Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Railigion

At the Authority's March 2, 2007 board meeting, the transportation and economic consulting firm of Cambridge Systematics (CS) presented new ridership and revenue forecasts for the Authority's proposed high-speed train system. The CS study, which was prepared for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), shows the potential ridership of the high-speed train system in the range of 86 million to 117 million passengers per year and annual revenue of between $2.6 billion and $3.9 billion by the year 2030. These projections exceed the previous forecasts in the Authority's 2000 Business Plan which projected up to 68 million passengers annually and up to $1.8 billion in annual revenue by 2020. The new projections represent a 72% - 104% increase in annual ridership and a 110% - 170% increase in annual revenue. For more information please click here: "Ridership and Revenue Forecasting Study".



The only growth has been in the number of puff pieces pushing this red-headed step child. The price is now $45.3 billion and the timetable is pushed out another 9 years and... You get it. Like every non public roads proposal late, underperforming and over budget.

So, let's just ask ourselves what 117million passengers is like. A few assumptions but don't worry, the end result is a disaster beyond comprehension. If only 1/4th of the passengers ever traverse the Bakersfield - LA segment that is 29 million. The trains are likely to hold 300 passengers and run at 80% load factors. 240 people per train 14 trains per hour. Every hour. Every day. 24/7. With one of these sweet rides pulling through LAUS every 9 minutes just how are they going to que up the passengers and load them even with 3-4 dedicated tracks? They cannot and it won't matter because the alomost high speed rail turns into O'Hare the day before Thanksgiving and adds hours to the trip.

The CHSRA is lying. About everything.

46 comments:

Big Cheese said...

First and murst Hex Hurban nation

Big Cheese said...

Damn that was pretty damn gratifying. My first first.

It's been almost 20 minutes, guess you loosers were busy partying too late on Memorial day to get up early and do a proper first.

Sweet. Made my day.

BC

Big Cheese said...

Oh, and MOIST too ya stinky bitches!

BC

Big Cheese said...

To get on topic, I believe the state of CA could do far better by taking that huge sum of money and use it to subsidize solar cells for individual homes... would definitely help the NIMBY factor much more than sinking a ton of cash to lay tracks in the stinking central valley!

It's a pity that CA is run by fools and pipe dreamers.

Big Cheese

Rob Dawg said...

California is too big to be managed by anyone. It just currently happens to be mismanaged by a liberal Republican governor and ultraliberal legislature with a big assist from two monster liberal megaopoli and dysfunctional bi-polar federal congressional contingent and two wholly forgetable senators.

You are correct. After collecting a few more comments I shall rerelease my competing proposal but I like your ten million solar roofs initiative as well.

The Real Wagga™ said...

@BC:

The stinky Central Valley is where most of your food is produced. Especially cheese

R-Boy said...

Thats a whole lot of money...but uhh..wouldn't nimby with the rail lines make it have a weird route?

Big Cheese said...

@Real Wagga,

'The stinky Central Valley is where most of your food is produced. Especially cheese'

Not for me Wagga. I live in Thailand and my cheese comes from New Zealand and Europe.

@Rob Dawg,

Germany and Japan subsidize solar power. I believe Germany is fixing the rate of electricity for 20 years so people who buy solar cells take 12 years to pay back and can sell the excess back to the grid at a fixed rate thus providing a vehicle to fund many people's retirement. What happens on year 21 is anybody's guess.

BC

baa said...

call this a dumb question if you like, but its my understanding that the area the train would be built is prone to seismic activity. Do they have to build tracks that can withstand some shaking?

i only have the east coast to go off of regarding train transport, and well, our ground tends to stay put.

1000 a weak said...

- Monorail from Sepulveda in Ranchos Palos Verdes up to Lincoln in Santa Monica.

- Monorail from Wilshire in Santa Monica to downtown then to Staples Center.

- Monorail from Wilshire & Westwood up to Sunset and then across to Dodger Stadium.

- Monorail from Ventura Blvd in the west valley to Burbank.

- Monorail from Beverly Glen & Ventura down to Jefferson, then across to Sepulveda.


Put those in and you'll eliminate a huge chunk of 405 and 10 traffic.

Queso Grande said...

@1000 a weak: have you considered the problem with parking for all the monorail stations?

-BC

Anonymous said...

Hey can anyone congratulate me on my first? I feel like Nigel after he won the Outstanding Blog award.

:-( [wipes tear]

Rob Dawg said...

The most recent route no longer goes through Santa Clarita but follows the CA-14 freeway to Palmdale Airport and over the Tehachapis to Bakersfield. This requires massive multiple miles long tunnels of rather large diameter crossing the San Andreas and several more dangerous faults on the way. Before that however is the LAUS-Burbank-Sylmar corridor. Tell everyone witihn a half mile about this plan and you better have more bodygaurds than David Crisp.

Peripheral Visionary said...

Rob: I won't comment on this specific proposal, but the fact that the transportation authority is doing a cost-benefit analysis for a rail project is more than what typically happens for a road project, where there is not even a question of break-even (unless it's a toll road), and ridership numbers and projected traffic patterns are nothing more than bad guesses. Why does rail have to turn a profit when roads can be a money pit?

Also, there's a very real investment issue to it. The old rail lines built by the coolies (is that a P.C. term?) and the Irish have returned whatever their cost was many times over. Unfortunately, we weren't far-sighted enough to secure larger rights-of-way for future use before land prices went to the ceiling, so new road projects and rail projects are equally, horrifically, expensive.

Jeffrey said...

Rob, i know what you mean.

In Phoenix, we are building a 1.5 billion dollar Light Rail system (a lot more when it's done) for what reason? Phoenix is such a huge city, i dont see it making much of a dent in the traffic problems (Which arent that bad).

It goes from Downtown Mesa (ghetto) to ASU to Downtown Phoenix. The 4 years i was at ASU for my undergrad, it was constant construction. Downtown Phoenix is a complete mess with the streets being torn up for Light Rail infrastructure that i think, a lot of people will not use.

the lurker said...

haha, hey dawg and the haterz, how much traffic is this post going to get you man? you need to stay on topic for EN, which is CASEY SERIN OF IAFF!!! without him this post is just a POS pseudo economic wannabe ripoff blog.

metroplexual said...

Jeffrey,

The point of the light rail is to get some people out of their cars. While traffic is relatively tolerable in PHX I would note that as the periphery gets built up the traffic will only get worse. LR will promote Transit Oriented Development which is one of Robert's pet peeves but they tend to sell quite well in spite of his claims to the contrary. PHX would do well to promote this kind of growth, and look to SLC as its model for how to execute LR projects. SLCs LR system is so heavily used that the rail station platforms had to be lowered due to the weight of the passengers filling the railcars.

As for this project he is showing it may well be a boondoggle, the census JTW #s should bear out if it would be fruitful, however these kind of rail projects do not generally serve TOD and require users to find another transport mode when they get to their destination which is often a "beater" car.

As for adding more lane capacity to highways that has been shot down in many locales due to non attainment and the Central Valley is no exception (it is smogging up Kings Canyon- Sequoia N.P. for Pete's sake). So the only alternative transportation choice for many M.P.O.'s is a rail alternative where ROW exists.

Just a lesson from NJ, our Transit agency kind of went with abuild it and they will come mentality and that is what has happened. We have both very successful bus and rail transit with very high cashbox recovery relative to other tarsit agencies in the US. Also where the rail stations have opened, there has been a premeium put on the community real estate values due to the transit alternitive.

Anonymous said...

Lurker, you fucking moron:

This site was around long before Serin and his debacle. Who is Rob Dawg trying to impress?

To repeat, go fuck yourself.

lurker said...

I occasionally see posts by lurker that I did not post. I have previously assumed that at some future date I will invent time travel and come back to make those posts. This post clearly was not me. Casey is getting boring and while the humor of this crowd is very entertaining, meatier subjects and alternative villians for us to hate are well worth while.

Anonymous said...

Well it might be erring to the grandiose, but there are systems in the world which handle a lot of traffic.

The GO transit system in Canada manages 47 million per annum (it's mainly rail but that does include buses). On a fairly limited route based upon commuter patterns.

GO shares many of the problems common to North America vis-a-vis public transit: low density conurbations, autocentric communities (and psychologies), outdated technology & investment in public transit.

But, it does shift a fair number of people.

I don't claim any intimate knowledge of the CHSRA scheme, but I'll bet a modern rail system can shift more than 29 million peeps per year. You cite 240 per train - hang on, in Hong Kong they manage about half that on one double decker bus (technically, the double deckers carry 117, but that capacity is horrible). So a train will hold more than 240 I would presume.

As to whether those peeps want to be shifted in that fashion, or is it good value, I cannot answer.

lurker said...

As far as alternative villians, the high speed rail is a boondoggle that we don't know enough about. I have heard, but don't know any sources, that the studies for it are taxpayer funded, and the people doing them know it won't work, but are happy to sit on the gravy train.

Where does the funding for these studies come from?
Who is making the money on these studies?

My suspicion is these guys are ripping off far more money than Casey ever will.

Anonymous said...

Clarification: The GO system serves metro Toronto which is about 5 million or so.

Anonymous said...

""Where does the funding for these studies come from?
Who is making the money on these studies?

My suspicion is these guys are ripping off far more money than Casey ever will.""

Alternatively, you could actually look into these things yourself before jumping to preconceptions.

Just an odd thought...

lurker said...

initial lookups

www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

It looks like it is state funded (political appointees)
Its job is to build a high speed rail. Not to determine if one is feasable.

Lost Cause said...

A huge increase in potential ridership, and the thing isn't even built yet! What is not to love?

Thanks for doing your part to advance the state of the art, and help make California a more livable place, Rob. When I drive the Ventura Freeway, I think of you. And your fellow neanderthals who blocked the improvemnts on that road.

Anonymous said...

Lurker:
"It looks like it is state funded (political appointees)
Its job is to build a high speed rail. Not to determine if one is feasable."

Well, I think the political appointees were put in place by elected representatives. And that being said, what isn't managed by political appointees? Roads. Schools. Military. Airports. Hospitals. Police. Emergency Services. I'm not being sarcastic, but that is the system we all have agreed works best (though I'll concede it often doesn't).

One of the big fallacies is that road transport is cheap but rail is expensive. That has more to do with the nature of funding of those respective modes of transport than the efficiency of transport. A long haul truck operates on publicly funded highways.

The point being, that quite often the costs to the public purse are pretty opaque.

Feasibility is a pretty complex question when applied to public transit.

Mouse And Pencil said...

I'd love it if BART were expanded, and buses and shuttles to stations improved - I traveled on the London Tube and buses in high school, and the freedom of being able to get to just about any point of metropolitan London is incredible freedom.

The problem is of course, the NIMBYs in the Bay Area. BART/the state had acquired the Iron Horse trail, which goes from Walnut Creek to Dublin, which parallels the 680 corridor, and it would be a welcome and needed extension of BART. However, the rich folks in the Danville/Alamo fought it tooth and nail and pulled every string they could to defeat it, even though BART said that they could run the line underground or in ways that noise would be negligible.

Meanwhile, the entire 680 corridor is a mess of traffic jams and sound walls and pollution.

Granted, they've destroyed the view of the valley with McMansions...

I'd LOVE it if they'd run BART up to Napa and the Wine country, I'd take that trip weekly to bike ride. No WAY that will ever happen.

I live a block from a BART station and ride it often, it's a great system, if pricey, but that cost is much better than sitting in the traffic jams, or dealing with the horrible drivers and taking my life into my hands dealing with drunk drivers and the uninsured.

I'd LOVE a high speed rail to LA...but earthquakes worry me. I don't want to be on a train going that fast if a decent one hits.

R-Boy said...

Whats the dead space that gets taken up on a rail-line? 10ft? 20ft?

Like I know. Hey DC has one of the most effective Mass transit systems, and its completely gridlocked at the stations from 530-630 pm.

All in favor of wifi and MASSIVE FOCUSED telecommuniting raise their hand.

Me!

lurker said...

Feasibility is a very complex question and I like to see non-biased analysis of the high speed rail.

My understanding of the Calif High Speed rail (and I have not done extensive research) is that independant analysis says it is a boondoggle, but its supporters have managed to use some donations to get it in a perpetual funding for analysis process.

Robs quite and dirty numbers say it is not going to work, but further analysis may disagree. Right now I do not take CHSRA as credible source

Anonymous said...

R-Boy
"I'd LOVE a high speed rail to LA...but earthquakes worry me. I don't want to be on a train going that fast if a decent one hits."

True. Though as we've all seen, an earthquake manages a fair amount of carnage on freeways as well. That aspect of engineering is well and truly of the 'hail Mary' type. You hope the modern infrastructure you live in will survive but it is a game of chance in the final analysis. But I reckon, with some statistical certainty, that golf is dangerous in terms of lightening strikes! Or more soberly, tsunamis on idyllic tropical beaches in Thailand. We all live with the grim hand of an actuarian calculating our odds!

segfault said...

Re: Galina's $1000/week demand

How's this for a sweet deal: What if the $2589 (or whatever he earned in the first week) doesn't carry forward to the next week? I.e., he has to have at least $1000 a week coming in every week--and if he earns $10000 in a week, it doesn't let him off the hook for ten weeks. This seems more fair, and by fair I mean difficult (also, it would speak to the goal of a stable income).

Casey Fannnnn said...

Gee whiz. All this exotic fancy talk. I don't even think there's rail transit around here. I've never seen a train station, but I haven't been looking. The population density is about 0 and shrinking locally, though. I have heard of people driving great distances to catch a train. High-speed rail transit is something that exists only on the TV, like Iraq or THE GRIM ADVENTURES OF BILLY AND MANDY or weight gain that ISN'T YOUR FAULT.

Mouse And Pencil said...

@R-boy

BART is about the same footprint as a train, but you have to add in the concrete bed that the rails lie on, which is what makes it different from traditional rail. You also have to have the Fed mandated safety wall, which wides it, and BART is two tracks, one in each direction. So realistically, the track is about the same footprint as a two lane road - and BART also goes underground or up on trestles.

The issues they have with it is, they claim it will negatively effect their housing values, along with increased crime, traffic, pollution (they had the balls to claim that, because BART is electric, and more electricty means more pollution), and my favorite, it would be "an eyesore".

I live a block from BART. I cannot hear it, and it's surrounded by trees on the stretch of track i live near, so you can't see it - but i can hear the freeway 3 blocks away.

I imagine even if they could defeat the reasons they listed, they'd find ways with the environmental impact or some such. They just don't want it, and refuse to allow it. You can get to Dublin now, but you have to go out to Oakland, then south, then east, about 4 minutes travel time longer than it should.

I'd love it if they push it further west past the city and hit Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park, the zoo, or the Presidio/FortPoint/Golden Gate Bridge.

Rob Dawg said...

Peripheral Visionary said...
Rob: I won't comment on this specific proposal, but the fact that the transportation authority is doing a cost-benefit analysis for a rail project is more than what typically happens for a road project, where there is not even a question of break-even (unless it's a toll road), and ridership numbers and projected traffic patterns are nothing more than bad guesses.

You are confusing two separate processes. Transit proposals are required to perform economic benefits analyses and include any benefits in their proposals. Roads projects are forbidden from including economic benefits for various reasons. The ridership/useage projections for new transit projects are horrible. I tend towards "criminally misleading" but hold my tongue to merely "unrealistically optimistic." Roads traffic projects however are usually very accurate, single digit accuracy or better. The difference is difficult to explain. Roads (excepting pork barrel) need demonstrate existing unmet need before even being considered.

Why does rail have to turn a profit when roads can be a money pit?

For the overwhelming majority of roads capacity projects they are cash positive endeavors for near ever level of governance. That seems hard to believe but it is true.

No one is asking rail to break even; Has never been even a remote possibility. Rail never ever even addresses capital expenditures and with few exceptions makes even 1/3rd of its' operating costs via user fees.

Also, there's a very real investment issue to it. The old rail lines built by the coolies (is that a P.C. term?) and the Irish have returned whatever their cost was many times over.

Quite true. Not just for the railroads but everyone benefitted. Investment in mobility always pays dividends. The problem is that CAHSR costs far more than any potential return justifies. Put $45.3 billion bearing interest at 6% and you pay for 50 million plane tickets without touching the principal with no operating costs and significant returns in taxable activity.

Unfortunately, we weren't far-sighted enough to secure larger rights-of-way for future use before land prices went to the ceiling, so new road projects and rail projects are equally, horrifically, expensive.

Oh but "we" were foresighted. The railroads were granted huge swaths of land surrounding their rights-of-way. That's why their names are still a century and more later tied to wealth and power.

Anonymous said...

@Metroplexual

The Phoenix area has problems that are difficult to overcome. Simply put, any kind of fixed rail system in Phoenix is doomed to be an expensive failure.

The city of Phoenix alone is 575 square miles.
Mesa is 125 square miles.

Scottsdale is 184 square miles.

Altogether, Maricopa County is 9,224 square miles. (About 500 square miles larger than the entire state of New Jersey)

Urban sprawl and fixed rail lines don't mix.

Sprezzatura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Akubi said...

As far as BART goes, I completely agree with Mouse and Pencil. However, other than the underwater sections, I’m not particularly worried about being in a high-speed train during an earthquake (anymore than many other places).

9:54 AM, R-Boy, Me, too!

Rob Dawg, I wish you would stop railing on rails;).

metroplexual said...

anonymous 11:14 AM,

I am not advocating railing the whole region, but areas with densities high population and that are destinations already make sense.

Mesa, Tempe, downtown and skyharbor strung on a line makes a whole lot of sense. Just getting airport employees too use it will be a plus like they do in ATL. and again these types of ail projects getrify areas and make others generally more desirable, except in Robert's eyes.

Anonymous said...

@Metroplexual

My point is that there is no real density in the Phoenix area. Phoenix builds out, not up.

Rob Dawg said...

...other than the underwater sections, I’m not particularly worried about being in a high-speed train during an earthquake (anymore than many other places).

I are a ingineer. I'd wish to be in a BART or LAMTA Red LIne tunnel in a big quake. Not even an issue AFAICT.

Rob Dawg, I wish you would stop railing on rails;).

I -love- rails. I sing their praises to the high heavens. Here we have near two centuries of uncontested success that in no small part contributed to this nation's previous uncontested preeminence. Why would I bust on rail? moving cotton, coal, copper, cars... great. Absolutely no question, efficient and sustainable. What you think you see as an anti-rail stance is one of my questioning the claims of passeger rail transit advocates. HUGE difference.

Rob Dawg said...

and again these types of ail projects getrify areas and make others generally more desirable, except in Robert's eyes.

Not at all. Re-investment cannot help but improve an area. Just understand this is a subsidy not a case of expecting returns. There is noplace in the US where passengers can be expected to come even close to paying operating expenses. Think about what transit agencies call operating expenses and tell me you wouldn't love to have that deal for an auto.

Rob Dawg said...

Metro and Anon vice PHX:

The specific problem is twofold. Phoenix is not dense enough and it is too big already to graft on a fixed route transit network. 20 years ago and Phoenix could be the Boston of the Southwest. Now the best they can hope for is Atlanta without water.

king friday the 13th said...

amen bob dawg. holy chrissakes, I have NEVER been to a more spread out combobulation that PHX. There really isn't a downtown, which is kinda unique for a city that size.

Speaking of which, any EN'ers have advice for neat out of the way restaurants in PHX.

I could hit Marconi Grill or Jamba Juice, but well, Queen Sarah actually has culinary taste and despises chains.

Anonymous said...

@King Friday, what kind of food do you like? I lived in Phoenix for over half my life.

If you think the downtown is anemic now, you should have seen it before America West Arena was built. Bank One Ballpark added some traffic as well.

But you are correct, there really is no downtown.

Lost Cause said...

"Oh", they used to say, "LA is too spread out for light rail. There is no downtown", they said.

It turns out that LA is spread out BECAUSE of rail. LA grew according to the placement of rail lines. The same rail system that GM et al conspired to remove, and replace with buses.

metroplexual said...

Robert,

what you fail to see is that infill and redevelpment will push thwe city higher along this line. TOD will bring in higher density redevelopment in low density neighborhoods and commercial areas will expand.

Do not look at it as a graft but as a growth motivator. Especially as gas prices go up and the population gets older living near this line will be a more attractive choice in where to live instead of being holed up in some far flung subdivision which is unserved by transit. In your 40-60s it is fine but some people