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Busways, Capital Metro and greenhouse emissions

By Leon Arundell - 3 June 2016 29

Bus stop

A Gungahlin to Civic busway offers greater overall economic benefits than Stage 1 of Capital Metro, and will probably cause fewer greenhouse emissions.

This story begins in 2012. Labor needed to win most of the four Greens seats at the October election if it was to avoid another term of minority government. The Greens had promised $200 million funding for light rail, in the belief that it would cost less than the $288 million Majura Parkway.

The Government’s April 2012 City to Gungahlin Transit Corridor Concept Design Report supported the Greens’ policy. Its simplistic review of costs and benefits concluded that light rail would provide higher benefits, despite an estimated cost of $860 million.

The only remaining questions seemed to when the government would decide to build light rail, and be which party or parties would make up that government.

Then in August the Government produced a submission to Infrastructure Australia that dismissed bus lanes and transit lanes on the basis of unsubstantiated assertions, and included a cost benefit analysis that showed that a $249 million busway would provide benefits worth between $492 million and $1,188 million. Light rail would cost an extra $276 million, but would deliver less than $44 million worth of extra benefits.i

To release the report less than three months before an election would open a debate about methodologies, assumptions, costings and uncosted factors, as had happened a year earlier with the report on which the Government based its decision to build the $180,000 Civic Cycle Loop (which eventually cost $6 million).

The Government kept the Infrastructure Australia report from the public until long after the election. Instead of committing to a busway, Labor committed to spend $30 million on light rail and “committed to increasing the public transport share of all work trips to 10.5% by 2016 and 16% by 2026.” The 2015 ACTION Expenditure Review reported that by 2014 that share had fallen to 7.1%ii.

If the Government gets back on track to reach its 2026 commitment, then increasing bus patronage will mean that every bus displaced from the Gungahlin-Civic route will be back to full operation within a year.

But the Chief Minister announced on 20 October 2015 that the bus trips displaced by Stage 1 would be reallocated to “more buses, on more routes”. This means that, even though Stage 1 will operate on 100% renewable energy, there will be no reduction in public transport greenhouse emissions when Stage 1 commences operation.

The Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Capital Metro Stage 1 estimated that its construction would cause 60,853.76 tonnes of greenhouse emissions.iii

In a recent letter to the Canberra Times I asked why Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury welcomed the signing of a contract for a project whose construction will cause 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse emissions, that will not reduce public transport operating emissions and that will discourage public transport use by removing bus stops, and replacing direct services with connecting services that require walking between stops, waiting for pedestrian signals and wondering if the connecting service has already left.
I could have added that Capital Metro will offer less frequent services.

Mr Rattenbury replied, “The evidence shows that Leon Arundell’s assertions … are in fact wrong … When suggesting that light rail will increase emissions, or traffic, it should always be compared with the alternatives.

The only evidence he identified was a report by Steffen, Percival and Flannery that did not take into account emissions from light rail construction, did not consider bus rapid transit patronage, and based its emissions estimates on the curious assumptions that as few as 25% of bus patrons “whose current route is solely or predominantly down the Gungahlin-city corridor or the Dickson-City segment of the corridor will shift to light rail.

Footnotes:

i See Tables 50 to 53 of the 2012 Infrastructure Australia Submission – (PDF 3.1MB)

ii Table 28 of the 2015 ACTION Expenditure Review.

What’s Your opinion?


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Busways, Capital Metro and greenhouse emissions
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wildturkeycanoe 11:28 pm 07 Jun 16

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

I get the car noise incessantly both outside my office and at home. Love to put a db meter on it but it is way above annoying and above conversation level.

Of course given damaged hearing, your experience (not of any tram apparently) may be different.

One thing is certain, there is an occasional very quiet tram and hundreds of loud non-stop cars, or buses and the easily experienced reality says that you are badly wrong.

From the Gold Coast Bulletin – “COMPLAINTS from hundreds of sleep-deprived residents in high-rise units along the light rail track have forced the State Government to review the tram speed limit.”
Yes it was from 2014, but there are still some complaints after after they supposedly rectified it recently.
Is not one of the benefits of living along the transport corridor that on top of paying a lot more for your accomodation, you get the added bonus of the continual traffic running to and fro, day and night? If you want peace and quiet, go out into suburbia, into the sticks where public transport does not venture.

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

Speed has not been the issue, ever, except in the minds of car drivers rushing to get their Maccers or to circle to find parking but mostly stuck in traffic. We need a clean quieter and more urban friendly mass transit system, period. That it runs down its own right of way, not down the road in traffic like a “street car” or bus, to a regular schedule is all a bonus.

If you are obsessed about speed, get a bike, they flatly beat all other transport options from Gungahlin to the City. Easily.

Speed certainly is an issue. If the tram is going to take longer to get to your place of employment, or return to your place of residence, many people may not be taking up the option. Has it not already been pointed out that the tram will be slower than the existing bus services? That is not considered an improvement in my book.
A bicycle quicker than a car over a 12 km trip? If you are super fit, sure. Bicycles have to stop at the traffic lights the same as cars do [Though this is commonly not adhered to], so with an average speed of around 20-30km/h, whilst cars do 60km/h, I cannot understand how you come to that conclusion.

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

btw Can you refresh everyone on the costs of your car/s and their details, that you informed us were a basis of your modeling? Some here may not quite understand how you calculate and research the data and facts.

How and why did this have to come to a car cost comparison again? It wouldn’t matter which way I explain it, you wouldn’t change your opinion any more than I will believe in man-made climate change.

rubaiyat 12:13 pm 07 Jun 16

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadway_noise

Particularly interesting is that overblown and expensive structure they built over the Melbourne freeway to mitigate the noise. And it doesn’t work.

rubaiyat 11:55 am 07 Jun 16

JC said :

Zed said :

They will do all the same damage buses do to roads, occupying the same roads as cars, make all the same tyre on road noise and offer the same unworkable ride for commuters. I still vainly try to get work done on my laptop on buses but spend almost as much time trying to correct my mistyping as writing it in the first place before giving up.

Oh, please! Tyre noise from electric buses? Surely no more than the metal to metal contact of the tram’s wheels and the contact wire to the pantograph. For someone so interested with data and facts, an American study http://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/10.3141/1756-05 found that trams were only marginally quieter than diesel buses whilst electric buses were significantly the quietest. Electric cars are so dangerous already because you cannot hear them coming when you cross the road, meaning you have to be extra vigilant with your eyes. So much worse for vision impaired folks too.

There is also a phrase or sentiment repeating itself throughout web pages on the subject.
“Streetcars that replace bus lines are not a mobility or access improvement. If you replace a bus with a streetcar on the same route, and make no other improvements, nobody will be able to get anywhere any faster than they could before.”
Surely this cannot be true, I mean our government has spent millions convincing us of quite the opposite!
But again, it doesn’t make any difference, the pro-trammers will not see sense, no matter what you tell them. They are in love and love conquers all.

Always good to add to your education: “The tire/ pavement noise accounts for 75 to 90 percent of the overall noise”.

http://www.pavementinteractive.org/article/pavement-noise/

I get the car noise incessantly both outside my office and at home. Love to put a db meter on it but it is way above annoying and above conversation level.

That American study on an “abandoned railway” about says it all. Also you do know the difference between street car and light rail?

You can easily test it for yourself to see however they came up with that, no details, they got it badly wrong. Trams generally do not run on abandoned railway tracks, usually tracks embedded in pavement and these days with silicone compound to isolate the rail. The trams running through the Bourke Street Mall don’t disturb the buskers one jot. The loudest thing is the warning bell which is necessary to alert the dozy who otherwise can’t hear the quiet rumble.

There are locations in Melbourne, which does not have particularly quiet trams, that are adjacent to buses which easily drown out the tram and all human conversation. I had the misfortune to stay in a Flinders Street Hotel once and the one thing that you could not hear was the passing trams.

Of course given damaged hearing, your experience (not of any tram apparently) may be different.

One thing is certain, there is an occasional very quiet tram and hundreds of loud non-stop cars, or buses and the easily experienced reality says that you are badly wrong.

Speed has not been the issue, ever, except in the minds of car drivers rushing to get their Maccers or to circle to find parking but mostly stuck in traffic. We need a clean quieter and more urban friendly mass transit system, period. That it runs down its own right of way, not down the road in traffic like a “street car” or bus, to a regular schedule is all a bonus.

If you are obsessed about speed, get a bike, they flatly beat all other transport options from Gungahlin to the City. Easily.

btw Can you refresh everyone on the costs of your car/s and their details, that you informed us were a basis of your modeling? Some here may not quite understand how you calculate and research the data and facts.

wildturkeycanoe 6:42 am 07 Jun 16

Zed said :

They will do all the same damage buses do to roads, occupying the same roads as cars, make all the same tyre on road noise and offer the same unworkable ride for commuters. I still vainly try to get work done on my laptop on buses but spend almost as much time trying to correct my mistyping as writing it in the first place before giving up.

Oh, please! Tyre noise from electric buses? Surely no more than the metal to metal contact of the tram’s wheels and the contact wire to the pantograph. For someone so interested with data and facts, an American study http://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/10.3141/1756-05 found that trams were only marginally quieter than diesel buses whilst electric buses were significantly the quietest. Electric cars are so dangerous already because you cannot hear them coming when you cross the road, meaning you have to be extra vigilant with your eyes. So much worse for vision impaired folks too.

There is also a phrase or sentiment repeating itself throughout web pages on the subject.
“Streetcars that replace bus lines are not a mobility or access improvement. If you replace a bus with a streetcar on the same route, and make no other improvements, nobody will be able to get anywhere any faster than they could before.”
Surely this cannot be true, I mean our government has spent millions convincing us of quite the opposite!
But again, it doesn’t make any difference, the pro-trammers will not see sense, no matter what you tell them. They are in love and love conquers all.

rubaiyat 5:45 pm 06 Jun 16

Now that we have a figure on electric buses of $900,000 that clarifies the $3.6 million, plus 4 drivers, plus all the infrastructure they run on, if they were used in a BRT in place of just one tram.

They will do all the same damage buses do to roads, occupying the same roads as cars, make all the same tyre on road noise and offer the same unworkable ride for commuters. I still vainly try to get work done on my laptop on buses but spend almost as much time trying to correct my mistyping as writing it in the first place before giving up.

Maya123 5:41 pm 06 Jun 16

John Hargreaves said :

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

I guess no one in ACT govt considered electric buses?

Yes they have, and when they become practical will be used as feeders to the Light Rail, but they will never be the quiet efficient substitute for the route density of smooth, on time, Light Rail.

And they have been mentioned as a furphy by the opponents of clean safe public transport who want neither.

Yes, I’m guessing that the only reason that many of those against trams mention buses, is they don’t want to admit they NEVER use buses, and really their real wish is to have no public transport.

rubaiyat 5:01 pm 06 Jun 16

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

I guess no one in ACT govt considered electric buses?

http://the-riotact.com/budget-to-fund-electric-bus-trial-20-new-buses-new-city-loop/178331

rubaiyat 4:31 pm 06 Jun 16

Mordd – IndyMedia said :

I guess no one in ACT govt considered electric buses?

Yes they have, and when they become practical will be used as feeders to the Light Rail, but they will never be the quiet efficient substitute for the route density of smooth, on time, Light Rail.

And they have been mentioned as a furphy by the opponents of clean safe public transport who want neither.

steveu 11:29 am 06 Jun 16

I guess no one in ACT govt considered electric buses?

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