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FIT Wellington: By the Numbers

Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker. — Paul Krugman

New Zealand has among the lowest productivity in the OECD, over the last decade about 22% below the OECD average.

In 1968, Dietrich Braess showed [1] that traffic expands and contracts to fit the available road space; you can’t fix traffic congestion by building more lanes for private motorists and reducing lane capacity doesn’t make congestion worse.

Worldwide there are about 400 cities with light rail transit currently operational, 60 light rail networks are under construction and another 200 are planned.

The productivity of a light rail lane is about 10 times that of a private vehicle lane (capable of moving at least 12,000 people per hour vs 1200 people per hour).

The productivity of a light rail vehicle operator is about 14 times that of a bus driver (7 times the vehicle capacity, 420 vs 60; twice the average speed, 30 km/hr vs 15 km/hr).

Light rail’s operating costs are cheaper than bus operating costs once ridership exceeds about 2500 passengers per hour (2200 pph for regular buses, 2800 pph for bus priority).

A 5 minute headway means 12 vehicles per hour, which replace 7 × 12 = 84 buses, leaving about 46 buses per hour on the Golden Mile during peak periods.

12 vehicles per hour have a capacity of about 5040 people per hour, which is ⅔ of the current 6000 per hour on the corridor, plus 25% for an uptick in ridership generated because it’s light rail (more conservative than Auckland’s 30% uptick, which reflects that city’s suppressed demand).

46 buses can carry over 2300 people per hour, over the estimated 2000 pph we expect (⅓ of the peak total; the current 130 buses per hour are running below maximum capacity).

5000 people per hour would make Wellington an “average” performer among roughly comparable French cities.

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Links

  1. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braess’_paradox [1] [↑]

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Page last modified on 09 May 2017 at 02:27 PM