Why Light Rail Fails
Light rail is $6 billion – 70% – or more of the cost of the NTIP plan. We are only against light rail/tunnel. We are FOR all other transit strategies & solutions. Light rail is in approx. 14 U.S. cities. A comprehensive analysis of those 14 cities cities reveals that light rail: 1.) does not increase public transit ridership, 2.) does not reduce traffic congestion, 3.) greatly harms the much-needed bus system, 4.) eliminates vital roadway lanes & space for the 98% of commuters who will never use light rail.
Below: the reasons why light rail systems do not reduce traffic congestion and do not increase public transit ridership.
1. Light rail is 15 mph max – SCHOOL ZONE SPEED. It is very slow.
2. Most people do not live close enough to the rail lines to justify using it – they can drive a car to their destination in either the same time or less time than it takes to rail commute and all steps required for rail commutes; see numbers 4-7 below.
3. The ”real life” factor – most of us need our car during the day for vital necessities: taking children to/from school; work; necessary appts; errands; assisting family members; leisure activities; the places we go every day; and much more. It is not feasible or possible for someone to give up their car every day, all day. The steps to ride light rail:
4. Rail riders must drive/get transport to the station.
5. Riders must wait for the train to arrive.
6. Riders must stop at every stop, until the stop closest to their destination.
7. At the stop closest to their destination, riders must get transport to their final destination.
The result is that light rail commute times are longer than car commute times; and sometimes longer than bus commute times, depending on the efficiency of the bus system. Experts say that the answer to traffic congestion is ALL the effective solutions, including a good, efficient bus system, technology and more.
8. Light rail is inflexible and does not ever adjust with the public transit system’s needs or with peoples’ commuting and traveling needs.
9. Light rail ruins and cannibalizes the much-needed bus system as a whole; funding and management is forced to be spent on expensive and labor-intensive light rail and not to the bus system; the majority of transit riders suffer.
10. Light rail is incredibly expensive to install, operate, maintain, manage, power (electricity; coal from the TVA) and more. Light rail costs $123 million per mile to install. The NTIP’s rapid bus lanes cost $8.5 million per mile.
11. Light rail systems are often unsafe and dangerous to ride, especially for women and children. The location of these planned light rails is also a safety consideration, as the rails are planned in and near downtown Nashville.
12. Light rail on roadways eliminates vital lanes for the 97% of vehicle drivers. In Nashville’s situation, light rail is planned on five (5) primary roadways which have on average 4.5 lanes. Rail cars and exit areas will take up at least three (3) lanes, likely more. The current narrow roadways – Nashville primary roadways have four lanes, while many cities’ roads have six lanes – cause a guaranteed roadway quagmire for the 97% of commuters and vehicle traffic, including all police, fire, medical & emergency vehicles, due to: loss of lanes and resulting constriction of normal traffic flow; loss of turn lanes; rail cars blocking lanes; and similar.