Public Interest Transportation Forum -

Comparing Cost of Rail vs Bus Transit Expansion in the Central Puget Sound Region

by John Niles and Jim MacIsaac, P.E.

Rail Costs at Least Five Times More than Bus

John Niles prepared a concise summary of just what the Transportation 2040 Plan from Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC) reveals about the productivity of planned public transit investment, told in four pages with four graphics.  The last page shows that PSRC analysts believe that the next phase of Sound Transit rail investment will result in an investment per new train rider of $573,000. This is five times more per additional transit rider than is accomplished with investment in more bus service. The PSRC data includes both operating and capital investment funds.

Jim MacIsaac, P.E. using different data than Niles from both Sound Transit and Federal sources concludes that the estimated $18.8 billion pending capital investment in light rail transit including financing costs is 35 times greater than could be achieved by a similarly performing bus rapid transit system on HOV/HOT lanes. See his work here.

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Last modified: April 15, 2013

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