China is a great example!
China has an impressive HS rail network because when they went into hyper-growth mode, they chose to open that door instead of following in the footsteps of the US. We abandoned our rail network and essentially replaced it with a highway network. I’ve been to China twice and when talking with locals, all the roads leading out of the major cities are basically two lanes wide. I’m sure that’s a generalization but a little googling and it sure seems that way.
it’s indeed hard to understand why there is no push for highspeed trains in the U.S.
I’m not really sure if China the greatest example of all time for rapid transit infrastructure development, but putting that aside… at least as an immigrant, I think the reason why this is the case is pretty obvious -and it has to do with a uniquely American culture. Sorry for the long post, but please bear with me.
Driving a car in high school/college and getting your license is a big deal in the United States; here, we talk about it a lot, every teen movie or TV show almost always shows the “cool” kids with their own cars, and teenagers often judge themselves over whether they have a license (and even what kind of cars they have).
My first language has a slur to describe how obsessed Americans are about cars -and many other people I’ve met from outside North America basically have the same reaction, no matter how urban or rural their hometown is.
It turns out tons of historians and anthropologists argue about what we’re talking right now, but it seems to me that the prevailing theory is that Americans reeeeeeally like their freedom and rugged individualism… including the ability to go where they want on their own, without having to submit to anyone else. In a country where plenty of people are born and raised to believe in that kind of mindset, it’s only natural that mass transit would be the antithesis to everything “mobility” should stand for. If the American Dream is about social mobility, the car would be the physical manifestation of doing that, physically.
@Raleighwood this probably answers your question when you said suggested Elon Musk should:
build above ground light rail within cities and bullet trains for cross country travel.
…because people love their forty acres and mules. By doing this, you’d be asking people to give up their land and hard-earned legacies for something they might not necessarily use. Because the US has such an individualistic culture, to those people, it’d look like you’re casually saying that the livelihoods and products of everyone who lives or works in your proposed right-of-way don’t matter to you.
Think of it this way: if you, a simple, freedom-lovin’ individual who just wants to do things on his/her own pace using a big hunk of quality American engineering with his/her name on the title, need to go somewhere, wouldn’t you do things your own way with a car instead of adjusting your time and path to fit yourself in a vehicle that isn’t yours?
Going back to what we’re all agonizing about, we’re nothing like China because we have a car addiction; that runs in the fabric of America. I agree having less Hyperloops and more bullet/maglev trains (or… back to our original topic, light rail and BRTs…) and two-lane major roads like @dtraleigh described would be amazing, but we should be talking about how we could make that massive cultural correction happen, if we’re going to do that…
(Side note: here’s a paper, a BBC article, and a Wikipedia page if any of y’all want to read more. It also doesn’t hurt to know the automotive industry applied social manipulation or conspired to break antitrust laws back in the day to tip the balance to favor a car culture, too)
I love to drive and agree with all you said, but change is easy when it’s something that is needed, and we need bullet trains/light rail, for those where change is not easy, fine, but I want options and will ALWAYS choose light rail/bullet trains for long distance travel, airlines are pathetic, long distance driving in cars is getting very old and dangerous, most people should not have their license, they do NOT know how to drive, especially on I-95, sorry, a lot of people from that orange state are the worst.
Example: From Raleigh (drive 40 minutes to I-95, go to Raleigh bullet train station, park my car, get on train, go to NYC Bullet Station or Hilton Head Station (from this I-95 station its 45 minutes to an hour to Island - get rental or Uber or have someone pick you up).
My car is off that pathetic I-95 joke of an Interstate.
You know how many cars, just from Raleigh, would be off the Interstate!!
Bullet Station only at large metro areas along 95 and vacation destinations.
No small town stops, they can drive to closet station.
No Musk tunnels, that is a rediculous idea!!
I want to be above ground to see USA, not in a hole like a rat.
Plus, above ground is so much more cost effective than a pipe in ground!!!
I’m with you… The city should partner with Kane to develop the bus station on the south side of the tracks on the Clancy and Theys land, connected to RUS by the West st. extension tunnel. The busses would then have more direct access to Saunders via West St.> Lenoir or South St. for getting in/out of DTR without disrupting the street experience of the warehouse district.
We need warehouses in the warehouse district! I will shed tears when they demo 5 Star. I love that place. Oh the charm of an old brick warehouse restaurant! That whole block should be gutted and renovated for retail space and it absolutely would become a retail district in conjunction with The Dillon, Morgan street food hall, Union Station, CAM, and the shops on Martin st.
What’s the ridership percentage?
One of the other reason trains and transit can not get off the ground in this country is that there are very powerful people that are fighting hard to keep the status quo…
Koch brothers are a joke, need to go away, they are pathetic people, type of people this country does not need, old crow’s trying to stay relevant and preventing progress.
Does anyone know what is a typical percentage that a bus system’s budget is covered by fares? Operation maintenance and capital expenditures (including debt). I imagine it’s a wide range from almost entirely subsidized with general revenue to to nearly covered by fares but I don’t know at all…
(Leo feel free to create, or dictate a new thread here too)
Reality Check on DT Raleigh's physical size
What is the percentage of road construction and maintenance that is recovered except on toll roads?
I’m not some John Locke paid shill shouting “boondoggle!”. I just want to know what the ranges are. I know full well that roads operate with general fund subsidies primarily.
Ah nice. A super wide range indeed. I wish all the arguments for and against would discuss what an acceptable fare recovery ration was instead of just ambiguously claiming a system is or isn’t viable. I suppose looking at all taxes in given area would be a part of the discussion too, and things like, what percentage of the population uses which transportation modes.
We have to do a better job at describing the value proposition to those who won’t use buses or other transit options in the future. It’s those people, who are only concerned about the infrastructure that they use, that need to get on board with why we need transit options. Certainly one can roll out all sorts of esoteric economic indicators to bolster the objective need for transit options, but it’s gotta hit home to the non-user. Telling stories about how it’s going to keep cars off the roads that they use is likely a better winning strategy for buy-in. The same is true for DT development. Telling a story to the SFH Raleigh dweller that increased tax base in the city’s core will offset the need for, or slow down, property tax increases for their 1/4 acre will get them to encourage denser development in downtown.
Lol I didn’t mean to imply you were. I just wanted to make that point for the general discussion.
Interesting cost conversation. I compare it to education, as I don’t have children and never will. But I know that it truly helps most but not everyone…so I don’t scream when my taxes keep going up. I vote for those persons to be in office that can hopefully see the same value in things that I do and comprise!
I actually think Raleigh and the county are doing a pretty good job. We have a lot of investment that needs to happen in very basic transit infrastructure. Making transit more convenient and more reliable is the number one way to increase ridership. I really hope this BRT system works well and the city expands it to hit all the destinations in the county.
We have to do a better job at describing the value proposition to those who won’t use buses or other transit options in the future. […] it’s gotta hit home to the non-user. Telling stories about how it’s going to keep cars off the roads that they use is likely a better winning strategy for buy-in.
What if we, the people on this forum, organize something to do this?
It seems like GoRaleigh, GoTriangle etc. sort of ended up building an echo chamber around themselves (not that it’s their fault; a public agency on social media will do a good job getting the attention of people who follow them and are passionately for/against them, but not so much for people who don’t realize they should care). This sounds to me like it’s more of a grassroots territory… or at least something that could be done individually in a wayyy more casual way.
Light Rail: What works for Raleigh
Pulling a topic back to this thread regarding New Bern/BRT. I thought this article was interesting about the effect BRT has on TOD. TL;DR is that basically generates investment within a half mile (i.e. walking distance). https://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/01/12/new-evidence-that-bus-rapid-transit-done-right-spurs-development/ Despite some zoning challenges I expect that there will be a mini-downtown (or neighborhood “main street”) between Wake Med and DT Proper. The most likely place seems to be from Tarrboro to Raleigh Blvd.
It’s unlikely that there will be a value proposition to those who don’t use them. People’s decisions about whether to drive are not are largely based on their expectations about traffic. If a lot of people start taking public transit (to the point where traffic eases), it will simply motivate more people to get in their cars at times where they currently avoid doing so.
There IS a value proposition here to business, obviously, as it puts more people in motion (to their stores to buy things). And there’s an obvious benefit to people who want to go out and currently don’t because the traffic sucks (in addition to the benefit of people who face shitty traffic during rush hour). But efficient public transport will naturally draw people to it if it’s clean and quick and reliable. The whole idea is to incentivize people to use it, just as the New York City subway naturally does.
Part of the issue with Rapid Transit buses will be that there’s actually a potential negative to drivers who will see scare roadspace eaten by permanent bus lanes. So you could actually see traffic get worse overall at all times of the day (where the negative impact from light rail would be none).