Monday, August 10, 2009

Future Planning

It looks like Shanghai has long term plans for it's metro system.
Developers are looking at TOD around HSR stops in California.
“I think not only is it something that is a good thing, it’s certainly going to be a phenomenal planning tool for the next generation of growth,” said Perry Dealy, president of Dealy Development. “The opportunity to take the high-speed stop hubs and convert them to maximize their mixed-use, high-density potential is great. You’d have what I’d call a TOD, transit-oriented design, starting with residential, work-live, retail, entertainment and other kinds of venues that are part of the mixed-use characteristics.”
Yet another transit line starts out already worrying about costs more than connecting people with places they want to go.

“Dorfman says the projected cost of the line ranges from $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion, depending on the final route. Those numbers put the proposal give the project a Cost Effectiveness Index of $30 per rider for the length of the line, just outside the range required by the Federal Transit Administration for federal funding.

In order to move into the next step which would be to begin preliminary engineering you have to reach that $29 CEI number, so we’re very close to that,” she said.

The CEI is messing up basic planning. I can appreciate getting rid of some of the insane gold plating that is rampant in LRT planning, but I can't understand how a single computer index based on modeling that everyone knows is bs can decide that a route that goes where people want to go is too expensive. So instead, we'll build the cheap route because its cheaper, not because it's better.


Faith said...

I agree, the CEI is a poor measure, but why do we keep making decisions one line at a time? Especially if we would be more effective building a network.

Another way to think about it: How much network does $1.8B buy? One LRT line? Or one LRT line plus several streetcar lines?

The funding, of course, doesn't work that way: it's attached to one line only. I also wonder if engineers could do decent ridership projections for a network either.

It would be fantastic if the some of the federal funds for planning sustainable communities could target all the cities going through New Starts one line at a time and help those cities figure out their long-term network options. Then we wouldn't have to penalize the really important but expensive components with the line by line decisions and less expensive streetcars could fill in some of the local transit needs. Maybe the new goal could be to achieve the highest overall ridership for the regional network.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

I completely agree on the network issue Faith. Houston was actually able to do that with their 5 line system they are constructing now. FTA allowed them to model the whole system as a network rather than just go line by line which allowed them to actually change BRT back into LRT lines because the projected ridership on the network was high enough in the CEI to justify the cost.

Cap'n Transit said...

Ahh... Beijing, Shanghai, what's the difference? ;-)

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Dang it I keep doing that@!#$!% I should probably stop posting so late but it's the only time of day I get a chance. Thanks Cap'n

ChiefJoJo said...

The main problem is there's just not enough money to go around. $1.4B/year for the US? $1.4B probably wouldn't service the debt of the MBTA or NYCMTA.

Sure the CEI is biased, but we'd be better off reforming the entire transportation bill than fighting over the craps from the current New Starts program.

BruceMcF said...

In the reform of the transport bill, though, we need to think that any single metric will be terrible for some great project, and thing about multiple dimensional funding.

EG, set up three pools of money. Rank applications on congestion relief, energy and petroleum saving, and support for transit oriented development. Top ranking in each pool gets 40% funding, 80% max ... a program top ranking in all three drops out of the pool where it ranks the lowest.

"We have a great development index per dollar, but we need to boost our energy efficiency per dollar if we want an 80:20 match".

Matt Fisher said...

In addition to the 11 Chinese cities with metros currently, there are 13 cities building their first metro line, and 15 cities looking at metros. That will be a total of 39 Chinese cities with a metro in the future, three times the number of American cities. I'm somewhat shocked. :|

Matt Fisher said...

Oh, and that "cost effectiveness index" as it exists is a bad measure. I would like to see it dropped ultimately. I don't know what the f**k they mean by "cost effectiveness".

Alon Levy said...

The map Yglesias is linking to has been on Wikipedia for months now, possibly years. I think I saw it in 2007, and I know for a fact I saw it last month when I was in Shanghai.

And China has 4 times the population of the US. Why shouldn't it have at least 3 times the subways?