Trains are certainly no guarantee of traffic relief, as evidenced by the latest Inrix National Traffic Scorecard.
Nine of the ten most traffic-congested cities in America have rail systems. And a train also wouldn’t help Oahu, since federal and county transit officials agree traffic would be worse in the future with rail than it is today without rail.
According to the Inrix study, Honolulu is the nation’s most-congested city, with drivers wasting an average of 58 hours per year sitting in traffic. That compares to 56 wasted hours in Los Angeles, the second-worst city.
What’s the answer for Honolulu?
Rather than squander at least $5.3 billion on an obsolete and ineffective rail system, Governor Cayetano proposes a series of sensible traffic fixes at a fraction of the cost. This includes improving the nation’s best bus system by quickly adding point-to-point express buses for commuters and students.
Other short-term solutions include: widening existing roads, implementing flexible workweeks and telecommuting for county employees, and synchronizing Honolulu’s outdated traffic signal system so drivers hit fewer red lights.
Governor Ben also favors the long-term solution of creating a modern Bus Rapid Transit system – similar to successful ones in Seoul and other cities – that speeds commuters to and from downtown twice as fast as rail.
The train, by the way, would average a pokey 27 miles per hour because it has to pick up
passengers at 21 stations along the 20-mile route. That’s what you call stop-and-go conditions!