Portland is a PR machine for light rail & streetcar

Here are Some Facts About Portland Oregon

Rail Costs Too Much, Does Too Little

First, a note about counting riders. The transit industry counts boardings, which is each time a person steps on (boards) a transit vehicle. If one person starts a trip on a bus then transfers to MAX, that is two boardings. If that one person repeats this on the way back home, that is FOUR boardings for one round trip. Trimet reports boardings as "riders". MAX has an average of 1.2 boardings per trip (2.4 per round trip.)

Current projections are that MAX will carry 16,000 riders accross the proposed Interstate Bridge each day.

Lets take a closer look:

- 16,000 riders are 8,000 people taking round trips.
- Experience shows that at least 2/3 of those people previously took the bus. That leaves 2667 people who would be in cars.
- There are about 1.3 people per car, so that is 2051 cars.
- The rush hour is about 3 hours, so that is about 683 cars per hour
- A typical lane of freeway carries 1800 cars per hour.
- 683 cars per hour is 38% of one lane of traffic.
- A BILLION DOLLAR rail line carries 1/3 as many cars as a 1/2 Billion dollar freeway lane.

Light rail costs 6 time a what a road costs.

$1.4 BILLION Milwaukee rail is projected to attract 8-12,000 new (to transit) riders by 2030.

Lets take a closer look:

- 8-12,000 NEW to transit riders (using the midpoint of 10,000) is 5,000 riders making round trips plus some making transfers (which count as addtiional riders.)
- MAX has 1.2 boardings per person. so 5,000 riders is actually 4167 people.
- At 1.3 people per car, those 4167 people would be in 3205 cars.
- $1400 million to take 3205 cars off the road is $436,817 for each car taken off the road.

Metro projects 22,000-27,000 riders. Taking the midpoint of 24,500 riders:

- 24,500 riders is 12,250 round trips.
- Some trips involve transfers, so the 12,500 trips is 10,208 full trips.
- On average, only 1/3 of the riders are drawn out of cars, so that is 3403 people taken out of cars.
- On average there are 1.3 people per car, so that is 2617 cars taken off of the road.
- Spread over a three hour rush hour, that is 872 cars per hour.
- A typical lane of freeway carries 1800 cars / hour, so that is 48% of one lane of freeway.
- A lane of freeway costs $5-10 million per mile.
- Adding two lanes to the 4.5 miles of McLaughlin between the MLK-Grand split to Milwaukee would cost between $45 and $90 million.

A 50% local match for $1400 million is $700 million, but we can

build DOUBLE the road capacity for 1/10 the cost.

(You can build your way out of congestion - but first, you have to try.)

Also see: False Promises: Light Rail Reduces Congestion