“It is my judgment that governments would do well to hold off on building any more light rail systems presently because of the coming world of demand primarily for highly flexible trips, increasingly primarily short trips, along with the advent of shared riding fleets, and ultimately self-driving vehicles. These innovations are already causing a decline in the use of fixed rail and fixed route transit services.”
One would expect the quote above to be out of the mouth of someone running a campaign in opposition to Sound Transit 3 (ST3). But, you would be wrong.
The quote is courtesy of Ryan Snyder, Principal at The Transpo Group. The Transpo Group is a more than 40-year-old transportation services planning consulting firm, with offices across the United States and several international locations. Mr. Snyder, who advises the U.S. Department of Transportation on innovations in transportation technology, is known in the transportation community as an international expert on transportation system innovations and autonomous vehicles.
Mr. Snyder recently gave his assessment of light rail systems to during a presentation to City of Bellevue Transportation Department Staff and City of Bellevue Transportation Commission Members. According to sources, Mr. Snyder went on to offer the example of the Los Angeles light rail system.
For the past decade, Los Angeles has experienced declines in all transit ridership, including light rail. The decline began to occur even before implementation of new travel innovations. Now, ridership decline is accelerating.
Yet, Sound Transit officials want voters to approve a 25-year wait for light rail to reach Everett and Issaquah (you can bet it’ll take longer than that) at staggering $50 billion dollar price tag. In the end, ST3 proves the shortsightedness of the “leaders” over at Sound Transit.