So City Council is looking to choose a rapid transit system for London, decades after similar cities across the continent. London is close to making glaciers look like Usain Bolt. My reading of the recommendation is it will involve a hybrid of Light Rail and Bus Rapid Transit. I see the benefits of this system but believe a full LRT system makes more sense in terms of long term cost, it could accelerate densification of the west and south.
London’s findings advocating LRT over BRT were not an anomaly. Hamilton’s Operating Costs Fact Sheet is from 2009, Mississauga/Brampton fact sheet is short and to the point, and Perth has studied the issue. This comparison from Virginia mentions two things the other comparisons didn’t; the potential for bus rapid transit to increase congestion, and the dedicated bus lanes slowing BRT down when they’re converted to HOV lanes.
I’m guessing the higher labour costs for bus rapid transit were factored into the calculations, but were the potential for greater benefits, strikes, pensions, or volatile fossil fuel prices? Granted there will be similar costs with LRT but with fewer operators needed to move more people it will be less of an issue.
While doing some quick Google searches I found a document from the US Government Accountability Office that is dated but suggests BRT is more likely to have cost overruns and delays in opening than light rail. I would be interested to see other, more current, studies comparing cost overruns and delays.
So based on the information I’ve looked at I believe London should go with LRT over BRT, it seems the more logical choice. With the Paris Climate talks about to start and how that could affect what London will have to do to help meet Canada’s commitment than LRT would be the safer option in terms of attracting Federal funding.
Here’s a random link for you management or planning nerds.