Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Chicago - BRT over LRT

The City of Chicago is looking at a massive Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that will provide the city with 10 new BRT routes, covering nearly 100 miles. The data suggests that while Light Rail Transit (LRT) would cost $35M per mile to build, BRT would cost only $13M. I'm still reading all the details and it will be interesting to see if they compared the cost of maintenance to the mix. I've always been told that after 5 years, even the BRT buses start racking up the maintenance costs and that is where LRT becomes more economical. I'm sure this discussion must take place somewhere in their technical analysis.

Lots of reading for transit geeks here. The full report can be had here, including a technical analysis of the project. As you know, our very own TranLink has been having stakeholder and public consultation sessions for the Surrey Rapid Transit study area that includes Langley City. Both LRT and BRT are some of the four options that TransLink is studying. The other two include expansion of regular bus services and another options called "Best Bus", where the bus network would be tweaked to provide more efficiency and coverage.

It will be interesting to see TransLink's final numbers and final recommendations. Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and her Council traveled to Portland, OR and are advocating for LRT technology.

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