Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 08:24:00 AM EST
See, the thing is, I have been trying to think through a reply to the anti-rail argument The carbon cost of building and operating light rail, by Emory Bundy of the Coalition for Effective Transportation Alternatives.
To sketch Bundy's argument:
- a CO2 payback period for the tunnel on the order of 90 years
- public transport contribution to CO2 reduction is exagerated, because the US DoE Transport Data Book gives per passenger energy by rail as 2,784 BTU's vs 3,445 BTU's by car
- the most cost effective solutions are to use existing capacities ... subsidize bus fares to increase average loadings, encourage vanpools, etc.
- Sound Transit promotes sprawl by providing ample free parking in suburban locations and heavily subsidized trips to the city
- The same money could be used to much better effect in supporting other, rival, means of transport, with special attention paid to bicycles.
The plea, and some thoughts, after the fold.
From the diaries ~ whataboutbob
... I wanted to get a solid reply put together by last week, but did not make near enough headway ... and although the looming recession is providing me with unplanned days for blogging, the Labor Day Weekend (we don't have Labor Day on no commie May 1, but rather on the first Monday of September) with the three day weekend my best opportunity.
I would like to ... research / think through / or most ideally, find already done for me somewhere ... the network effects of the northern tunnel extension. That is, the article uses the projected ridership for that specific project, but if the project opens the door for multiple on-ground extensions, then the network CO2 payback would certainly plummet. The whole point of leading off with the single-leg CO2 payback of the tunnel is to make the payback period as long as possible.
Alternatively to this, unearthing the capacity of the tunnel compared to the projected ridership, to be able to say what the direct CO2 payback is for various levels of total peak hour capacity.
Second, the indirect CO2 payback is completely ignored ... that is, the payback from reclustering development that reduces total transport miles required. I have seen a reference to Colorado seeing more indirect reduction than direct reduction in car miles ... that is, the reduction in driving due to Transit Oriented Development exceeding the direct transfer from cars to rail. But I have not seen the actual research ... that would be a great jumping off point, especially for helping to explain why vanpools are sugar coating the same Auto-Size-Fits-All development system of ever growing transport miles per person.
That then goes into the fact that having people in outlying areas driving into train stations to park and ride encourages the de-sprawling of those outlying areas ... where the article tacitly relies on the premise that clustering development in outlying areas is impossible, plus the even more absurd idea that the alternative to providing regional rail service is that the residents in those areas will all move into the city.
The final argument, regarding bicycles versus trains ... that is one that I am feeling very confident on, if I can but get there. Speaking as a bike commuter over a period of five years, it is complete bullocks, and I am reasonably confident I can make that case.
Also, any and all ideas for effectively structuring the reply will be very welcome.