Planning the Expo Line: understanding the technology choice behind Vancouver's first rail rapid transit line

Date created: 
Expo Line
Transportation planning
Transportation technology

This project investigates the factors behind transit technology choices in Canada. Specifically, I examine the case of the Expo Line in the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD)- the region’s first Rail Rapid Transit Line. The literature suggests that a transportation system can be evaluated from a political optimality or a technical optimality. I provide definitions for both of these perspectives. In this case, the GVRD’s plans for light rail were replaced with the new technology of Advanced Light Rapid Transit by the province. An evaluation from a technical perspective would have raised questions of reliability, safety and cost. Thus, the system is more politically efficient than technically efficient. The result is that the region is left with a technology that has, in the subsequent 25 years, sold very poorly and has only one supplier.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Copyright remains with the author. The author granted permission for the file to be printed and for the text to be copied and pasted.
Senior supervisor: 
Dr. Anthony Perl
Arts & Social Sciences: Urban Studies Program
Thesis type: 
(Research Project) M.Urb.