The generic comparison of transit modes, absent site-specific considerations, is too abstract to be meaningful. The consideration and comparison of rapid transit modes is necessarily and appropriately directed by a myriad of real-world factors always unique to the specific case at hand. They include various geographic and demographic realities, "colors of money," amount of funding available, and political opportunities and constraints, to name just a few. Although these considerations are frustrating to "purists," they are nonetheless facts of life and have tremendous weight in any decision about what can and should be implemented. They also tend to blur the cost and benefit distinctions among transit modes. Experience in Los Angeles provides many examples. There are a number of transit funding sources available, each with limitations on types of eligible projects, amounts available, and procedural requirements. This applies to local, state, and federal funding and requires a mixing and matching of transit modes to available funding sources if the objective is to accomplish as many overall improvements as possible. In some cases transit planning is influenced by the existence of available rights-of-way, be they railroad, freeway, or other relatively available routes. There are always political factors that provide strong impetus--positive or negative. Some proposals are strong technically but weak, or even opposed, politically, and vice versa. Some transit planning is driven by public mandate as is the case in Los Angeles with the development of a countywide locally funded rail transit system. This paper is not a generic comparison of modes; presented instead is a review of experience in Los Angeles with three specific proposed rail corridors that range in status from the conceptual to the "ready to build." It is believed that they are illustrative of the trade-offs and realities inherent in rapid transit planning. (Author)

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper appeared in Transportation Research Board State-of-the-Art Report 2, Light Rail Transit: System Design for Cost-Effectiveness. Presented at the Conference on Light Rail Transit held May 8-10, 1985, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 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:
    • Richmond, R
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  • Publication Date: 1985

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: p. 23-25
  • Monograph Title: Light rail transit: system design for cost-effectiveness
  • Serial:

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00457382
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309039177
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1986 12:00AM