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The Light Rail debate

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Offline The Love Guru

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The Light Rail debate
« on: March 10, 2013, 09:09:34 PM »
[Topic split from Brisbane Bus Review]

Here is some interesting reading. Appears a city of a few million can't make light rail work, but obviously Canberra has a much better chance with its lower population denisty and love of cars.

http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/circulars/ec058/15_03_Turner.pdf


Whilst here is a much more balanced view of the whole scene, however the ACT government has failed to collect all the data required to make an informed decision.

http://publictransport.about.com/od/Transit_War/a/Overview-Of-The-Bus-Rapid-Transit-Versus-Light-Rail-Debate.htm


Another article that makes interesting reading

http://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenmeyer/2010/09/22/urban-light-rail-fail/


And again

http://www.ti.org/vaupdate05.html


The whole point of this is that there are just as many failed, if not more, attempts at light rail than there are succesful outcomes. Australia has yet to produce an on road light rail project that has lived up to the hype and promise that surrounded it when construction began. As a tax payer i would be unimpressed to see $1bn (which the project will no doubt exceed) spent on a project that will still require buses to run parallel with it to supplement its service. This can be avoided through correct planning and understanding of not just current, but also our future transport needs and options. Pushing light rail through just to get it in is a reciepe for disaster, however the ACT has a track record of doing just this with other projects and it is the tax payer left carrying the can at the end of the day.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 03:34:27 PM by ACTbusspotter »

Offline route56

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2013, 11:38:49 AM »
I see what you did there!

I post a link to a report on a public transport network, in another city, therefore i must be anti-bus... So you thought an attack on me for being a public transport advocate might assist your argument (it doesnt). I didn't write the review, i didn't write the media report. i just posted the link. Attacking me for that is pointless and shows quite a bit of insecurity.

I only advocate for light rail in the ACT. i'm not welded to the idea that light rail is the mass transit solution for every city, just the ACT. I also advocate for an integrated bus/light rail system.

Dismissing anything I say because I would like a better solution for our future is just ridiculous. I suggest you google the term 'moral agency'. I do agree with questioning everything a person says, because we need to. Blindly accepting our masters promises is what leaves us with sub-standard public  transport year on year,despite promises everything will be better.

You can dismiss light rail, but what do you really want? More people using public transport or a lovely fleet of new buses, endlessly circling the city shiny but empty as patronage continues to decline? Thats a real great use of taxpayers money. The best system for Canberra is light rail for mass transit and buses for local services.

« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 11:44:26 AM by route56 »

Offline The Love Guru

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2013, 12:29:53 PM »
What I want is the best solution possible, with all factors taken into account. The justification of a 2 track light rail line that is to serve high denisty areas on Northbourne Avenue as well as be a rapid transport service to Gunghilin is not possible. Should the government choose to build the system right, with it segregated and grade seperated from all road ways as well as at least 3 tracks to allow for both express type and all stops services then its justification as a full transport solution would exist. It's then up to the governemnt to work out of the cost benefit is in the project. What they have proposed currently will be no better than the current bus system and will just leave the ACT with a billion $ hole in our budget.

Offline Barry Drive

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 03:44:02 PM »
You can dismiss light rail, but what do you really want? More people using public transport or a lovely fleet of new buses, endlessly circling the city shiny but empty as patronage continues to decline? Thats a real great use of taxpayers money. The best system for Canberra is light rail for mass transit and buses for local services.
And here we go again with statements being made that are not supported by facts.

Your basic argument is bus = bad; bus = declining patronage; light rail = good; light rail = unlimited capacity. None of which are supported by facts.

(A) Spend some time travelling on the "Rapid" bus services (200 & 300 series) during peak and tell me that patronage is declining.

(B) If Light Rail is best for mass transit, then why is the line proposed for Northbourne Ave / Flemington Road? If you want a proper mass transit system, you need to minimise stops and provide a genuine express service between City and Gungahlin (or anywhere else you want it to go). Having a system which has to compete for traffic light priority and stop for passengers every 2 minutes is hardly an improvement over what buses can currently achieve.

Offline route56

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 06:41:17 PM »
And here we go again with statements being made that are not supported by facts.

Your basic argument is bus = bad; bus = declining patronage; light rail = good; light rail = unlimited capacity. None of which are supported by facts.

(A) Spend some time travelling on the "Rapid" bus services (200 & 300 series) during peak and tell me that patronage is declining.

(B) If Light Rail is best for mass transit, then why is the line proposed for Northbourne Ave / Flemington Road? If you want a proper mass transit system, you need to minimise stops and provide a genuine express service between City and Gungahlin (or anywhere else you want it to go). Having a system which has to compete for traffic light priority and stop for passengers every 2 minutes is hardly an improvement over what buses can currently achieve.

Great! Now in being told what my argument is. Please, dont verbal me. If you must - use my own words against me, not ones you have made up.

Attempting to portray me as anti-bus is just wrong. I dont even know why you are trying too. i'm not anti-bus, I am pro-public transport. I catch buses several times as week, out of preference not because I have to.

I have pasted an attachment from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to support my claim that bus patronage is declining. Are they wrong too? Investment in buses as mass rapid transit in Canberra has not been successful. Ive seen the attempts that have been made. So has the government.

Some questions for you:
Do you accept 5.6% as a success?
Tell me how low this figure must sink before you concede an alternative method needs to be tried?
Or do you not care about actually carrying passengers, just as long as the network is bus only?

To address your points.

A - I've never made any such claim. I maintain that increased patronage on the rapid routes is great argument for light rail. Those routes are at capacity. The buses routinely fail to stop and collect passengers because they are full. 

You tell me what frequency of bus service you need before moving to a higher capacity technology.

B - Because Northbourne Avenue is the most congested road in the ACT.

You are assuming there will be no traffic light prioritisation. On what basis do you make this claim?


Offline Barry Drive

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 08:06:12 PM »
I'll have more to say later, but the ABS data does not show a decline in patronage. It shows a growth in journeys to work by bus - slower than population growth, but a growth nonetheless. While journeys to work by bus is a useful measure, it does not reflect overall patronage. Get back to me if/when you have proof of a decline in overall patronage. [That's "bus = declining patronage" taken care of]

So "investment in buses as mass rapid transit has failed" and to support this claim you state that some buses run full. (Which in turn led to an additional 200 route in the morning). Things can always be done better, but I don't regard running full buses during peak a failure.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 09:00:58 PM by ACTbusspotter »

Offline ajw373

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 09:44:47 PM »
I am coming in late here, but if the 200 is getting to be so popular AND more high density housing continues to be built along Flemmington Road, then as far as I can see that is a very good reason for light rail down that corridor.

Elsewhere in Canberra (except maybe Molonglo in 20 years time) no chance what so ever though. Light rail won't work as a high speed intertown service in Canberra, say Belconnen/Woden or even Gungahlin to the City, where it works well is moving large numbers of people, hence a shorter high density corridor such as Northborne Ave and Flemmington Road. Now some may jump on me and say my last two paragraphs contradict each other, but really they don't. Light rail to Gungahlin to move those along the corridor, rapid express bus to move those from the burbs of Gungahlin.

Offline The Love Guru

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2013, 12:27:54 PM »
I am coming in late here, but if the 200 is getting to be so popular AND more high density housing continues to be built along Flemmington Road, then as far as I can see that is a very good reason for light rail down that corridor.

Elsewhere in Canberra (except maybe Molonglo in 20 years time) no chance what so ever though. Light rail won't work as a high speed intertown service in Canberra, say Belconnen/Woden or even Gungahlin to the City, where it works well is moving large numbers of people, hence a shorter high density corridor such as Northborne Ave and Flemmington Road. Now some may jump on me and say my last two paragraphs contradict each other, but really they don't. Light rail to Gungahlin to move those along the corridor, rapid express bus to move those from the burbs of Gungahlin.

Agree with you totally there. Unfortunately the government and light rail lobby are selling the light rail idea as a fix all for BOTH Northbourne/Flemington as well as being able to act as a mass transit solution which buses can feed into at Gungahlin. There is a way in which this can occur however would require a lot more infrastructure as you would need 3 or 4 tracks the length of the line, or at least as far as EPIC.

As for the comment about trams getting priority at traffic signals on Northbourne Ave, you really think that there wont be a dramatic effect on traffic flow should lights just change mid cycle to let a tram pass. It would be a complete disaster for any traffic trying to cross Northbourne Ave in peak periods, particularly at the intersection with Antill/Mouat. Could all be solved by grade seperation. If only we could get the right plan to be built, rather than a compromise to save money, then the system could be a show case of how to do things right. Just think Brisbanes South East busway desgin for light rail.

Offline ajw373

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2013, 01:04:09 PM »
Agree with you totally there. Unfortunately the government and light rail lobby are selling the light rail idea as a fix all for BOTH Northbourne/Flemington as well as being able to act as a mass transit solution which buses can feed into at Gungahlin. There is a way in which this can occur however would require a lot more infrastructure as you would need 3 or 4 tracks the length of the line, or at least as far as EPIC.
Yep think they are in la la land, same too with those who think that the intertown routes would be ideal for light rail. As much as I disliked the change at first, changing from the old 333 to the 300 and 700 series express buses from the suburbs to me proves that what people want is less changes. Going to a light rail Belconnen to City for example is just a mode change. Now if traffic from the burbs could handle light rail then yes it would make sense to convert the central section, but clearly the population density of Canberra suburbs can never support it. What could, maybe is say the US model (Dallas for example) of a light rail that serves park and rides.


As for the comment about trams getting priority at traffic signals on Northbourne Ave, you really think that there wont be a dramatic effect on traffic flow should lights just change mid cycle to let a tram pass. It would be a complete disaster for any traffic trying to cross Northbourne Ave in peak periods, particularly at the intersection with Antill/Mouat. Could all be solved by grade seperation. If only we could get the right plan to be built, rather than a compromise to save money, then the system could be a show case of how to do things right. Just think Brisbanes South East busway desgin for light rail.

Considering all turning traffic off Northborne (except a couple in the City) now queues on Northborne, whereas before they would queue in the interestion I really don't see why trams would need any extra priority. No reason why trams and through Northborne traffic couldn't be on the same phase as they would be travelling in the same direction anyway and cross and turning traffic are minor phases.

Offline The Love Guru

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Re: The Light Rail debate
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2013, 06:11:04 PM »
Quote
Considering all turning traffic off Northborne (except a couple in the City) now queues on Northborne, whereas before they would queue in the interestion I really don't see why trams would need any extra priority. No reason why trams and through Northborne traffic couldn't be on the same phase as they would be travelling in the same direction anyway and cross and turning traffic are minor phases.

I'm 99.9% certain this is how it will be done. If this is the case, I don't see how it is going to be any better than a seperated busway (similar to those on Anzac Pde in Sydney). Advantage of the Busway concept is that you can run all stops and expresses at the same time on the road as they can easily pass each other. Once again, light rail would be a better option if it were to be done right but we are all out of luck there.