Train On Wheels: L.A.'s Unsung Transit Success

Should Los Angeles be investing more in bus-rapid transit?
July 2, 2012, 5am PDT | Abhijeet Chavan
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With ridership tripling in one year, the Orange Line busway is a success.
Researchers found that the busway even relieved traffic on a parallel freeway. The Orange Line was much less expensive to build than light-rail projects in the Los Angeles area.

L.A. is the nation's leader in bus-rapid transit which run on city streets and use special signals to move quicker through intersections. While 78% of L.A.'s transit uses travel by bus, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plans only include a few new fast-bus projects.

"Decisions on whether to invest in bus rather than rail improvements are often influenced as much by public perception and politics as by what will best serve the needs of communities, some transit experts say."

The director of University of Southern California's transportation engineering program responded that "Compared to railways, busways are cheaper to build, offer higher vehicle speeds, have lower operating costs, are more flexible because vehicles can get on and off the guideway to collect and distribute riders, and have higher capacity because buses can be safely separated by seconds instead of the minutes needed to separate trains."

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Published on Thursday, June 28, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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