|Light Rail Transit Association
Light Rail for better public transport
Light Rail Systems: created 4 June 2012
Light rail ranges from the traditional tramway (streetcar in the USA) through to fully segregated automated systems such as the Docklands Light Railway in London. There are no definite border lines, tramways merge gradually into light rail systems as they are upgraded.
Light rail vehicles can negotiate sharper curves and steeper gradients than main line railways. They can fit into the urban environment and create no street level pollution by using electric power. Good acceleration and short stopping distance allow stops to be placed in convenient positions while providing a fast and frequent service.
Light rail can run with all other traffic, as in the early twentieth century. Alternatively road space can be shared, perhaps with busses, or be completely reserved. Sometimes a reserved right of way can be alongside a road or in the central reservation of a dual carriageway.
Railways which are underused can be converted to light rail and have on street extensions into town and city centres. Additional stops can be provided. A more frequent service is possible, making an attractive system which carries many more passengers than previously used the railway.
Large passenger flows can be carried more economically than by busses and at a fraction of the cost of urban railways.
See also Light Rail Information
Light Rail Systems: top