Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Digging Deep in Remote Places for Transit Insights

A shift today from socko to subtle – from images of train-vehicle collisions to a more nuanced message about why at-grade rail isn’t right for Honolulu’s future system.

An Arizona Republic online story describes Tempe’s options for connecting with Phoenix’s at-grade Metro light rail.

“Tempe’s streetcar would look similar to Metro light-rail trains but would be smaller, carry fewer passengers and weigh less,” says the story. “The streetcar would be able to stop as often as every block, which is much more frequent than light-rail stops.”

In other words, Tempe's at-grade option would be slower, smaller, less efficient and (socko) vulnerable to collisions with other surface traffic.

That’s quite a contrast with Honolulu’s rail system (groundbreaking late this year) which will be a high-speed, high-volume, highly safe and highly reliable option for traveling the 20 miles between East Kapolei and Ala Moana Center.

You can’t say the same for at-grade transit, and there’s nothing subtle about it.

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