NCDave | Indy Week

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Re: “The Durham-Orange County Light Rail Line Is on the Ropes Again. That Might Be a Good Thing.

I've lived in Durham and Chapel Hill for many years, and I'm very happy to call this place home. I would love a convenient light rail in our area, but there are just too many things I see as deficiencies:

- Doesn't go to airport or RTP
- Doesn't connect dense metro areas to appropriate working populations
- Takes longer than driving

These arguments have been made and debated several times, so I'd like to comment on something a little different: individualized mass transit.

I've been reading commentary that pushes the thought that we have to work with the technology we have today and we cannot predict what will be ten years from now. Okay... Autonomous driving vehicles are not the future - they are on the roads today, and will continue to proliferate and improve rapidly. Today, a luxury electric Tesla sedan with autonomous driving capabilities will cost you $75,000. That means that today (not 2025 which is the predicted start date of the D-O-LRT) you could buy 21,000 Teslas for the $1.5 billion cost of D-O-LRT. Isn't that more than the predicted ridership of the light rail? And its not like one car would only transport one person per day; it could carry dozens throughout the day, so maybe buy 5,000 Teslas, set aside the necessary funds for power, maintenance, and admin, and get this thing operational not in 8 years, but one year. And these cars would not just go to Duke or UNC, but anywhere the rider needed to go, door-to-door. And it's more scalable. And decentralized. And and and...

The D-O-LRT will be obsolete 5 years before it even opens. The future of public transportation is individualized mass transit. Make North Carolina a leader in public transportation, not a lemming.

16 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by NCDave on 07/02/2016 at 5:49 PM

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