In the great Seattle transit wars (light rail—monorail—buses), I have no ideological attachment to any particular technology. I’m interested in real quantitative analysis of long-term benefits per dollar spent. So, in today’s two long articles on Sound Transit in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Seattle Times, the nugget that stood out to me as important was this one, from the PI:
"A study by Sound Transit staff showed that rail [in the state route 522 corridor] would cost about $1.6 billion in 2005 dollars to build and attract only 6,700 daily riders in the year 2030. Bus rapid transit would attract significantly fewer riders—2,700 a day—but would cost only about $110 million to build."
My calculator tells me that investing in bus rapid transit in this corridor yields one new rider (presumably, daily, for many, many years) for every $41,000. Investing in light rail in this corridor yields one new rider for every $239,000. Buses win!