Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rapid Transit "Light"

Concerned with the high cost of the City of Winnipeg's rapid transit proposal and the complete lack of a business plan, the CTF proposed an alternative approach today.

The CTF's plan calls for the government to continue with its original plan of running an "active transit signal priority pilot project" down Pembina Hwy before proceeding with their mammoth, $327 million proposal.

Active transit signal priority systems place devices on busses that allow them to communicate with upcoming traffic lights. Depending on the system's settings, traffic lights can be directed to turn green earlier or remain green for a longer period of time. Ultimately, the amount of time that busses spend at red lights drops. In fact, some jurisdictions have seen total transit time reductions as high as 40% after implementing active transit signal priority systems.

At $250,000 per mile on the high end, the CTF estimates that a system could be installed to service Portage Ave, Pembina Hwy, Main Street and Regent Ave for approximately $10 million. Most importantly, the system wouldn't require any new road infrastructure. Conversely, the governments' plan would require 9.6kms of new roadway, three new bridges and a tunnel.

You would think the city would jump at the chance to improve transit times without having to build new infrastructure. After all, doesn't the City always claim that it can't maintain its existing 'infrastructure deficit'?

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