Comment 107322

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted December 22, 2014 at 13:12:39 in reply to Comment 107314

That's a good point to remember: no form of transport is absolutely pollution free, but there are better and worse choices, and LRT is one of the best (following walking and cycling). Let's count the ways:

  1. Long service life for the vehicles (typically 30-40 years) and rails and basic infrastructure (probably longer than the vehicles). This is far longer than diesel buses or cars (typically 8-15 years).

  2. Like all transit, the emission per traveller is far less than a private vehicle.

  3. There is no pollution at street level where people actually work, walk and live. This is especially true compared with diesel where the particulates are particularly dangerous. It is better to release the pollution farther from densely populated areas, and a single generating facility can afford far more effective pollution controls than individual buses (i.e. economy of scale).

  4. Electricity can be generated in many different ways, the distribution network is already installed, and the LRT can shift (at no cost) to less polluting sources as they become available. Calgary's (of all places) LRT runs entirely off non-polluting wind power. Shifting fuel sources for non-electric vehicles is difficult and expensive.

  5. Finally, steel wheels on steel rails is very efficient: far less energy is need for LRT than for buses.

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