Title

SAN DIEGO'S LIGHT RAIL SYSTEM: A SUCCESS STORY. 1988 TRANSPORTATION ACHIEVEMENT AWARD (OPERATIONS)

Authors

T F. Larwin

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1989

Subject Area

place - urban, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - tram/light rail

Keywords

Urban transportation, Trolley cars, Trams, San Diego (California), Light rail transit, Launching (Construction), Launching, Intracity transportation, Interagency relations, Costs

Abstract

The pragmatic approach of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MDTB) led to the development and success of the San Diego Trolley system. The article describes how the no frills, functional design helped to keep the capital costs of the system low and affordable, and was instrumental in keeping a lid on unit operating costs. This was made possible by MDTB's adoption of the elements of project feasibility that included the following: low project capital cost; guideway should extend a long distance and offer high-speed operation; and the guideway system should be cost-effectively operated with an increasing farebox recovery rate. The project also illustrates an excellent incremental enhancement of service and staged development. A high degree of interagency cooperation has permitted a smooth coordination of bus and LRT planning. The culmination of unifying efforts was the creation of the fixed-route operating entities to form a federation of transit providers: the Metropolitan Transit System.