For a Better Brisbane

Light Rail for Brisbane 4

Cost is often mentioned as a reason Light Rail is not possible. Light Rail transport (LRT) is now in operation in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. It’s often forgotten that LRT (along with Metros and Heavy Rail) is a whole level of service above on-street buses, and especially so if this means the light rail vehicle is given its own exclusive lane or reserve (which it often is).

Adelaide's Glenelg tram. So successful that it's now being extended again. Reproduced from Robboguy's photostream under a creative commons licence. Click image for URL.

Indeed the question should not just be whether or not one mode is ‘cheaper’ than another, but whether the higher level of service, extra passengers attracted, quality and comfort of ride given by LRT over the other alternatives is worth the extra cost.

Rapid rail transit and LRT lines can attract greater numbers of passengers than does a typical bus route. All three modes [rapid rail transit, bus on busway, surface bus] are so different in type of service and potential users than the automobile that plotting them on the same diagram [cost per person trip vs passenger volume] is meaningless; it amounts to comparing apples and oranges.

Vukan Vuchic, Urban Transit Operations, Planning and Economics, pp.524

[notes in brackets added by BrisUrban]

Vuhic goes into further detail; But discussions about levels of service aside, there are ways to lower the cost of LRT. Having realised that attracting private funding may speed up LRT system construction (much like the Clem 7 or Brisbane’s Airtrain), or make LRT more competitive with bus services, one UK-based company is finding innovations to lower the cost and time to install LRT. More about this in the next post.

Also in BrisUrban’s Light Rail for Brisbane series:


Written by .

June 4, 2010 at 10:47 pm

3 Responses

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  1. West End to New Farm following the 199 route or CityGlider seems sensible. Trams used to run down to the West End ferry before they were ripped up.

    LRT underground as a light metro might also be worth looking at. The Adelaide system is quite good, like a train for large parts of the route and free travel from terrace to terrace.


    June 8, 2010 at 5:19 pm

  2. thanks for this info & posts. Its great to see what’s possible.
    with those firms bidding for the Goldie LRT surely it’d be worth pitching a Brisbane line or two in the very near future.


    June 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

  3. I love your posts! Keep it up! Brisbane will one day get LRT, probably not under campbell newman but hopefully the next mayor.


    June 4, 2010 at 10:57 pm

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