RELATIVE COSTS OF BUS AND RAIL TRANSIT SYSTEMS

THERE IS A GROWING NEED FOR INFORMATION ON THE RELATIVE COSTS OF BUS AND RAIL SYSTEMS FOR PROVIDING RAPID TRANSIT SERVICE. RAPID TRANSIT IS HERE DEFINED AS TRANSIT OPERATING ON ITS OWN EXCLUSIVE RIGHT-OF-WAY. THE FIRST STEP IN COMPARING BUS AND RAIL COSTS IS TO ANALYZE THE VARIOUS METHODS SUGGESTED FOR OPERATING BUSWAY SYSTEMS. THIS WAS DONE BY COMPARING THE RELATIVE SERVICE AND COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH FOUR SEPARATE OPERATING PATTERNS. THE SENSITIVITY OF THE CONCLUSIONS WAS TESTED TO DETERMINE THE EFFECT OF LINE LENGTH, PASSENGER TRAFFIC PATTERNS, FEEDER BUS ROUTE LENGTH, STATION SPACING, AND OTHER VARIABLES. IT APPEARS THAT NO PARTICULAR OPERATING METHOD IS INHERENTLY SUPERIOR TO ANY OF THE OTHERS. ANY ONE METHOD MAY BE SUPERIOR IN A PARTICULAR INSTANCE, DEPENDING ON THE OPERATING ENVIRONMENTS AND CONDITIONS THAT MUST BE MET. THE BUS AND RAIL COSTS CAN THEN BE COMPARED WITH ASSURANCE THAT THE ANALYSIS IS NOT DISTORTED BY THE METHOD OF BUS OPERATION SELECTED, OR, AT LEAST, WITH INSIGHT INTO THE DIRECTION AND MAGNITUDE OF THE BIAS. HYPOTHETICAL BUS AND RAIL SYSTEMS WERE DESCRIBED SO THAT EACH PROVIDED IDENTICAL SERVICES. RELATIVE COSTS FOR PROVIDING THE SERVICE VARY DEPENDING ON LINE LENGTH, PROPORTION OF THE LINE REQUIRING SUBWAYS AND PASSENGER LOADINGS. SENSITIVITY OF COSTS TO RISING WAGE RATES AND VARIABLE INTEREST RATES WAS ALSO EXAMINED. RAIL SYSTEMS CAN DEMONSTRATE COST SUPERIORITY WHERE PEAK-HOUR PASSENGER VOLUMES EXCEED 12,000 AND /OR WHERE MORE THAN 20 PERCENT OF THE SYSTEM REQUIRES SUBWAYS. AT VOLUMES OF 4,000 PEAK-HOUR PASSENGERS, AND WHERE NO SUBWAYS ARE REQUIRED, BUSES SHOW COST SUPERIORITY. /AUTHOR/

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Paper sponsored by Committee on Transportation System Evaluation and presented at the 48th Annual Meeting. Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Authors:
    • Deen, Thomas B
    • James, Donald H
  • Publication Date: 1969

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 33-53
  • Monograph Title: Transportation systems planning
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00241283
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: No. 274
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 9 1970 12:00AM