Transit and the "D" Word

A rail transit system with few passengers and a high price tag is, by most accounting, a poor investment economically, environmentally, and socially. Comparing the costs and the number of passenger-miles traveled for 54 American rail transit investments since 1970, we found wide variation in cost-effectiveness. The worst-performing system costs nearly 50 times more per passenger-mile than the best-performing. A methodology for evaluating cost-effectiveness is developed and related back to the numbers of jobs and residents around transit stations. Continuing to invest in high-capacity transit in low-density areas will require large subsidies per passenger trip and produce few tangible benefits. Areas that meet, or have credible plans to meet, minimum density thresholds should be priorities for investment.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 2-8
  • Serial:
    • Access
    • Volume: 40
    • Issue Number: 1
    • Publisher: University of California Transportation Center (UCTC)

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01444758
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: UC Berkeley Transportation Library
  • Files: BTRIS, TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 24 2012 5:09PM