There are many metrics that Nelson/Nygaard used to evaluate each mode in Seattle’s future High Capacity Transit corridors. Unfortunately, the one I really wanted to see wasn’t included: Annualized Net Cost per New Rider. Let’s break that down.
The cost is annualized because it breaks down the upfront capital cost over a 30-year period to combine it with operating cost; net because it subtracts savings from bus operations made redundant; and “new riders” because it only counts the trips added to the system. It captures what the city would have to outlay to put another fanny in the seats every day. And as luck would have it, one can compute ANC/NR it using the metrics that the consultant provided.
This metric doesn’t capture everything that matters; it’s subject to the assumptions that went into the inputs. Moreover, it ignores trip length, greenhouse gas emissions, rider speed and comfort, what you can get people to vote for, and what capital costs the federal government or private investors might defray. Nevertheless, the winner by this metric is the “CC2” South Lake Union-Downtown streetcar, which connects the SLU and First Hill streetcars. Its ANC/NR comes in at $1.71, 47 cents below its nearest competitor.
The 1.1 mile Corridor_CC2 would run in a couplet down 4th and 5th Avenues. The streetcar would run every 10 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes evenings, and carry about 11,500 people a day in 2030. Most riders throughout the day in 2030 would be standing. At $74m, it’s also one of the cheapest capital projects on the menu; it’s also a down payment on longer potential lines up Eastlake or to Ballard.
Due to the unique nature of this project, there were no analogous bus projects for this corridor. Bus service would remain unchanged.