Saturday, March 21, 2009

Curitiba Subway

This article is from February but it was just brought to my attention. Seems as if those BRT lines just aren't enough.
Brazil's Paraná state capital Curitiba is planning to build a subway line and highway concessionaire Triunfo Participações e Investimentos (TPI) (Bovespa: TPIS3) is seriously studying the project, TPI president Carlo Bottarelli told BNamericas.

The subway initiative would be a first for the city and a first for the highway concessionaire. The city is planning to build a US$1bn, 22km system that will cross the city from south to north, Curitiba business relations secretary Luiz de Carvalho told BNamericas.

It also shows you the costing differences between Brazil and the United States. 13.75 miles of Subway is costing $72 million a mile. That's pretty cheap. If we could do that here, I think we'd have more Subway lines.

H/T ASD

14 comments:

grvsmth said...

In this case, "subway" appears to refer to grade-separated rapid transit. As you can see in the picture accompanying this article, not all of it will be underground. I'm not sure any of it will be, in fact.

grvsmth said...

Well whadya know, they really are subways! 19 of the 22 km of the first line will be cut-and-cover. And guess what? They'll go under the current right-of-way used by the famous BRT system - which will be transformed into a network of linear parks! I'm still processing the implications of all this.

Matt Fisher said...

Golly, that's cheap! Some BRT boosters have referred to Curitiba's busways, supposedly the best in the world (up there with my city's Transitway and Bogotá's Transmilenio), as a "surface subway".

Cap'n Transit said...

Clearly if it were a surface subway, they wouldn't want a real subway.

John said...

You can spin this to be anti-BRT if you want, but it really shows the success of BRT at providing a much-needed transit service and building ridership until passenger demand can support higher capaciy rail transit. It's about picking the most cost-effective alternative. Clearly Curitiba's needs have changed over time, largely thanks to BRT.

arcady said...

John: the problem is that BRT people are pushing BRT as a substitute for rail. The impression that I get, at least, is that the example of Curitiba was supposed to prove that you can build something that has the capacity of a subway, but with buses, and that it would be more cost-effective. Well, clearly even Curitiba disagrees now: the capacity of BRT is not enough, and it takes up valuable space on the surface.

Anonymous said...

BRT is a stepping stone. It's either a stepping stone to letting public transport sink back into neglect after public clamoring dies down, or it's a stepping stone to some form of electric rail.

Matt Fisher said...

Yes. All this crap about BRT leading to an "eventual" conversion to rail is just an attempt to legitimize it. (This is like with on Geary Blvd. in San Francisco, where there should be rail transit.) I agree with Arcady here.

By the way, last week, we are getting closer to true light rail, electrified, in Ottawa. Apparently, I can't stomach why they still think using BRT in lieu of rail as a "low cost alternative" is a good idea. It's still the same second rate bus.

And Curitiba isn't the only place: there's also Quito, Ecuador (and their busway uses trolleybuses). What I've heard about is plans for light rail. And their other favourite example, Bogotá, is going for a true subway. (Yes, it's on Wikipedia.)

I've never been to California, but I'd sure like to, and my dad's been to San Diego, and ridden the Trolley! (He did in 2002.)

Alon Levy said...

Construction costs scale with income. Brazil's nominal GDP per capita is slightly less than 1/7 that of the US, so it makes sense that subway construction costs are on the order of 1/7 the American level.

John said...

I just think that all transit - BRT, LRT, Metros, et cetera - are on the same team. It is counter-productive to have pro-rail people in-fighting with BRT people. We should all be transit people. Sometimes BRT - which is itself an ambiguous term constituting various levels of bus service - will be the best option for a corridor. Sometimes it won't. I don't think anyone is really out there arguing that rail should never be used ever.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Really john? Have you not seen all of the propaganda calling brt light rail on rubber tires or just like lrt but cheaper? I agree we are on the same team but the opposition doesn't share the same sentiment

Cavan said...

BRT has been used as a distraction by the anti-transit crowd for decades. Until that changes, we should view it as a tool of the detractors and trojan horse.

Here in the Washington region, the anti-crowd tried to use BRT on already congested surfaces roads as a trojan horse to oppose the Purple Line LRT.

Heck, if you look back to the 1970's, some in the anti-crowd tried to suggest that we didn't really need our multi-billion dollar Metro when buses could do the same thing for a couple of million. Right. Surface buses are going to move 800,000 people per day.

I don't know off the top of my head more examples but there's no shortage of them.

Anonymous said...

Geez... when will they learn?

There are plenty of areas that don't have the density or ridership to support rail, but these areas can contribute significant number of trips into and through a metropolitan area. It's time EVERYONE started thinking of TRANSPORTATION NETWORKS and not just individual lines; and these networks need to be populated with a MIX of multi-modal transit alternatives. There are places where BRT IS the BEST SOLUTION. And I agree with whoever wrote above, Curitiba would not be in the positive place it is now, with the ability to grow into rail if it wasn't the generation of work that went into building BRT there.

I love rail, but there are simply times and places where rail won't work. The idea is to get people out of their cars, to offer them solutions that work NOW, not in 20 years. That's what infuriates me about "strictly" rail proponents, you'd rather fight and quibble for 20 years before starting service rather than get people out of their cars and into transit alternatives NOW!!! We need to recondition Americans to embrace transit.

Matt Fisher said...

I found on Urbanrail.net that some of the southernmost parts will be elevated. I agree, rail isn't the best solution for every corridor, and perhaps BRT may be better. We need high densities for rail to work. I will still say that the public would be more likely to prefer rail over buses, and rail should be the transit spine, and BRT (whatever it is) is in a small role, not the other way around,