Friday, October 9, 2009

LA-SF Nation's Second Busiest Air Route - Shows Need For HSR

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

The Brookings Institution has released a report today showing that the nation's busiest air routes are growing more congested over time, a condition almost certain to worsen once the economy recovers. And the second busiest corridor in the entire nation is Los Angeles to San Francisco (second only two Miami/Ft. Lauderdale to New York), with one of the main airports in that corridor, SFO, experiencing "worse than average delays."

As even the Wall Street Journal realizes, this is a call for high speed rail:

The Brookings report recommends that these air-travel statistics be used to prioritize investment in high-speed rail. At 400 miles or less, high-speed rail can been air travel in time, typically with less pollution. That makes Los Angeles-San Francisco, Las Vegas-Los Angeles, Los Angeles-Phoenix and Dallas-Houston the most likely candidates for high-speed rail, in that order.

More than 6 million people fly between the Los Angeles basin and San Francisco Bay per year, the study said. In the northeast corridor, Amtrak carried 11.7 million people on Acela and Northeast Regional lines in fiscal 2008, hitting 14 metropolitan areas. The Amtrak ridership suggests high-speed rail would be viable in out busiest air corridors, the study concluded.

This study dovetails with numerous other studies, including not just that of the CHSRA's consultants, but that of SNCF as well, which show the LA-SF corridor as an ideal spot to build high speed rail. We've already seen HSR have stunning success on other busy air corridors: from the AVE on the Madrid-Barcelona corridor, long one of the world's busiest air corridors; to the Acela, which had 40% of the market share of the Northeast Corridor in March 2008. There is every reason to believe HSR will have similar success here in California, especially since it will link the city centers - i.e. the job and business centers - of the state, from SF's Financial District to San José's own growing downtown, to downtown LA and the hub of the city's growing mass transit system.

Every time we discuss HSR and air travel, we usually have to explain yet again the reasons why HSR almost always thrives in competition with airlines on busy corridors. Especially here in California, where people usually say "but I can get a ticket on Southwest to LA right now for $49! why would I take your stupid train?"

And as usual we explain patiently that when you combine total travel time - door to door, including getting to the non-centrally located airport, airport security, time on the runway, and getting from the non-centrally located airport to your final destination, you're about on par with the door to door travel time of HSR. We also explain that Southwest won't be able to offer those fares for much longer - they locked in their fuel costs at $55/bbl through the use of complex fuel hedges that will soon expire and leave them vulnerable to rising oil prices.

Which, we should add, must never be forgotten. Earlier this week Deutsche Bank predicted $175/bbl by 2016 (mark my words: it will happen well before that date) and that such a price rise will "put the final nail in oil's coffin." The key is what happens here in the USA:

US demand is the key. It is the last market-priced, oil inefficient, major oil consumer. We believe Obama’s environmental agenda, the bankruptcy of the US auto industry, the war in Iraq, and global oil supply challenges have dovetailed to spell the end of the oil era.

Deutsche Bank's analysis assumes that electric cars will radically change how we use oil in this country. I hope it does. But electric cars are no substitute for oil-fueled jets for getting people from LA to SF and vice versa. We need electric cars AND electric trains, both for local and statewide travel.

California is poised to lead the path forward. We will use high speed rail to unshackle ourselves from a failing and suicidal dependence on oil, and produce a sustainable economic prosperity, shared broadly, for the remainder of this century.

86 comments:

Anonymous said...

hmm. then they should find an appropriate route for high speed rail in california - through open space, along busily traveled exiting freeway corridors - and NOT though hundreds of miles of backyards and school yards and neighborhoods. OR, if the state is so convinced its worthwhile, but they MUST run it through the most populated areas, they'll simply have to pay what it takes to do it right. By putting it underground to keep the gross negative impacts away from the communities.

Anonymous said...

www.sustainable-transportation.com

Nicolas said...

@ Anon, 1:19

Or, you know, they could just use an existing railroad track that has been operating for nearly 150 years, instead of wasting money and land to construct a completely separate right-of-way.

Bianca said...

@ Anonymous 1:19--

At the High Speed Rail symposium held a few days ago at UC Berkeley, Professor Robert Cervero went to great lengths to emphasize that building HSR along freeway corridors and through empty spaces is a recipe for creating disastrous amounts of sprawl. To do it right, he insisted, HSR has to run where the people already are, and be convenient to pedestrians and transit in the downtowns of the communities it serves. Good, pedestrian-friendly design is critical to the success of HSR.

NONIMBYS said...

Anon Nimby..YES the tracks are THERE...and its 15 miles "thru" PA and Menlo..its not hundreds even the entire project! now it would be many more if run the Livermoore
BUT that does not really bother you!!!

Anonymous said...

Stupid reason. If there's really a need for more "capacity" to travel between LA and SF, all they need to do is increase the size of the plane. Solved.

There's no need to spend $40B+ when all they need to do is upgauge from a 737 or A319 to a 757/767 or A330.

The fact that they haven't means there's no need to do so.

As for $175/bbl oil -- whatever. That number means absolutely nothing without what the inflation rate is.

Logic FAIL.

Alon Levy said...

Robert, using just air travel statistics will create errors in the model. Most HSR traffic is either induced demand or diverted from cars. Air/rail mode shares are easy to model based on speed and distance, but the most important thing for rail is competitiveness with roads. The failure of Eurostar to match ridership projections can be directly attributed to the lack of road traffic to divert.

Evan said...

Right Anon....let's put the tracks in the middle of nowhere, eliminating much of the benefits of HSR (proximity to stations, focusing housing/retail development near transit) so that the rail line that's been operating near your house since before your house was built shouldn't be upgraded. Totally makes sense.

Alon Levy said...

Upgrading the NEC would only deliver an incremental increase in the modal share of rail travel between these three cities, but that's the wrong metric.

No, that's exactly the right metric. The NEC has a 14% market share between New York and Washington, and lower market share on other city pairs. The higher figures you see are for just the air/rail market. Since the biggest competition on the route is increasingly premium buses, NEC upgrades are necessary to just maintain current mode share, let alone increase it.

Anonymous said...

Cervero also said that intermediate stations don't generally benefit from rail and can actually increase sprawl and traffic, unless it is done really right which includes extensive secondary transit networks.

He strongly hinted that California may not have the institutitional capacity to do this and HSR may end up being negative in certain aspects.

Rafael said...

HSR lines are so expensive and provide so much capacity that they are best deployed in corridors that link not only major population centers at either end but also secondary cities along the route. The concept of HSR as a flight level zero airline is quite misleading.

SF-LA-Anaheim does exactly that: San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield and Palmdale and the San Fernando Valley each have populations of 150k to 1m, with many more within their respective MSAs.

With stops every ~15 miles toward the tail ends of a line and every 30-80 miles in the middle, HSR fills a void in-between aircraft and the automobile.

Prioritizing HSR routes based on short-hop air travel alone doesn't make sense, there wouldn't be enough passengers to justify massive public investment even if rail garnered a modal market share of 90% or more.

For example, there aren't any sizable cities at all between Palmdale/Victorville and Las Vegas, nor between Indio and Phoenix. Both proposed routes imply a lot of empty desert to run very expensive tracks through.

DesertXPress is a special case in that it is a private venture to connect LV to Victorville. Even so, any federal loan guarantees (i.e. taxpayer liability) for that should be contingent on picking rolling stock, signaling and overhead electrification that would permit seamless integration with the California HSR network via a connector at some point in the future.

Another example: SNCF's extensive analysis of Texas HSR recommends a Dallas - Fort Worth - Waco - Temple - Austin - San Antonio starter line, Dallas - Houston would be a future upgrade. This has nothing to do with the size of the Houston metro and everything with the lack of sizable cities along the direct route to Dallas.

Conversely, the Boston - NYC - Washington DC corridor is already a much diminished air market, precisely because Acela Express and other intercity passenger trains have been so successful in the NEC. The primary purpose of further public investment in the NEC would be decongestion of I-95 and other regional freeways. Additional relief for the airports would almost be a fringe benefit.

Anonymous said...

Cervero is pretty much a shill.

Check out his sleazy, anti-environmental, anti-public-finance, out-there advocacy for BART extension to San Jose.

Shaft Berkeley (both buses and BART) where there are real riders, but do what's necessary to be sure the masters get their cut building a boondoggle to suburban nowhere.

Ooh, look at me! I'm an urban design expert!

Qui bono, Mr "Transit Metropolis"?

Zach said...

To add a quick comment on the notion that you can get a really cheap air fare from SF to LA, that is only if you are willing to fly at the lowest priority and very early in the morning or very late at night. If you want to fly from SF to LA during normal hours, you will end up paying at least $90-$100, and that is without a checked bag fee, or any of the other numerous charges that accompany an air fare.

Anonymous said...

All that it shows is that there is the traffic base for real hsr. That means I-5 and Grapevine. Palmdale is the sprawl city which Cervero fears.

YesonHSR said...

Anno do you live here?? All the airports are landlocked period..there will not be any more runway expansion without huge property takes or in to the Bay.
Flying a 777 or A380 is insane for this route and unworkable as no widebody has ever been profitable is this short haul market.We are going to use our airport capacity for profitable long hauls.

AndyDuncan said...

If what you said were true, that moving to bigger planes is all that is needed to increase air capacity, then Southwest would have to change their nationwide, all-737 business model just to support a single corridor. More likely they'd just jack up their fares and your "$50" ticket will evaporate.

But what you said is not true. Airport capacity constraints would still be in place. Larger terminals would be needed, more airport facilities, more security checks, more parking, more runway maintenance etc. etc. etc. landing spaces and jetways are only a part of airport capacity. Passenger throughput is still the limiting factor, both from an engineering and political standpoint (passenger throughput, not planes per hour is what the Airport NIMBYs work into their anti-expansion laws).

Bianca said...

All the suggestions to just get bigger planes for the LA-SF corridor completely overlook how wildly inefficient short hop air travel is.

It takes a lot of fuel to get a plane off the ground and up to cruising altitude. To expend that amount of fuel for a 300 mile flight is wasteful.

And the cheap fares, when you can get them, are not going to last forever. Oil is a finite commodity. Demand is increasing rapidly, the supply is most certainly not. Anyone who thinks that the price of oil is not going to increase significantly in real terms in the next 10 years is engaging in magical thinking.

Peter said...

Also, the turn-around time for a larger aircraft is a lot longer than a smaller regional jet or 737, so your plane sits idle for a lot longer per leg. Boarding times, cleaning, fueling, restocking supplies, etc have to be taken into account. This costs a fair amount more.

Anonymous said...

"Flying a 777 or A380 is insane for this route and unworkable as no widebody has ever been profitable is this short haul market."

Who said 777 or A388?

Oh, you did. Whatever.

Right now, many, if not most, of the flights are on regional jets, so even an old 733 or 735 would be an upgrade in capacity.

So, there's plenty of room. And, as for airport capacity, the last time I checked, SJC and OAK and losing flights, so there's plenty of space there. In fact, San Jose and Oakland would *LOVE* to have more traffic because they don't get any money unless planes land there.

Sorry -- I go back to the original premise of "busyness" of our SF-LA airport corridor, and it doesn't fly.

Oh, and by the way, since you folks love to use Japan as a shining example, they indeed fly widebodies short distances. 747s from Narita to Nagoya? Hell yeah.

Peter said...

@ Anon

The reason so many flights are switching to RJs is so that the airlines don't fly with empty seats. At this point, adding capacity wouldn't help them, it would only hurt them. The airlines in the US are running on such razor-thin margins that flying bigger, yet emptier, planes would just be a waste of fuel, and therefore money.

One of the many reasons for such razor-thin margins IS the price of oil. Also, if I recall correctly, the price of airline tickets has not kept up with inflation at all. Flights are now relatively cheaper than they were say 20 years ago.

This is ALL bad news for struggling airlines.

Rafael said...

@ Bianca -

"It takes a lot of fuel to get a plane off the ground and up to cruising altitude."

The energy invested in reaching altitude is recovered as the plane descends. The real fuel guzzler is wind resistance at 500mph, even in the thin air at 30,000 feet.

The only reason commercial aircraft have to fly that fast in the first place is that all planes are subject to safety checks, refueling, baggage handling, security screening for passengers and above all, congestion of the civilian air corridors.

Short-hop flights could be delivered using inexpensive propeller planes with aero diesel engines. That would mean longer trips for passengers and fewer passenger-miles per day for each pilot/crew member. However, it would also cut fuel consumption by a factor ~6. The reason airlines are sticking with jets is that jet fuel isn't taxed at all.

---

Note that for coastal routes, it may one day be feasible to offer even more fuel-efficient flights based on ekranoplan (wing-induced ground effect) aircraft that are legally classified not as aircraft but as extremely fast boats. The larger the craft, the faster the air speed and the larger the maximum wave height at which it can still be operated safely.

SF-Eureka might be a candidate if someone actually had a propeller-based model with around 100 seats.

Unfortunately, ekranoplan are Soviet technology, i.e. not only not invented here but worse, invented over there. It was highly classified during the cold war, as it permits high speed travel across bodies of water or ice under the enemy's radar. Western civilian companies still can't quite match Russian designs from decades ago on critical parameters such as aerodynamic stability.

Anonymous said...

Right now, many, if not most, of the flights are on regional jets,

I'm not particularly buying this, as Southwest operates the majority of intra-California traffic, with JetBlue and Virgin America also offering substantial amounts. None of those carriers use a single regional jet.

Alon Levy said...

Rafael, planes don't have regenerative braking. The energy lost while descending is all wasted on noise.

looking on said...

Rafael writes:

quoting Binaca
"It takes a lot of fuel to get a plane off the ground and up to cruising altitude."

qouting you

The energy invested in reaching altitude is recovered as the plane descends. The real fuel guzzler is wind resistance at 500mph, even in the thin air at 30,000 feet."


Rafael, you had better do more reading on this subject; usually you are technically correct, but not in this case. I'm not about to cite chapter and verse on this, but you are dead wrong. In fact, Robert, as I recall, talked one time about being a pilot with much
experience --- he should be able to correct your erroneous beliefs in this matter.


Bianca statement is correct -- it is for many reasons,one of which is the engines are engineered to be most efficient at high altitudes.

jim said...

anon also over looks the unbearable air travel experience. Hardly good enough for an animal let alone human beings. The herding, the cramming and shoving, the stampeding over one another, the elbowing, the cramped quarters, bad air, inedible food, then endless waiting, waiting to board, waiting for everyone to get strapped in, waiting to pull out, taxiing, waiting to take off, waiting to get there, land, and then waiting for your turn to finally get out of the flying hell machine ... poultry in a factory farm has it better. flying... in any class of service, has become a completely unacceptable form of travel for anyone with an ounce of civility.

The fact that there are people who don't even realize how uncivilized it is shows how far down hill our country's standards have come.

Thank you so much, fellow americans, for taking the country down to the lowest common denominator possible.

When did trashy become chic anyway?

jim said...

I'll be on the train. In first class, drinking champagne, and eating chateau brion in the lap of 220 mph luxury thank you. Ill see you when you get there on your plane all disheveled and tore up.

Fred Martin said...

Airplane energy consumption is indeed at its peak during the ascent, but that's all the more reason to use 400-seat jets as opposed to small-capacity jets. If the demand is sufficient -- and unfortunately it just isn't -- a 747 could easily operate the short-haul profitably on the California Corridor.

How can you say that large jets are economically unviable on this route while still advocating super-frequent 800-1000 seat HSR trains??

As for the aircraft descent, very little energy is required. If not for safety reasons, planes could shut off the engines and glide in from a great distance.

HSR is "green" only if the trains are near full. If not, HSR is actually more damaging to the environment than near-full jets. Lots and lots of GHG emitted during the construction of HSR too. Arpad Horvath estimates it will be equivalent to 2% of California's total GHG emissions in 2006.

Anonymous said...

"I'll be on the train. In first class, drinking champagne, and eating chateau brion in the lap of 220 mph luxury thank you."

No you won't, especially if you can't spell Chateaubriand.

jim said...

@anon yes, I will.

@fredmartin the difference between frequent trains and putting the same number of people on a jumbo jet is that the trains offer frequent departures carrying fewer people but still use less energy per person. .. while offering a better service, more flexibility, and a better experience overall.

and anon, I notice you can't argue with the fact that the on board experience of rail travel is superior.

jim said...

enjoy your flight on southwest. ( aka the flying 38 Geary)

missiondweller said...

Bianca:

Well said. Connecting communities is what makes rail work. Smart growth is predicated on transit that connect communities. Not only is HSR a transit that uses considerably less land than freeways, but the development that results is typically higher density and therefore has less of a footprint. This not only saves us from sprawl but actually saves cities in costs of providing services.

Of course the original HSR study pointed out that in its absence, much more land and much more dollars will be required to accomodate the expected growth in California.

DBX said...

We need serious HSR in both California and the NEC. The NEC is old infrastructure in dire need of major upgrades and capacity improvements. But the airport situation on the West Coast is in some respects even worse than the Northeast. San Francisco (SFO) is the biggest offender, because its runways intersect and are so closely spaced in parallel pairs that in "bad weather" (i.e. any time fog rolls in off the Bay), they're very quickly down to a single runway. For an airport handling around 35 million passengers a year, that's a serious problem, as in Kai Tak typhoon warning serious, not just O'Hare run of the mill delay serious.

So, do you want to replace SFO (or fill in half the south bay to expand it), or do you want HSR? It would seem to me that with global warming accelerating, our oceans acidifying due to CO2 pollution, and our NIMBY friends on the Peninsula horrified at the idea of major development in their backyard, that HSR is decidedly the lesser of evils here.

missiondweller said...

Regarding the notion that we can just use larger planes to meet demand:

Increased take off/landings require more gates and runways.

What great about HSR is that the increase in ridership actually makes it MORE CONVENIENT as the frequency of trains increases, and thereby increasing options and convenience for travelers.

And of course, HSR always uses electricity regardless of the number of trains while more planes or bigger planes means more pollution and use of what is likely to be more and more expensive jet fuel.

HSR may be powered by Nuclear, hydro, nat gas or solar, but planes will always be powered by jet fuel.

Anonymous said...

Quoting Bianca:

"Oil is a finite commodity. Demand is increasing rapidly, the supply is most certainly not. Anyone who thinks that the price of oil is not going to increase significantly in real terms in the next 10 years is engaging in magical thinking."

Not quite right my dear. Oil is indeed a finite commodity.

The supply is still growing rapidly as well, however. The oil industry continues to keep a 40 year supply of proven reserves.

Indeed the price of oil will increase, but due to inflation, and certainly here in the US, we will be big loosers, since for sure the world producers are going to quit pricing oil in dollars, since the dollar is rapidly becoming worthless.

As George Soros said the other day, the banks in this country are basically bankrupt.

Alon Levy said...

The supply is still growing rapidly as well, however. The oil industry continues to keep a 40 year supply of proven reserves.

No, it's not. Oil discoveries peaked in the 1970s, and have consistently been lower than oil consumption since the 1980s.

The closest thing to what you said that's actually true is that non-conventional oil reserves are becoming cheaper to develop. However, they are more environmentally damaging than conventional oil: both oil shale and tar sands leave carcinogenic residues after processing, and produce more greenhouse gases per unit of energy extracted. They also have lower return on energy investment - currently the best ratio achieved is 5 units of energy extracted per unit invested, compared with 30 for Saudi crude.

dave said...

Rafael writes:

The energy invested in reaching altitude is recovered as the plane descends. The real fuel guzzler is wind resistance at 500mph, even in the thin air at 30,000 feet.

No, Bianca had it right. Most of the fuel guzzling effect is from take off. Once at the proper altitude the turbines don't fight much resistance and cruise at a low fuel consumption. Note that the plane cruising on short flights LA-SF is not very long, but the take-off is all the same.

We need to keep flights strictly for long, cross-country, overseas for real fuel savings to be realized.

Also, planes are not going to advance commercially wide enough using Prop's. And people are not going to take longer flights to save the airline some money on fuel.

The only advances in air are lighter composite parts (including turbine blades) and bigger, wider bodies (Airbus A380).

Brandon in San Diego said...

I am mistified why nimby's have not advocating putting HSR in a tube off the coast and in the Pacific Ocean.

dave said...

@ anon 9:26 PM

Wether oil lasts us til tomorrow or forever doesn't mean we should be burning it till our lungs fall out of our bodies. Oil bi-products where never meant to be burned. The only thing oil products should be used for is lubricating moving parts of existing machinery and equipment. We need to ditch oil no matter how much of it exists out there.

dave said...

Bombardier's HSR website domain is music to my ea... eyes?

TheClimateIsRightForTrains.com

Brandon in San Diego said...

A bit of a rant....

Coincidentally, I am flying from Los Angeles to San Francisco this weekend to attend a family wedding. Tomorrow morning in fact.

I made my reservation 2 weeks ago for a roundtrip flight... on Southwest. Not my first choice, but it had the most convenient arrival time. Cost = $327.20 after taxes and everything.

I didn't choose the cheapest seat.. because I interpreted that I would not have a seat guaranteed nor have a preferential check-in seat.

Pre-tax and fees, the cheapest was $59 x 2 = $118.

So far, I think the experience is a freaking pain in the butt! Too few choices. To many airlines to research. Too few travel time options.

Most of all, I dislike that I do not get the option I want... an easy access airport... with a flight to SFO at a time I want.

I need to fly out of LAX for the time I want. Ugggg! I'd rather chose Burbank... more convenient.

Plans include... leave for the airport at 7:20a, park at 8:00, checking in at 8:30, board at about 10:25, land at 11:40a, pick-up bag, take BART to downtown SF and arrive at about 1:00pm. That's about 5hrs 40min door-to-door, basically.

Maybe I can shave an hour off by not needing to get to LAX so early before my flight, but...

If I had HSR available... I could walk to a Rail Station.. 13 minute walk. Wait for a train and ride to Union Station... 5+21 minutes (39 minutes so far). Plan on arriving 15 minutes before HSR train departure... that's all that's needed at Union Station.... then take a 2hr 42min ride to the Transbay Terminal, or downtown SF.

All told... for my experience that looks like a 3hr 36min HSR trip. That's 2 hours quicker than flying!!!! But, at least 1 hour if I shortened my waiting time at LAX... but I hesitate to do that given security screening and needing to disrobe and so forth. It's coincidental that my trip matches the HSR LA to SF trip pair.

HSR will blow away flights!

And, I hate the experience at airports.

Rafael said...

@ Alon Levy, looking on, dave -

(1) Math please!

maximum take-off weight Boeing 737: ~60 metric tonnes

cruise altitude: ~10,000m

gravity: ~10 m/s^2

potential energy gain: ~6GJ

heating value jet fuel: 135000 BTU/gallon

efficiency jet engine: ~30%

fuel volume needed for potential energy gain only (excl. wind resistance): ~140 gallons

fuel flow during cruise at ~500mph at altitude: ~5500 lbs/hr

density jet fuel: ~800 kg/m^3

fuel consumed during 1hr cruise: ~825 gallons

Ergo, the amount of fuel required strictly to reach cruise altitude is comparable to that spent in about 10 minutes of cruising (ballpark figure).

(2) The fuel used to gain altitude is of course not recuperated, but fuel flow during descent is markedly reduced as the potential energy gained is converted into kinetic energy and then dissipated as heat.

(3a) Commercial jets fly high primarily because drag is proportional to the density of the ambient air. At 500mph cruise speed, the drag penalty of cruising at lower altitudes would quickly overcompensate any fuel savings due to the lower potential energy gain.

(3b) Also, thermodynamic efficiency is a function of the ratio of the highest vs. the lowest absolute temperature in the thermodynamic cycle. Since materials impose an upper limit on the gas temperature near the turbine blades, the easiest way to improve efficiency is to reduce the intake air temperature, i.e. to fly at high altitude. Important fringe benefit: reduced noise impacts at ground level during cruising.

(4) Piston engines impose much lower altitude ceilings, unless they are boosted using super- or turbochargers. The former guzzle fuel, the latter are cheaper for diesel engines because they burn lean, i.e. their exhaust gases are cooler.

YESonHSR said...

My normal travel time from SFO-LA is 4hours ..something people forget about SFO..Fog! and it causes many delays to due to very close runways that are not ever
going to be rebuilt into the Bay.

Anonymous said...

All this BS about the ancient age of the railroad. Well, there a whole heck of a lot of places that HSR is eyeing, where there are homes/businesses/communities where rail road is not, I don't hear anyone claiming communities were there first so rail loses. There are lot of trees that are way older than the rails, thousands of square miles of natural features, like wetlands, underground aquifers, etc, that were there before the rails, there are in fact hundreds of places where the rail wants to encroach on something more worthy, that was there first.

The fact is, the peninsula has grown up and swallowed up that rail corridor, and has spent those 150 years making sure that rail corridor was limited in use. It now looks like CHSRA laments that poor decision making by the railroad owners not to snap up and protect more land around their row when they had the chance (150 years ago) - because now they need more and bigger. And its not going to get more and bigger.

Who was there first is irrelevent. What's relevent is what's there NOW, and the way that railroad has been used in the past, and the way the communities have controled what has happend on and around that row - and their rights to do that in the past, and their rights to continue to do that now. HSR is completely inconsistent with the history and current use of that small 2 track railway, and they're not going to turn it into a supersized 4 track rail freeway.

They came here knowing full well they'd have years, maybe 20 or 30 years of fight on their hands - so they're getting what they came for. Prolonged fight, and astronomical cost. Its all within the power of the chsra to choose a different right answer.

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"hmm. then they should find an appropriate route for high speed rail in california - through open space, along busily traveled exiting freeway corridors"

Because there is nowhere that is more suitable for Transit-Oriented Development than a Freeway Exit - and indeed, no place in the country where it is easier to make provision for shared auto-cycle use of the public right of way.

Or perhaps the reasoning is, because the fact that a rail corridor supports 10 times the passenger-mile transport capacity per square foot shows that the decision of where a rail corridor should go and the decision of where an expressway should go is the same basic decision - since they are so similar in their space requirements, making an independent evaluation of rail alignments is just needlessly reinventing the wheel.

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
"As for $175/bbl oil -- whatever. That number means absolutely nothing without what the inflation rate is.

Logic FAIL.
"

The prediction is the real price, not the nominal price - the price after correcting for inflation.

Comprehension FAIL.

BruceMcF said...

Rafael said...
"The energy invested in reaching altitude is recovered as the plane descends. The real fuel guzzler is wind resistance at 500mph, even in the thin air at 30,000 feet.

There are three energy investments here - take-off, speed, and altitude. Only one is recovered as the plane descends.

jim said...

They came here knowing full well they'd have years, maybe 20 or 30 years of fight on their hands - so they're getting what they came for. Prolonged fight, and astronomical cost

The news media kgo in thsi case was enthusiastically reporting the possibilities of hsr and the funds that may be made avail to california, and at the end of the story, mentioned -- well except for a couple towns on the peninsula who are fighting it, then there was banter and a reference to " otherwise known as not in by back yard" ( slight tone of disdain in voice)

yes, making ass of yourselves in the eyes of the rest of the state by trying to jack up the price is sure to win the hearts of minds of californians everywhere.

NONIMBYS said...

More nimby ranting??? No YOU moved there not the railroad...the trees are junk trees on railroad Row..Plant some in YOUR yard if you dont like to see those tracks..What no Paloalto on line post to rant on this morning..AND construction will beging in 2 years on this UPGRADE for an already 130 year oldtransit ROW ..Now go eat your Bagle..

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 8:05am -

I suggest you read up on why they chose the Caltrain corridor.

A century ago, SP was prescient enough to buy enough land for quad tracking the peninsula corridor. When it fell it on hard times, it had to sell off some of the ROW but the vast majority of the original investment is still in place - especially if you consider that in a pinch, 70 feet is wide enough for four tracks.

BruceMcF said...

Fred Martin said...
"How can you say that large jets are economically unviable on this route while still advocating super-frequent 800-1000 seat HSR trains??"

Because for the route in question, airplanes have the fatal flaw that making a stop along the route added massively to the time and to fuel consumption. Making a stop along an electric HSR corridor requires a small fraction of the time and a small fraction of the energy.

So a HSR corridor can pool regional travel demands along a corridor, where short-hop air travel can at best aggregate travel demands at a hub, which is a dismally poor second best for trips of 200 miles to 600 miles.

Indeed, if you don't even understand that much, its hard to believe you have been paying much attention during the extended period that you have been following this blog.

Fred Martin said...

Bruce McF, I understand a great deal more than your piss-poor understanding of economics. Where was your "training" from? Correspondence school? Shall I play a banjo?

The beauty of airplanes is that they don't have to waste time and energy stopping in low-demand cities like Fresno and Bakersfield. They make high-speed direct jumps between demand centers. If Fresno was a demand center, it would have more jet service -- but it's not. CHSRA makes the foolish decision to go outside the direct corridor between the Bay Area and SoCal -- vastly bigger pools of demand -- to reach little puddle drops like Fresno, Bakersfield, Visalia and Palmdale.

These trains have to be full to be green. Otherwise, they are wasting energy and massive levels of public spending. The route sucks.

Trains going 220mph don't start and stop easily. It takes time and energy to reach 220mph and further time to slow down from 220mph. Stopping at all these Central Valley sprawl cities is a great performance burden, and it is highly unlikely that these cities will allow 220mph blowpasses in either the station or the cities themselves. 220mph trains also consume a great deal of energy, pushing through denser air resistance at ground-level.

BruceMcF said...

Fred Martin said...
"Trains going 220mph don't start and stop easily. It takes time and energy to reach 220mph and further time to slow down from 220mph."

Maybe its attention deficit disorder.

(1) The comparison here was between the time and energy required for a 220mph electric HSR train and a jet.

(2) The claim made was that a 220mph electric HSR train stop and start in a small fraction of the time and energy required by a jet.

(3) The claim is so obviously correct that to distract from admitting the admitting the evident weakness of your argument, you must attack me. However, since the argument you are attacking was not based on an appeal to authority - neither mine nor anyone else's - resorting to an attack my status is a clear red herring. My argument was that the substantial argument you presented here betrays either an incapacity or an unwillingess to comprehend something that is quite straightforward.

(4) "If Fresno was a demand center, it would have more jet service -- but it's not." You are pointing to a piece of evidence that reinforces my argument - Fresno has less service in the current system of regional transport than it would in a system with an Express HSR component, precisely because of the inability to pool transport demands by offering a variety of origin/destination pairs on the same service.

And you are pointing out that Fresno can not expect to gain any substantial improvement from more of the same.

Rafael said...

@ Fred Martin -

the Fresno MSA isn't small, there are a million people living there. Bakersfield is smaller but still worth serving

The airlines don't offer a lot of flights because the distances to the Bay Area and the LA basin are so short the cost/seat has to be very high. People currently drive instead, but that wastes a lot of time and even more fuel.

HSR needs to serve these communities precisely because they will generate a disproportionate share of total ridership IFF they get their act together on transit-oriented development and local/regional transit connections. That will take time and high gasoline prices, but it will happen and that's a Good Thing (tm).

The Central Valley is where the water is and the earthquakes aren't. If and when California's population growth resumes, that's where you want newcomers to settle - as long as it's in TOD districts rather than auto-centric suburban sprawl. That sort of shift takes decades, not years.

Anonymous said...

The current routing of the hsr is indeed ill-conceived.

The next polling of voter sentiment on development schemes will likely be a water bond issue. If it passes(after a massive corporate propaganda blitz no doubt)anything goes. If it fails, the CHSRA is in trouble.

Adirondacker12800 said...

they will generate a disproportionate share of total ridership IFF they get their act together on transit-oriented development and local/regional transit connections.

Meh. Depends on what's at the station and what's at the destination.

The population of Albany New York's metro region is 830,000. It's busiest Amtrak station is in Rennselaer. Bus wander past the station now and then. Albany/Rennselaer is Amtrak's tenth busiest station.... with trains that terminate in NYC and an average speed under 55 MPH.
Wilmington Delaware's metro population is 500,000. Same as in Albany the buses wander past the train station now and then. Wilmington is Amtrak's eleventh busiest station. Albany has roughly half the passengers of Los Angeles - Amtrak's fifth busiest station. Wilmington has roughly half the passengers of South Station in Boston, Amtrak's sixth busiest station.

Rafael said...

@ Adirondacker12800 -

riding passenger rail never went out of style in the north-east. It did in te southern part of California's Central Valley, Amtrak's San Joaquin service notwithstanding.

Using HSR to travel between e.g. Fresno and the Bay Area or Bakersfield and LA needs to be so fast, so safe, so clean, so comfortable, so convenient, so affordable that few would consider driving, especially by themselves.

jim said...

Fred Martin said...
Bruce McF, I understand a great deal more than your piss-poor understanding of economics. Where was your "training" from? Correspondence school? Shall I play a banjo?

The beauty of airplanes is that they don't have to waste time and energy stopping in low-demand cities like Fresno and Bakersfield. They make high-speed direct jumps between demand centers. If Fresno was a demand center, it would have more jet service -- but it's not. CHSRA makes the foolish decision to go outside the direct corridor between the Bay Area and SoCal -- vastly bigger pools of demand -- to reach little puddle drops like Fresno, Bakersfield, Visalia and Palmdale.



I don' have any kind of degree but even I know that's the dumbest argument I've ever heard.

An ounce of common sense tells anyone how and why the chosen route makes sense.
Fred Martin knows nothing about the ordinary california traveling public.

jim said...

or how a railroad works.

BruceMcF said...

Adirondacker12800 said...
""they will generate a disproportionate share of total ridership IFF they get their act together on transit-oriented development and local/regional transit connections."

Meh. Depends on what's at the station and what's at the destination.

The population of Albany New York's metro region is 830,000. It's busiest Amtrak station is in Rennselaer. Bus wander past the station now and then. Albany/Rennselaer is Amtrak's tenth busiest station.... with trains that terminate in NYC and an average speed under 55 MPH.
"

Precisely. Its the trip that is available - the speed of the train is a means to an end. And for trips, the effectiveness of transit connections at the destination station is of far more importance than the effectiveness of transit connections at the origin/return. To cater to origin/return passengers at a station, you need to accommodate whatever local transport they use - if its subways, you want to be convenient to a subway; if its bikes, you want convenient cycle access; and if its cars, you want to be accessible to cars.

That is, of course, another of the advantages of rail over air - the far smaller spatial footprint of a rail corridor compared to the spatial footprint of airport runways and terminal buildings.

jim said...

All the so called po dunk towns some would skip already have well developed local transit which, with hsr incorporated, would become even more efficient.

fresno transit

plus

fresno county rural transit

bakersfield transit

antelope valley transit

Adirondacker12800 said...

Using HSR to travel between e.g. Fresno and the Bay Area or Bakersfield and LA needs to be so fast, so safe, so clean, so comfortable, so convenient, so affordable that few would consider driving, especially by themselves

But there doesn't need to be a bus in Merced or Fresno to do that. People in Wilmington and Albany have cars. There's high speed limited access highway to destinations like New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Boston, big chunks of it built before there were Interstates. Effectively there is no mass transit to the stations. They take the train anyway.

There's high speed limited access highway between Albany and Boston. Albany to NYC is 136 miles on the train, it takes two and half hours. Albany to Boston is 199 miles on the train. It takes five and half hours. There's 13 trains a day between NY and Albany, one a day between Albany and Boston. Many people drive between NY and Albany but many of them take the train. Very few take the train between Albany and Boston.

When I lived in New Jersey if I didn't have much luggage I would take the bus to Penn. Station in Newark. It was faster than a cab. ( Driving to Penn Station Newark really isn't an option unless you want to pay Manhattan like parking rates ) If I had luggage I used a cab. Penn Station in Newark has a much larger metro area than Albany or Wilmington. It has a very effective well used mass transit system with excellent intermodal connections at Penn. Station. It's not as busy as Wilmington or Albany, it's Amtrak's 13th busiest station... but then people using Newark are going to places not-NYC. If they are headed to NYC they use NJTransit or PATH.

jim said...

note how the level of service on each map culminates in the downtown core exactly where the hsr stations will be.

jim said...

people can, do and will, take local transit to hsr.

Not all people of course. the middle class folks with cars will drive to the station where the city will provide ample parking. the poorer folks will take the local bus just like they do now.

There will likely free transfer arrangements (train to local bus) avail as well.

The increased speed of travel (80 minutes from fresno to downtown sf, versus 3 hours by car) will draw a large number of people who currently drive, out of their cars to take the train for the simple fact that they can get their stuff done more quickly.

A lot of people come to sf for medical appointments from the central valley for instance.

I mean the list goeas on, Ive see it all.

and you may not think that people will schlepp all over on public transit but they already do. eVen up into the foothills.

You'd be surprised what people will do. and knocking four hours off their total round trip travel time in a day is a huge deal no matter how you slice it.

mike said...

Goodness, did anyone actually read the Brookings Report from the original post? They give you the emissions factors (which should be proportional to fuel consumption) right in the report:

In addition, the environmental pollutants produced per mile are far greater on short-haul routes versus all others. This causes the average short-haul flight of 250 miles to have an emissions factor of 0.64 pounds per mile per person, while medium flights of 800 miles emit 0.45 pounds per mile per person and long-distance flights of 2500 miles emit 0.39 pounds per mile per person.

In other words, the short haul flights burn 64% more fuel per passenger-mile than the transcontinental flights. No need to go into these lengthy debates about fuel burn, wind resistance, turbine efficiency, etc. etc.

Right now, many, if not most, of the flights are on regional jets, so even an old 733 or 735 would be an upgrade in capacity.

Wrong.

Of the 360 daily flights between SFO/SJC/OAK and LAX/BUR/ONT/SNA/LGB, 80% of them are on 737/A320/757 class aircraft (seating 140-180 passengers each). Only 20% are on regional jets. Go check the flight schedules.

To get a big upgrade in capacity, you'd have to move to wide body...767 at a minimum. To double capacity you'd have to go with an A330/777 fleet mix...which naturally take much longer to enplane and deplane. Add another 15-20 minutes on each end to get people on and off the planes. And of course then you'd have to dramatically scale back frequency to an unattractive point, since all these flights are being split between 12 major airport pairs (SFO-LAX, SFO-BUR, SFO-SNA, SFO-ONT, OAK-LAX, OAK-BUR, OAK-SNA, OAK-ONT, SJC-LAX, SJC-BUR, SJC-SNA, SJC-ONT) and multiple carriers.

Look, I'm the first guy who will call for getting reducing the use of runway-clogging regional jets. To do that, you need to start charging per-aircraft fees instead of per-passenger or per-pound fees. It's basically congestion pricing for runways, and it will discourage the use of smaller aircraft.

But, when you do that, you will drive more short-haul passengers towards HSR (which is a good thing - it's an economically efficient outcome). The long haul flights, which use larger aircraft and spend a much lower percentage of their time actually in the airport, will be much less affected by congestion pricing than the short haul flights. Thus airlines will shift towards long haul flights and away from short haul flights. Which is the entire point because, quite simply, air travel is not an efficient travel mode for shorter distances.

jim said...

compare this to the typical southwest flight.
please.

YESonHSR said...

An even better video is the one with the HST AVE line that looks alot like California will have!!

Alon Levy said...

Rafael: jet engines are more efficient at high speed than at low speed. So the amount of fuel you give as necessary to reach cruise altitude is an underestimate.

Fred: I don't know why you think HSR won't be able to go at full speed through Bakersfield and Fresno. There are no complaints in Gilroy about HSR going at 150 mph. The Shinkansen is about to start going at 200 mph through cities about the same size as Bakersfield and Fresno.

Adirondacker: Amtrak's mode share on Albany-New York isn't high, unless you're only counting the share of the air/rail market. In fact, Empire-south-of-Albany has the highest operating subsidy of every short-distance Amtrak route, and the third highest subsidy per passenger-mile (trailing Hoosier State and the New Haven-Springfield shuttle). This isn't what you'd want to imitate in California.

BruceMcF said...

jim said...
"people can, do and will, take local transit to hsr.

Not all people of course. the middle class folks with cars will drive to the station where the city will provide ample parking. the poorer folks will take the local bus just like they do now.
" {bold added}

Precisely, as I already said, "To cater to origin/return passengers at a station, you need to accommodate whatever local transport they use".

Effective transit at the destination station is a factor increasing the competitive advantage of HSR for a given trip, but the argument that is sometimes made online that HSR is unable to provide effective trips unless there is a TOD-planner's dream network of local transit at both ends of the trip is just silly.

Rafael said...

@ Alon Levy -

I was talking only about the fraction of fuel consumption related to the increase the potential energy. I explicitly left out the much larger fraction required to overcome wind resistance during ascent to avoid muddying the waters.

It's entirely possible that the jet engines don't run as efficiently at low altitudes because the intake air is warmer. The lower air speed shouldn't be a major factor since the engines are running at very high thrust during the climb.

It's in partial load that fuel consumption per unit of thrust becomes much worse, that's why Bombardier's Jet Train - which had been considered for Florida HSR - is such a bad idea. High speed trains should be powered by overhead catenaries.

Alon Levy said...

No, the lower speed is a problem. I'm trying to get data from Wikipedia, but the closest it comes to talking about it is that "The highest fuel efficiency for the overall vehicle is thus typically at Mach ~0.85."

Adirondacker12800 said...

Amtrak's mode share on Albany-New York isn't high, unless you're only counting the share of the air/rail market. In fact, Empire-south-of-Albany has the highest operating subsidy of every short-distance Amtrak route, and the third highest subsidy per passenger-mile (trailing Hoosier State and the New Haven-Springfield shuttle). This isn't what you'd want to imitate in California.

They wouldn't want to imitate it. The argument was that people won't use the train unless there is good local mass transit. I was pointing out that there is none to speak of at the Amtrak stations in Albany or Wilmington, very busy Amtrak stations.

Alon Levy said...

Those aren't busy stations, except by the lackluster standards of the rest of the US. For reference, in its business plan CHSRA expects Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield to have about 7,000 daily boardings each; in FY 2008, Albany averaged 2,200 and Wilmington averaged 2,000.

jim said...

hmmm 7000 divided by 24 hours is 291 boardings per hour... divided by say 8 trains per hour... = 36 people boarding per train.

sounds pretty reasonable if we're talking about the fully built system. I mean that breaks down to only 16 northbound passengers and 17 southbound passengers boarding per train.

jim said...

wait thats not right.

lets see hmmm 8 per hour... is that 8 in each direction per hour - yeh, so altogether its a total of 16 trains per hour taking on passengers.... hmmm ok yes thats 18 passengers per northbound train and 18 passengers per southbound train.

Adirondacker12800 said...

Those aren't busy stations, except by the lackluster standards of the rest of the US. For reference, in its business plan CHSRA expects Merced, Fresno, and Bakersfield to have about 7,000 daily boardings each; in FY 2008, Albany averaged 2,200 and Wilmington averaged 2,000.

Is it lackluster because the bus service sucks? Or is it lackluster because the train service sucks? Albany to Montreal, Albany to Boston and Albany to NYC are very roughly the same trip. There's 13 trains a day to NYC and one to either Boston or Montreal. The bus goes to the same train station for any of those trips.

Fresno to LA is projected to take an hour and twenty four minutes. How many trains a day would there be if Albany and NYC if the trip took 1:24? An hour and half between Albany and NYC would roughly be the same average speed as the NEC between NYC and DC. An average speed of 135 would make the trip in a few seconds over an hour. At the same average speed as Fresno to LA it would be 45 minutes.

If Wilmington can attract 2,000 riders on an average day I come up with Merced Fresno and Bakersfield need parking garages roughly 4 times as big as the ones at Albany/Rennselaer not that Albany needs better bus service to the station.

Peter said...

Ok, thrust of a jet engine is determined by the difference in intake temperature versus exhaust temperature. There is a limit to how high the temperature can go, without damage being done to the engine components.

So, if the entry temperature is "high", as it is at lower altitudes, the engine will be producing less thrust per unit of fuel consumed. One of the purposes of the fuel is to cool the engine. Interesting (and wasteful) use of fuel. Hence one of the inefficiencies for jet engines at low altitude.

If the temperature is low, as it is at high altitude, the temperature differential is high, and the engine is able to produce a higher amount of thrust without damage to the engine.

Drag at low altitude is not the reason why jets must climb high to be efficient.

One of the reasons why Mach .85 is listed on wikipedia as the highest general fuel efficiency is because the engine begins to lose efficiency once the intake velocity approaches Mach 1.

Oh, and additionally, the higher the altitude, the lower the temperature and the higher the speed of sound. Therefore, an aircraft can fly faster and achieve the same speed relative to the speed of sound. This improves the efficiency even more.

Alon Levy said...

Peter, lower temperature makes the speed of sound lower, not higher. Wikipedia says that at 11 km, the speed of sound decreases from 340 m/s to 295.

Brandon in San Diego said...

An update to my trip to the north.... I left LA later than planned, at 8:00am... which would shorten the total span of my trip. However, my flight left 1hr 15min late due to fog in San Francisco. Bottom line, I got to San Francisco at 2:30pm.

Total trip time: 6hrs 30min.

A trip including HSR, door-to-door, would have taken less than 4 hours!!!

I am not disgusted with the length of time; but, the short haul flights between NorCal and SoCal will no live long after HSR is up and running. The changeover may be stunning.

Peter said...

My apologies, Alon, you are correct (Aerodynamics class was a long time ago, and I don't need to know transonic and supersonic aerodynamics for the flying I do).

Speed of sound does decrease with temperature (and altitude).

The reason turbine aircraft are most efficient at higher altitude is in fact primarily due to the increased engine efficiency at lower temperature.

As the drag decreases as density increases (as altitude increases), the plane can also fly "faster" to maintain the same dynamic pressure (and true air speed, which is equal to groundspeed in a no-wind condition).

Alon Levy said...

Brandon, there will probably still be some short-haul flights feeding long-haul flights out of LAX, which CAHSR is not going to connect to. However, the volume in question will be a fraction of what it is right now. On London-Paris, a route where HSR is a failure, air traffic has gone down by a factor of 2 since the Eurotunnel opened.

Anonymous said...

First, the $50 Southwest ticket.

Yes, if you get lucky, buy well in advance, sometimes there is a $50 Southwest ticket. To that, add parking and/or airport shuttles, perhaps a rented car or taxi, on each end, because the airports are far from anywhere you start from or need to be.

I typically find my ground transport/parking fees on each end to average around $40 for a total of $80 per trip.

Second, if you buy a few days before, that $50 ticket is $250.

Third, about Fresno.

On a rail trip recently, I sat next to a nice elderly woman who was traveling from Fresno to Anaheim for a trip to Disneyland for her birthday. She tried to fly... but to fly to LA she had to do stops through Las Vegas or Phoenix, and the total travel time was 8-10 hours. She thought about driving but decided to try the train.

One might point out that not everyone wants to or is safe driving for 4-5 hours. Universities are full of students who might like to visit home regularly. Fresno - a university town as well as a population center and ag center - needs more service, and the extra mobility will benefit not only Fresno but destinations all over the state.

elfling

jim said...

BRandon how was your stay in SF?

jim said...

students are big on train travel. its a big chunk of ridership already in california.

I have san diego trip coming up... assuming everything is on time, and considering I live on top of a bart station...

its still gonna be a 3+ hour tip one way. and if I didn't have a bart station at my front door, and wasn't departing from the virgin america gate adjacent to the sfo bart station Id have to add even more time.

if I drove id have to pay long term parking, plus theres those baggage charges on top of whatever ticket you buy. and those baggage charges are x two on a round trip.

add to that the unbearable discomfort of being squished into those seats elbow to elbow with people you don't want to sit next too....


plus the painful ear popping.

and the ever present possibility of plunging to your death in the ice cold shark infested pacific ocean.

and you can see the advantage of hsr.

Anonymous said...

All this hot air, and in the end we all agree -- using airline capacity for routing is a stupid way to endorse HSR.

Brandon in San Diego said...

My time was nice, as always. It was colder than I would have liked.

My trip back to Los Angeles was borderline frustrating. It would have been, except I am easy going.

The trip into SFO was easy. But once there... I needed to get in line to check my bags.... too big and heavy to carry on. I spent over 1 hour in line... with 200-300 others.

Southwest only had 6 attendants at the counter. Did I say 200-300 people were in line?

Fortunately, I was early enough and was not pressed for time. My flight was scheduled for 4:10.... which was delayed 'til 5:05.

So, I left for SFO at 1:30p
Arrived at Terminal at 2:30p
Checked bag s at 3:50p
Boarded at 4:55p
Lifted off at 5:20p ish
Landed around 6:30p
Got bag from bagage carosel at 6:45ish
Left lot C at 7:10
Got to my origin at 7:50

Total elapsed time: 5hr 20min.

A comparable trip utilizing HSR would have been approximately 4hrs. Maybe 4hr 30min.

CComMack said...

@Adirondacker12800

A quick correction to your coment about Wilmington, DE: while DART First State's bus network is anemic in the off-hours and barely exists on weekends (it has had no Sunday service at all in the recent past), it has excellent and well-patronized (read: overcrowded) rush hour service. And while the Amtrak station is off on the edge of Downtown Wilmington, it is DART's second-densest nexus of bus routes, after Rodney Square. What drives Amtrak ridership down at Wilmington is that ~1400 people per weekday[1] take SEPTA Regional Rail between Delaware and Philadelphia, a choice not available in Albany-Rensellaer to any other city, much less the country's sixth-largest.

[1] Source: http://www.svmetro.com/septawatch/official/septa-regional-rail-ridership-census/septa-rr-census-2005/wk-de.pdf Numbers are four years old and interpreted conservatively. That PDF lists Wilmington and Newark (DE) SEPTA ridership as growing at 10% annually, while the park-and-rides at Claymont and Churchman's Crossing do less well.