Comment 89140

By tre (registered) | Posted May 29, 2013 at 14:02:19

In the Benefits Case Analysis, travel time savings account for over 70% of the "incremental transportation user benefits". I would like to see what their actual calculations are, because the way it's presented the numbers simply don't add up.

From the Benefits Case Analysis: "With the improvement of transit services along the Main Street / King Street corridor in Hamilton, the analysis shows that the investment will generate significant time savings for existing transit users (those that currently travel on buses), new transit users and auto users."

Existing transit users will benefit only if they take the LRT (or BRT). If the transit user is travelling North-South or taking a bus on another corridor, he or she does not get any benefit from the LRT. For transit users that do take the LRT, the benefit is pro-rated based on the length of the trip on the LRT. You get the full benefit (of 8 minutes or whatever stated in the report) only if you travel the route from one terminus to the other. If you are on the LRT for only two stops, the time savings will be small. Also, because the distance between stops will be longer, the walking time for existing transit users may increase. The time savings you get on the LRT may as well be offset by the increased time to walk from/to your source/destination.

New transit users, if they used to travel by cars, will likely have worse commute times than before. Except in heavily congested areas(which Hamilton is not), public transit will always be slower than cars. Public transit is a cheaper alternative to automobile, and the reason people don't use it is because it's slow. The whole point of building transit is to narrow the gap in commute times between driving and taking transit. The smaller the gap, the more people will see public transit as a tolerable alternative to driving. But this gap will never be eliminated, and those who switch from their cars to the LRT or buses will have their commute times lengthened. Did Metrolinx consider the extra commute time as costs?

I was inclined to agree that auto users will benefit from a faster commute due to fewer cars on the road (thanks to other commuters taking the LRT), but then congestion isn't a problem for Hamilton in the place: Plus, the implementation of transit-priority signals will likely disrupt the vehicular traffic on or crossing the corridor. What we might see are more traffic lights installed and more irregular signal cycles which are designed to speed up transit vehicles at the expense of car traffic.

That's why I'm skeptical about the numbers.

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