Cost, Popularity of Skytrain vs. LRT
The Sept. 2014 Fast Cities study by the Pembina Institue (above) shows that Calgary has achieved far higher per capita rail transit ridership than Vancouver and has more per-capita infrastructure.
Under Social Credit, NDP and Liberal governments, Vancouver's Skytrain network has expanded vastly. But at what cost? No other city in North America has adopted Skytrain technology as its main rail transit mode, mostly because it's so staggeringly expensive. The Evergreen line will cost about 575% more than Besançon, Frances's new tramway, per km.
By far the most expensive kind of rail transit, though, is a subway. While subways are popular, fast and have huge passenger capacity, their cost puts the squeeze on everything else.
In 2008, The Swiss city of Lausanne opened a short 5.9 km, automated metro line. Like Skytrain, it is very expensive, at $109 million per km.
While the Portland Milwaukie LRT line has caught up to Skytrain in per-km building costs, earlier light rail lines in Calgary and Portland were built for far less:
Fast Cities: A comparison of rapid transit in major Canadian cities; Pembina Institute; Sept 1914.
Salt Lake City: thetransportpolitic.com/2011/08/07/two-light-rail-extensions-for-salt-lake-with-more-on-the-way
Canada Line: tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/releases-nat-2007-07-h241e-1405.htm
Evergreen Line: evergreenline.gov.bc.ca/faq.htm
Gee, Marcus; Sheppard subway extension: A quarter the stops for three times the cost; Globe and Mail; Dec. 22, 2010
Fox, Gerald, PE, Tri-Met, Portland; A Comparison of Some New Light Rail and Automated Guideway Systems; 5th Nat. Conf. on LRT; San Jose; May 1988