SkyTrain

A few weeks ago I wrote about the SkyLink at DFW airport, and the attributes that made it an almost ideal transit system (high frequency, grade-separated right of way, central control reducing operator costs, etc.).

Visiting Vancouver, it was interesting to see how many of these attributes SkyTrain possesses. Three minute headways during peak commute hours was pretty impressive.

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the SkyLink at DFW airport, and the attributes that made it an almost ideal transit system (high frequency, grade-separated right of way, central control reducing operator costs, etc.).

Visiting Vancouver, it was interesting to see how many of these attributes SkyTrain possesses. Three minute headways during peak commute hours was pretty impressive.

But, in reality it’s not obviously superior to MAX. The infrastructure has a HUGE visual impact on the areas it travels through. And it’s only considered medium-capacity transit. The vehicle capacity is significantly lower than MAX, although the frequency offsets this.

It’s also more expensive. They are actually planning a Light Rail spur line to feed SkyTrain from one of the suburbs because it will cost 1/4 or 1/3 of what SkyTrain would.

Still, it’s an impressive system. I was particularly struck with the attention to security. There are cameras everywhere and each window has a panic button strip that is supposed to summon help within 3 minutes. That would be a nice addition to MAX.

And that river crossing would be a great model for the proposed Caruthers Crossing Light Rail bridge.

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