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Light rail aspirations

Light rail aspirations

Light rail schemes have been widely advocated. The motives include coping with high demand on a bus corridor (e.g. West London Tram), promoting regeneration (Docklands Light Rail), and overcoming severance of communities (Portsmouth/Gosport). There may also have been a pursuit of light rail as "vanity projects", especially schemes proposed in small cities or in areas with low development density.

England has a modest track record in planning and delivering light rail schemes. Out of 28 cities advocating light rail during the 1980s, only 6 had managed to get a system running by 2011 (see pdf).

There is a prima facie case for looking at light rail in the UK, since our neighbours on the near continent seem able to plan and deliver light rail schemes more widely, and much more quickly. (See "Making Tracks" pdf)

Argument(s)There should be more light rail schemes in UK cities. Light rail supports traffic reduction/carbon reduction objectives and aids urban regeneration. If French cities can build an entire system in four years, why can't we? Light rail is expensive, disruptiv


Light rail, tram, public transport planning, transit planning