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The ability of streetcars to carry far more passengers in one train is not just a matter of saving money on operators' salaries. It also means that streetcars can carry much higher passenger loads while remaining compatible with urbanism.

If a bus must pass every 30 seconds, you can't allow pedestrians to cross the street freely without interfering with vehicle movement. You effectively need a limited-access highway, which is bad for a city. Streetcars can carry the same number of passengers with one train every 3 or 4 minutes.

If the passenger load gets high enough, you can put the train underground. Underground busways are much more expensive -- they need ventilation and tunnels have to be wider than the vehicles because the bus isn't on tracks.

by Ben Ross on Feb 20, 2013 11:47 am • linkreport

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