An analysis of data from the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) System is outlined, and it is concluded that rail transit is an energy waster. Improvement of the efficiency of transportation systems could only be achieved by emphasis on the development of more efficient automobiles and the development of bus-oriented transit systems. In this analysis, the criterion of passenger-miles per British thermal unit (PM/Btu) is used to evaluate the relative efficiencies of rail transit and highways. A comparison of construction energy costs reveals that BART used 25.2 times as much energy as required to construct an urban freeway. The operating-energies of BART, buses, and cars are 4740, 2900, and 8310 Btu/PM respectively including both propulsion energy and a pro rata share of the energy involved in constructing the vehicle. BART like all rail transit systems attracts passengers from existing bus systems. Although BART has a high auto-diversion, its net energy saving is only 680 Btu/PM.

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  • Corporate Authors:

    American University

    Development Education and Training Research Institute
    Washington, DC  United States 
  • Authors:
    • Lave, C A
  • Publication Date: 1977-2-10

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00149364
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 15 1981 12:00AM