Subways and subway stations cost far too much to build in the U.S. Whereas Londoners recently built 3-1/2 miles of subways and subway stations for only $18 million, the Washington Metro is running $50 to 60 million/mile. With costs like this, the U.S. simply cannot afford to build many miles of subways. Among ways to dramatically cut costs: (1) establish better contracting practices--e.g. having the consultant do a more through geotechnical investigation so subway contractors won't have to put large contingencies factors in their bids; (2) introduce new technologies such as slurry walls, secant pile walls, and precast concrete liners; (3) Remove the burden of risk from the shoulders of consultants, risks connected with the introduction of new technology; (4) More carefully study alternatives in the initial planning phases of a subway system--e.g. necessary for subway tunnels to be so large? Subway platforms need to be that long? Do stations have to as large or as deep? Too much over-design? In sum: the U.S. DOT is unhappy with the designs of current subway systems; they are not as cost-effective as they could be. The U.S. must introduct technical and institutional innovations, as other countries have done, if costs are to be sharply reduced.

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00147682
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ASCE Civil Engineering
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 16 1981 12:00AM