  > > Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2001 11:11 AM
                  > > To: 'carfree_cities@...'
                  > > Subject: [carfree_cities] Bus Rapid Transit
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > I've never had the opportunity to use a system like the
                  > > proposed Bus rapid
                  > > Transit below.
                  > > Does anyone have any experience? Because the bus transit
                  > > ways are fixed
                  > > does the line have the same benefits as a typical rail line?
                  > > Any Opinions?
                  > >
                  > > http://www.ltd.org/brt1.html
                  > >
                  > > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                  > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                  > > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                  > > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                  > >
                  > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                  > > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                  > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                  > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                  > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
                  >
                  > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                • Lanyon, Ryan
                  ... Also, security is expensive, since ... I think you mean at grade stations are cheaper to build. I disagree with your argument that bus-only stations would
                  Message 8 of 11 , Mar 5, 2001
                    > -----Original Message-----
                    > From: Chris Bradshaw [mailto:chris@...]
                    > Sent: Sunday, March 04, 2001 10:07 PM
                    > To: carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com
                    > Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Bus Rapid Transit
                    >
                    Also, security is expensive, since
                    > stations had
                    > to be below/above-grade rights-of-way, although bus-only would allow
                    > stations to be
                    > at-grade, thus accessing the natural security ("eyes on the street")
                    > that comes
                    > with at-grade stations. Below/above grade stations are also
                    > cheaper to
                    > build.

                    I think you mean at grade stations are cheaper to build. I disagree with
                    your argument that bus-only stations would be at-grade. If the system was
                    entirely built at grade, then it would not provide rapid transit. Take the
                    downtown core, for example, where the buses do run at grade. It provides a
                    slower service because of the need to stop at crossings. Grade separation
                    speeds up the system, and has nothing to do with modal choice.

                    > The system has also failed to stimulate infill development at the
                    > stations (they
                    > are really only stops, since buses for different routes don't have
                    > unique "docking"
                    > areas). This is because of one of the so-called advantages: reduced
                    > need to
                    > transfer (whereas rail systems require transfers between two different
                    > systems for
                    > the collector and the long-haul portions of th trip, busways don't).

                    I think this is really a planning failure, not a failure of a bus-only
                    system. Baseline Station is a very large transfer point, where local routes
                    feed into the rapid transit system. Unfortunately, there is a six-lane
                    arterial on one side, and a large parking lot on the other. Pedestrian and
                    cyclist traffic abounds, but there are still no services or transit-based
                    infill development.

                    > For those wanting to limit transfers, rail provides a different
                    > solution: live
                    > closer to the main lines, rather than in the far corners of sprawled
                    > subdivisions.
                    > The bus sustem, by reaching the latter areas of cul-de-sacs and
                    > crescents) reduces
                    > the amount of walking (and cycling) that transit commuters will do

                    Again, the choice of mode for rapid transit does not affect this. If a rail
                    system exists, it still has feeder bus routes. In Toronto, numerous buses
                    feed into the Finch subway station (not just from the north), so the entire
                    public transit network still reaches into the cul-de-sacs and reduces the
                    amount of active transportation.

                    > The opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of my
                    employer.
                  • J.H. Crawford
                    ... Right. Grade separation is almost essential. And I hope we agree that the only direction to go is down, never up! ... This is what s wrong with taking the
                    Message 9 of 11 , Mar 5, 2001
                      Ryan Lanyon replied:

                      >I think you mean at grade stations are cheaper to build. I disagree with
                      >your argument that bus-only stations would be at-grade. If the system was
                      >entirely built at grade, then it would not provide rapid transit. Take the
                      >downtown core, for example, where the buses do run at grade. It provides a
                      >slower service because of the need to stop at crossings. Grade separation
                      >speeds up the system, and has nothing to do with modal choice.

                      Right. Grade separation is almost essential. And I hope we agree
                      that the only direction to go is down, never up!

                      >I think this is really a planning failure, not a failure of a bus-only
                      >system. Baseline Station is a very large transfer point, where local routes
                      >feed into the rapid transit system. Unfortunately, there is a six-lane
                      >arterial on one side, and a large parking lot on the other. Pedestrian and
                      >cyclist traffic abounds, but there are still no services or transit-based
                      >infill development.

                      This is what's wrong with taking the easy way out: building rapid
                      transit systems down the middle of freeway meidans. It's quick
                      and cheap, and the stations are anywhere near anything useful.
                      Fundamental error.

                      >Again, the choice of mode for rapid transit does not affect this. If a rail
                      >system exists, it still has feeder bus routes. In Toronto, numerous buses
                      >feed into the Finch subway station (not just from the north), so the entire
                      >public transit network still reaches into the cul-de-sacs and reduces the
                      >amount of active transportation.

                      Well, if the area is dense enough (a la Manhattan), it has ONLY rail.




                      -- ### --

                      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                      postmaster@... Carfree.com
                    • Chris Bradshaw
                      ... I prefer below-grade r-o-w, but at-grade stations. This involves the transit vehicles climbing into the station, naturally losing momentum via gravity,
                      Message 10 of 11 , Mar 6, 2001
                        "Lanyon, Ryan" wrote:

                        > I think you mean at grade stations are cheaper to build. I disagree with
                        > your argument that bus-only stations would be at-grade. If the system was
                        > entirely built at grade, then it would not provide rapid transit.

                        I prefer below-grade r-o-w, but at-grade stations. This involves the transit
                        vehicles climbing into the station, naturally losing momentum via gravity, and then
                        descending into the trench after the stop, accelerating via gravity again. This
                        "graviotram" technology saves lost of energy, but is more problematic with rail, as
                        the cars are longer (hard to handly the changes in grade) and they have more
                        trouble with hills.

                        > Again, the choice of mode for rapid transit does not affect this. If a rail
                        > system exists, it still has feeder bus routes.

                        Of course, there are still feeder route from the largest stations, but the simple
                        fact that riders have to transfer means that 1) they will consider shopping for
                        things they need at this transfer points, and 2) if it is not so far to get the
                        rest of the way home, walk instead of waiting for the connector bus, providing both
                        "eyes on the street" and giving them more exercise. When a bus-only system is used
                        _and_ the routes run from the burbs all the way to the centre of town (vs. having
                        only transitway-only routes run downtown, in which transfering is very common), the
                        rider has no need to even look up from his book or newspaper to notice the
                        neighbourhood-core shops. If he doesn't patronize them, he and the neighbourhood
                        will lose them.

                        Chris Bradshaw


                        >

                        >
                        >
                        > > The opinions expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of my
                        > employer.
                        >
                        > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
                        > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
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