Why Commuter Rail Will Fail In Austin
A link from Houston I just stumbled upon today which explains why rail transit works so much better in Washington, DC than in San Francisco, and shows quite well the problem the commuter rail line will have in Austin. (San Francisco still has a ton of rail passengers, of course, but the argument is that they have far fewer than they _should_).
Relevant excerpts (summaries - read the whole article for depth):
- BART saves money by using existing rights of way; Metrorail maximizes ridership by puting lines where the transit demand is
- BART serves the suburbs. Metrorail serves the suburbs and the urban core.
- BART stations are where the cars are; Metrorail stations are where the people are.
It strikes me that you could almost substitute "Austin's 2004 commuter rail proposal" for BART and "Austin's 2000 light rail proposal" for Metrorail and essentially the whole thing would stand just as well as it does now.
I highly recommend a full read. I'm also adding this blog to my links.