New Database Quantifies the Costs of Transit Construction in the United States
The Eno Center for Transportation released the first product of an initiative launched earlier this to study the high cost of public transit projects in the United States, building on the momentum of new public and media attention to the problems of transit construction.
The initial public offering is a database of transit capital construction projects, including "construction cost and timeline data for a total of 171 domestic and international rail transit projects completed over the past 20 years," according to an article on the Eno website that shares insights into the database. "For each project, factors such as number of stations, grade alignment, station spacing, and mode allow for deeper comparisons."
The article lists five key takeaways from the new database:
- Light rail is not necessarily cheaper than heavy rail. Grade alignment, rather than mode, is the major determinant of cost.
- Many rail projects in the United States are relatively inexpensive
- The United States pays a premium for tunneled projects
- Cost variability increases significantly for tunneled projects
- Stations are expensive, but international projects include more of them
More details for each of those takeaways are included in the source article, as well as promises for further research.