Sunday, August 30, 2009

Disappointing CAP

I'm a bit disappointed that the Center for American Progress would be pushing natural gas BRT as a strategy instead of electrification with clean energy. They also have the fun generalizations about BRT such as "And construction of BRT systems cost 30 times less than a subway system" and "which operates like a subway system". I believe we've discussed this before in that once you get to the point where you're building real BRT the costs are much much higher than these 30 times claims.

If we're going to assume that BRT is a solution for heavy traveled corridors that aren't dense enough in riders for light rail, there is a case to be made for electrification and trolley buses in terms of public health (particulates) and energy (one power plant vs many). While CNG is much better than diesel, zero particulates should be the goal. We continue to see fossil fuel based solutions when we should be looking even further down the road.


Jon said...

Do I understand correctly that 'US30 BRT' between Denver and Boulder will be a Curtiba/Bogata style BRT line with its own dedicated lanes, on-line deluxe stations and operate at a high capacity?

Why did Cleveland drop the ETBs from the Euclid Corridor BRT? I remember for awhile they were pretty set on ETBs as the mode.

Avery said...

I believe the US30 BRT is kind of a substitute until the commuter rail gets built, since planning and construction will take a lot longer. I don't see the BRT getting much ridership when there is a rail alternative in the same general direction.
Also, I think it was included as most major projects like Fastracks has to have some highway improvements to make everyone happy. I don't think they are planning any dedicated bus lanes or the like as the long term will be commuter rail in the same corridor.

Jon said...

the reason i ask is because i recently saw this image:

dont know if its an older concept or the latest plan, or just a small portion of the route.

fastracks does seem to be building on the higher end, afterall they have 2 commuter rail lines planning on using EMU which is impressive.

Matt Fisher said...

Is CAP basing their cost estimates on Curitiba or Bogota then, or my home of Ottawa? I agree with what you're saying here. Disappointing indeed for CAP to be supporting BRT as a substitute for rail. They should ideally not be giving credibility to Walter Hook, Bill Vincent, and other BRT proponents who want to use BRT as a substitute for rail.

Yeah, well, I feel the US36 BRT project is redundant.

Avery said...

Interesting find, RTD has the estimated ridership in 2030 for the BRT at 11,000, where the commuter rail is only 6,900. At the same time, the BRT cost 243M while the commuter rail is 720M.
I don't know how they got these figures and where they think 11,000 people will ride the bus instead of the train.
Of all the Fastracks projects, the NW corridor is definitely the one I am least excited about, the 3 electric commuter lines are going to be great though.

Alon Levy said...

First, CAP is located on the same point on the ideology-expertise spectrum as Heritage.

Second, the stream of progressivism that CAP belongs to is very gung ho about the US auto industry. It views GM as the symbol of the American middle class; if it supports mass transit, it's coupled with the belief GM can make all the trains.