The carrot and the stick
"If you build it they will come" was made famous by Kevin Costner in the movie Field of Dreams.
A review of light rail in the US is showing that this ain’t necessarily so. There is a need for some carrot as well as some stick action in order for these systems to work most effectively. Some may have accused us of overtly promoting sustainable transport modes in the past – including light rail – with a left-leaning zeal which would typically send our Prime Minister into a V8 ute-driving spin. But we at times do have to ask the hard questions of those forms of transport which we believe to be right and true.
It is fair to say that if you read through to the end of this article by Yonah Freemark, we see that there is a significant upside to these systems; an upside that we grown-ups know is possible through the development of light rail. However, it is fair to say that in order for public transport to be most effective there needs to be in-equal-measure the application of the carrot and the stick: carrot in the building of the system and the stick in terms of increasing the cost of the private vehicular forms of transport.