This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.
Human Transit makes an interesting argument in regards to trolley buses:
Trolleybuses attract a particular kind of polarized NIMBYism: Replace them with regular buses, and neighbors scream becuase of the noise. Extend them, however, and different neighbors scream because you’re hanging wires on their street. So trolleybus lines have a tendency to not change or grow. They can become museum-pieces of network design — historic but not always making much sense for the city as it is today.
Essentially, it’s a case of status quo bias. Neighborhoods who have no trolley wire and noisy buses prefer it that way, while neighborhoods with trolley wire and quiet buses prefer it that way.
It’s a good point, but it’s also worth pointing out that Metro has successfully added overhead wire in recent history. While many of the wires were removed in the 1960s, several lines have been restored since then.
Image above of the Rapid Trolley Network, studied by Metro but never implemented.