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A Downtown Streetcar in Vancouver: Transit Trend or Transit Need

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Title: A Downtown Streetcar in Vancouver: Transit Trend or Transit Need
Author: Tzur, Ivy
Issue Date: 2008-02-25
Abstract: The modern streetcar is making a comeback throughout North America as an attractive mode of transit with claims to both reduce congestion and shape land-use. As the City of Vancouver plans for a streetcar in the downtown core, this professional project sets out to objectively inform the public of factors that necessitate consideration when pursuing this type of urban rail system. A discussion of the project proposal, related literature, and local context together provide a perspective of what these considerations are for the City of Vancouver. This report was formulated after an examination of research which reveals ridership levels and capital costs being discrepant to initial estimations in light rail systems currently operating. Literature also reveals that the development and land-use benefits that attract cities to pursue fixed rail systems are attributed more directly to the land-use measures that support them than the transit system itself. Streetcar infrastructure continues to be pursued, however, in dozens of North American cities for its ability to attract patrons, catalyze development and direct urban growth. Because a streetcar system is a significant public investment, the potential benefits must be weighed against the high costs. Most importantly, the citizens of Vancouver should understand the risks as well as the benefits accrued from the proposed system within a broader transportation context.
Affiliation: Applied Science, Faculty ofCommunity and Regional Planning (SCARP), School of
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/451
Peer Review Status: Unreviewed
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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