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In my experience of government backed (re)development projects there is a strong link between those projects and the provision of rapid transit in the form of trams, metros etc; and not with traditional buses. Having grown up in the UK and experienced both nationalised and privatised bus services I can wholeheartedly vouch that bus routes can change at a moments notice for little substantiated reason. This will obviously have a knock-on effect in the confidence in investing in long term developments. Moving the example to my present location of Amsterdam, when the council created new islands on the IJsselmeer they initially opted for a Light Rail scheme but shelved it for a more cost effective tram link which would integrate wholly within in the existing transit network. The result has been that the "IJburg" project now has thousands of people living here and businesses are beginning to move onto the islands which are 7km SW of the city, with the confidence that the investment is long term. In my view, the installation of a tram line gives the witness a more immediate and long lasting impression of the commitment of the provider to the area. I won't spam Jarrett's blog with links but the GVB (council transport provider), Wikipedia and the IJBurg site has more information on this, including the current effort to build 3 more islands!
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May 13, 2010