die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 and motorway capacity

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The Department for Transport’s HS2 Strategic Case video stated that “HS2 will provide the capacity of a 12 lane motorway”. But as previously mentioned on the Beleben blog, that claim is not really plausible.

DfT have now clarified that the claim depended on comparing a measure of average car occupancy, against 100% full HS2 occupancy.

No high speed railway anywhere in the world operates at 100% occupancy, or anything close to that figure. HS2 Economic Case documents suggest a load factor of around 33%.

[DfT statement]

As described in Chapter Four of the Strategic Case for HS2, which can be found here (or here),

at full potential capacity HS2 is expected to operate 18 trains per hour with a potential maximum seating capacity of 1,100 per train. This provides a total capacity of 39,600 in both directions.

Rule 126 of the Highway Code specifies that drivers should allow at least a two second gap between vehicles. This implies a maximum capacity for cars of 1,800 per hour per lane in free flowing traffic. The average occupancy of a car is approximately 1.6 per vehicle as detailed in the National Travel Survey 2012 […]

This gives a total capacity per lane of 2,880. For a 12 lane motorway this provides a total capacity of 34,560 in both directions.


Written by beleben

March 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

One Response

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  1. Is it possible to sue these people for fraud?

    HS2 should be compared, not with an all-purpose motorway with average vehicle occupancy, but with the capacity of one lane dedicated to express coaches.

    HS2 may offer 18 trains per hour in the peak direction at peak times. In contrast, there is a single express coach lane in New York, four miles long and 11 feet wide, which offers 30,000 seats. The realistic capacity of one lane of a motor road, managed to avoid congestion, is 1,000 coaches per hour. If travelling at 100 kph the average headway would be 100 metres. Each coach may have 75 seats thereby offering 75,000 seats per hour or four times as many as offered by HS2, supposing they ever actually do run 18 trains per hour.

    So yes – is there a case for a fraud prosecution against those individuals in HS2 Ltd and the DfT who are putting it about that HS2 will have a capacity equal to a 12 lane motorway without providing the inappropriate nature of the comparison thereby misleading the public and politicians alike on a mammoth scale?


    March 4, 2014 at 5:35 pm

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