The Cost of a Free Ride

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2010

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Samia Islam


AN ANALYSIS OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF A STREETCAR IN BOISE. As metropolitan areas continue to increase in size, growing cities are constantly looking for innovative ways to handle transportation issues while accommodating for the increase in population. The city of Boise has experienced substantial growth in recent decades. In consideration of all available solutions for public transportation city planners hope to reintroduce the streetcar to downtown Boise. While there are obvious benefits to decreasing personal vehicle use, such as reduced traffic congestion and better air quality, our study examines whether a city the size of Boise will benefit economically from implementing a streetcar system. Several other West Coast cities currently use a streetcar system. Our study will research the processes that they undertook in implementing a street car system. We will compare data on funding proposals, initial construction costs, operational costs, and the overall economic impact. We will also look at the additional economic implications of the future expansions (phase 2 and 3) of the streetcar system. While we expect to find that initial costs will be very high in the short run adding to voter disapproval for this idea, the long run benefits we believe will outweigh these initial costs and contribute to successful economic growth for the Boise and the surrounding areas. / Keywords: public transportation, metropolitan, streetcar, economic growth.

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