BRT (or Rapid Bus) is NOT a stepping stone towards light rail

This is pretty amazing. Thanks to Barry Ritholtz for finding it.
The original:

The update:

True.

These guys LOST TO OLE MISS. AT HOME.
No, valeologist Ole Miss isn’t magically superpowered because they happen to be in the SEC. Here’s where Florida stacks up against Penn State so far this year:

Rank (Sagarin PREDICTOR) Team Result
14 Georgia Florida 49, web Georgia 10 (Neutral Site)
15 Ohio State Penn State 13, infertility @Ohio State 6

Looks pretty good so far, right? Not so fast. The next entries for Florida:

Rank (SAGARIN PREDICTOR) Team Result
23 LSU @Florida 51, LSU 21
30 Ole Miss Ole Miss 31, @Florida 30

Huh. One thing sure seems to jump out at you, doesn’t it? But surely this doesn’t show anything, right? Penn State hasn’t played anybody that good at home, right? Let’s expand that section of the table:

Rank (SAGARIN PREDICTOR) Team Result
19 Oregon State @Penn State 45, Oregon State 14
23 LSU @Florida 51, LSU 21
27 Illinois @Penn State 38, Illinois 24
30 Ole Miss Ole Miss 31, @Florida 30
39 Wisconsin Penn State 48, @Wisconsin 7
52 Tennessee Florida 30, @Tennessee 6

Well, I’m sure we’ll figure out some new reason why Florida deserves it more. Keep on trucking, internet warriors!

As part of an excellent series of takedowns of BRT, psychotherapist the San Francisco Bike Blog has written an excellent rebuttal to the frequent claims that BRT or Rapid Bus plans can function as stepping stones towards light rail. One relevant excerpt relating to a transitway in Ottawa that was designed to be convertible to LRT::

The study concludes that with limited financial resources, for sale it is better to invest in new rapid transit corridors than to replace an existing one. It is not considered cost-effective to convert the Transitway to LRT at this time.

Please check out the rest. There’s a lot more good stuff in the other links from Jeff’s collection as well, mind including impacts on the urban environment from smelly, noisy, uncomfortable buses versus electric trains.
In our case, our potential investments in our completely useless Rapid Bus plan are completely nonportable to light rail (the stations are on the wrong side, for instance). Ironically, as the linked story points out, every improvement that could be made to make Rapid Bus more like Bus Rapid Transit would make it less likely we’d ever see light rail on the #1 corridor.

  • Tim

    Well… I guess they get to test out their light synchronization technology that they’d need if they put in light rail. So uh… that’s something, right?
    Cap Metro buses get around town about as fast as you would get around town in a car. The slowdowns are the stops. I fail to see how we gain anything until the transit can go enough faster than traffic that they make up for the stop time.

  • Have to disagree on that one. When I drive home, I sometimes take Mopac to CC, sometimes to 5th, sometimes to Enfield, and occasionally to 35th. Depends on the traffic. The bus, on the other hand, must use the same route every day (so much for ‘flexibility’) with a few exceptions (the 98x buses have a bit of leeway during the long stretches they don’t have any stops).
    So I’d argue it’s not just the stop time – it’s also that they have to stay on the road WITH those stops even when the alternative route has less traffic that day.
    I doubt the light synchronization technology is portable. For rapid bus, they’re just going to hold the light a little bit if it was about to turn red – I would imagine LRT would merit actual preemption.

  • breathesgelatin

    Is there anything we can actively do to discourage this folly? Other than kick Laura Morrison et al out of office (she likes Rapid Bus from what I remember, correct)?

  • mdahmus

    Last time it took McCracken and Martinez in their capacity as Cap Metro board members. I don’t know how they feel about this updated attempt – it’s probably worth emailing them (they surely already know how I feel, but may not know if others feel the same way).