Progression of Transit

Hopefully the idea of growing into light rail does not come as a real surprise to anyone.

{Darrell Cook}, executive director of Mountainland Association of Governments, said if the dedicated bus system linking Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University and Provo’s East Bay works as expected, the system could, in time, be replaced by a light-rail system.

There would seem to be a natural progression for public transit that city planners could prepare for that would allow for public transit to be tailored to the current needs of a community with a defined growth potential as ridership needs increase over time. With advanced planning it should be relatively painless to meet expanding needs by starting early without investing prematurely in expensive systems.

The transition from BRT to light-rail is a last step along one line of progression, but I think there may be two progressions available. There is the regional transportation which starts with simple bus service and graduates to more complex bus service (with BRT and dedicated bus lanes etc.) before converting dedicated bus lanes into light rail – assuming that the growth and ridership supports each successive transition. Then there is the longer range transportation between metropolitan areas which starts with shuttles or express buses and eventually graduates to commuter rail or even high-speed rail. There may even be a step between the express/shuttle phase and the commuter rail phase that can be filled with DMU’s.

If early development incorporated the possibilities of future transit options then it might be easier and less costly to build and maintain transit commensurate with population.

2 comments for “Progression of Transit

  1. July 23, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    One problem with any rail system is that it is very costly to alter routes. The neighborhoods being served tend to change over time so that transportation needs change. Adapting bus service to deal with changes is relatively easy and inexpensive, while adapting rail service is not.

  2. July 23, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Agreed, that’s why the rail options come at the end of the progressions and are only applied to those routes where we can be reasonably sure that ridership will remain steady at levels that justify the use of light-rail, commuter rail, or DMUs.

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