“Lightness” of light rail

TransLink, BC Transit, SNC Lavalin, UBC, SFU, and a host of North American Engineering firms, please take note!

ThisAi??”lightness” of light rail – a combination of flexibility, low impact,Ai??modest cost, and environmental softness – is ephemeral. It mustAi??be carefullyAi??guarded. Ignorance orAi??ineptitude during the planning, design, specification writing, engineering, orAi??construction phases of a project can lose the “lightness”. Light rail’s advantages canAi??be diminished orAi??even destroyed with overdesigned overhead; ugly, noisy, orAi??difficult-to-maintain cars; poorly conceived alignments; orAi??simply uneconomicAi??applications.”

Source: Light RailAi??Transit Special Report 221 United States TransportationAi??Research Board NationalAi??Research Council p 92


2 Responses to ““Lightness” of light rail”
  1. John M. says:

    No doubt light rail is light, but you can’t really compare light rail to a full grade separated metro. It’s more comparable to bus rapid transit with a dedicated right of way, which can also be low cost and “light”

    Zweisystem replies: Yes it can actually. LRT made light-metro or what you call rapid transit obsolete some decades ago (notice that no one buys SkyTrain or VAL any more). As LRT is a streetcar that operates on a reserved rights of way, there is no need for a hugely expensive grade separated R-o-W. The Canada Line was so designed to concerve money that it is a heavy rail subway, that has less capacity than a simple streetcar. Comparing LRT with BRT is a joke as LRT’s benefits far outweighs that of BRT. Today, modern streetcar line can handle ridership in excess of 30,000 pphpd (Karlsruhe)!

    Costs for LRT start at about $6 million/km, (tramtrain) cheaper than BRT, light metro (SkyTrain) $80 million/km., heavy-rail metro (subway) $250 million/km.

  2. the Ragnore brothers says:

    Why John, is it only the Canadians & specifically Vancouverite’s who are so hung up on setting grade separated metro as the transit benchmark against which ALL other modes are to be measured?
    In Europe, the US & much of Asia, different transit modes are analysed in order to determine the benefit to cost ratio to determine the overall value for money of infrastructure investment.
    I seems that transit planning in Vancouver is determined by political patronage rather than expediency.

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