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Portland is a PR machine for light rail & streetcar

Here are Some Facts About Portland Oregon          

“It must always be remembered how cost-effectiveness works in the public sector: the cost IS the benefit.” - author unknown

Trimet Study: Higher density = More cars on the road (more congestion)

Oregonian, September 25, 2007:

If the Eastside Streetcar is built, about 4,537 housing units would be added along the route, compared with 1,105 without it,

Residents in such dense neighborhoods travel an average of 9.8 miles a day by car, less than half the 21.8 miles a day for Portland-area suburbanites. By driving less, they reduce roadway congestion, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Lets Look Closer:

Low density......1,105 units  x  21.8 miles/day  = 24,089 total miles/day.

High Density....4,537 units x 9.8 miles/day = 44,462 total miles/day, about double the total driving on the same streets.

It appears that density does reduce driving, but not enough to compensate for the increased number of people the result is increased congestion since there is more travel on the same streets..

Also see High Density Causes Congestion (based on Dunphy and Fisher: "Transportation, Congestion, and Density: New Insights," Transportation Research Record, No. 1552)