The Benefits of Light Rail – Canada Style

Ottawa Light Rail

Transforming our Nation’s Capital

Hamilton, Ontario

TheAi??academics view,

Advantages of Light Rail Transit


One Response to “The Benefits of Light Rail – Canada Style”
  1. Haveacow says:

    One of the factors that is only touched on in the Ottawa promoitional planning document that Cardinal Fang referenced was that, the switch to LRT from the current BRT system will save 10 million + a year on diesel fuel and a long term reduction of 50 million + a year on operating expenses from from not having to maintain the current size of the bus fleet plus no need to expand the bus fleet in the future that would be very necessary with the current downtown Transitway system intact.What is not being includedis the extra revnue that OC Transpo hopes to bring in for upgrading currrent route schedules. Currently, certain suburban routes which desperately need more buses can’t get them because, hundreds of buses are stuck during the peak periods in the downtown core in our daily bus jam on the Albert and Slater Streets bus lanes. A recent planning department statement believes that anywhere from 60 -120 million a year can be saved in operating costs over our existing system depending on which costs and new revenues are included. To make the Skytrain lobby happy they should know that it (Skytrain technology, or whatever Bombardier calls it now) was considered but, was dropped mainly due to the extra construction costs to the right of way as well as, the extra maintenance costs of the LIM motors and right of way technology (the induction rail or 4th rail as it is often called in Toronto) . Thats with a private right of way already in place and paid for decades ago.

    Current Passenger Levels in the Peak Period (AM Peak): 10500 People/Hour/Direction
    Albert and Slater Lane Peak Period vehicle requirement: 180 Vehicles/Hour (official) , 185-195 Vehicles/Hour (when counted several times a year by my company)
    Wellinton/Redeau Streets: 120 STO Vehicles/Hour in the peak direction (Gatineau Quebec’s Transit Service).
    42 OC Transpo Vehicles /Hour in the peak direction.
    Thats 162 Vehicles/Hour in the peak direction on a street that is not part of the Transitway system and at best, has a peak period bus lanes with no special signal priority.

    Now most here in Ottawa agree that BRT can work because it has, however, it can be quickly overwhelmed and any transit agency worth it’s budget will admit that, if you are sucessful with BRT a very careful operating plan and vehicle procurement shedule has to be followed or you end up getting swallowed by your own sucess. Just as what happened here in Ottawa. That threshold point for switching from a bus to rail mode is a highly debated point here due to the large number of factors involved. The complexity of how all these factors effect each other makes it very difficult to transfer to another city a blanket statement about when to switch modes and have it still be accurate.

    Zweisystem replies: From what Zwei has read is that yes BRT works, but LRT works better, especially attracting new ridership.

    The Adelaide O-Bahn guided bus provides a case point. The O-Bahn failed to attract new ridership and its ridership increases mirrored that of the non guide bus routes, yet the antique Glenelg Tramway, using vintage circa 1929 cars performed better than O-Bahn!

    A note on the reaction rail. What most people do not realize, the LIM must be kept at an optimum 1 cm from the reaction rail and as the rail and tyre wears, the reaction rail must be raised of lowered to suit the need. This is very time consuming because it all must be done by hand. All the Skytrain wheels must have about the same wear as problems arise if part of the fleet has newer (higher) tyres on their resilient wheels. With LRT this is a non problem.