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Ways to reduce costs of light rail projects

Jason Hoover / flickr

There are significant advantages to developing light rail for transportation within urban areas. Light rail systems have larger capacity for passengers. Track consumes less area of the city than a network of roads and highways. These advantages translate into less urban traffic congestion and greater efficiency for moving large numbers of people.
In the larger picture, increased use of light rail and other modes of public transportation reduce the amount of gasoline used for transportation. That, in turn, reduces harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. The American Public Transportation Association reports that U.S. public transportation use saves 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel in 498 urban areas.

While the advantages are significant, the costs of developing light rail are substantial. The cost of most light rail systems ranges from $15 million to $100 million per mile. By comparison, a freeway expansion typically costs $1 million to $8.5 million per lane mile for two directions. While road projects typically are done in rural areas and suburbs, light rail projects are done in urban areas where right of way and property acquisition is expensive.
With dotAMPS, a software product developed by geoAMPS, federal, state and local costs in developing light rail can be greatly reduced. With efficiencies gained by conversion to a Web-based central repository of organizational and project information, and process standardization facilitated through the Web platform’s dashboard-focused interface, departments of transportation can achieve up to 35 percent savings in project management costs.
A central database built upon a Web platform offers mobile application for work in the field, detached application when connectivity is unreliable, and GIS mapping that can broaden the use of information that is gathered. The mobile application is a tremendous timesaver for transportation workers and land service agents in the field. With GIS, project planners and agents in the field can track a light rail project at the parcel level through color-codes maps and layers. The GIS application allows real-time analysis capabilities through the overlay of mapping layers.
Organizations gain real-time information and project flexibility. Authorized personnel receive comprehensive project information. Software dashboards help in understanding progress, issues and bottlenecks, which can aid decision-making and the generation of necessary reports to funding agencies.
In a time of government austerity, funding has a greater chance of going to those light rail projects that can do more with less. geoAMPS software provides that opportunity.
For more information on how geoAMPS can meet the needs of transportation projects, contact Guy Allen, Business Development Director, at 614-389-4871. Visit geoAMPS online at
Dan Liggett is Communications and Public Relations Manager for geoAMSPS, a technology company in the Columbus, OH, area that specializes in software solutions to manage land rights and infrastructure assets. For more information, call 614-389-4871 or visit We invite organizations in Canada to check out the new Canadian version of our website,

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