Thursday, July 01, 2004

Cay: Why Light Rail won't take off in the Caymans

The LRT system in Houston, despite wide awareness campaigns, was hit by five collisions before it opened on 1 January 2004. Despite more awareness ads, there were 18 more collisions, between cars and trains, from January to March. The Dallas system had 17 accidents in 2003. The LRT system built to move travellers between the JFK and LaGuardia airports suffered an accident on its opening run and was shut down.

In addition, there are many who predict that the Caymanian motorist, wedded to his or her vehicle (nobody walks here) will not gravitate towards LRT as they didn’t gravitate to multi-storey parking lots downtown.

Most importantly, an LRT system’s effectiveness rests on a large population base for economies of scale (that excludes Cayman) and particularly on an urban transportation network (buses; streetcars; subways) that disperses passengers from the LRT terminal to all points of the compass. Cayman has no such network in the George Town area and environs. Neither does it have any vacant land in the George Town to accommodate the LRT terminal, nor the substantial parking area that will be needed if northbound travellers are to use the rail system.
A small island group like Caymans and nobody walks?

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