Travel and Trains offer four pictures illustrating how light rail (or a streetcar) might reduce traffic congestion. The premise of the essay is that single-occupancy cars take up a lot more street space per seat than a single Canadian Light Rail Vehicle, or a PCC, or a Peter Witt with all seats occupied does.
Fair enough, if it's all single-occupancy automobiles with drivers headed to similar destinations.
Reality is messier.
That young man in the Dodge Charger, the one with the rattling windows because he's cranked up the sound system ... his hearing isn't so good, and his idea of "inside volume" on his head-phones is loud enough to rouse the ghost of John I. Beggs.
That real estate hustler in the BMW, juggling three deals on her smartphone, do you think she's not going to treat the trolley like her office? Enjoy listening in.
That tired man in the rusty Corolla, who just got off work and hasn't had a chance to shower up yet ... his presence precedes him to the rear of the tramcar.
And cars can have multiple passengers. That mom in a Subaru, with a young hellion strapped in the back seat ... he's going to think it great fun to throw the fare inspector from the tramcar a t-shirt.
Those are a few of the riders enticed out of their cars and onto mass transit. Then there are the transit-dependent people. You don't have to be John Rocker to contemplate what's getting on at the next stop.
So while there's a role for mass transit, there might be good reason people don't avail themselves of it.