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Light Rail: is it worth paying for?

It is argued that the appraisal of light rail proposals in the UK should be extended beyond the quantifiable transport impacts. Promoters should integrate proposed light rail schemes with land use development and regeneration proposals, and other wider aspects of transport.

The paper makes specific reference to systems that had been proposed in the 1980s and realised by 2000:

  • Manchester Metrolink
  • Midland Metro
  • Croydon Tramlink
  • Tyne and Wear Metro
  • Sheffield Supertram
Many other schemes were put forward in the 1980s, but only a further two of these had materialised by 2020:
  • Edinburgh
  • Nottingham
Schemes not progressed by 2020 were:
  • Aberdeen
  • Belfast (preferring a BRT system instead)
  • Bradford
  • Bristol
  • Cardiff
  • Chester
  • Cleveland
  • Dartford
  • Doncaster
  • Glasgow
  • Gloucester
  • Hull
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • Medway Towns
  • Portsmouth
  • Sunderland
  • Swansea
  • Washington
Paper TitleLight rail: is it worth paying for?
Paper AuthorTim Pharoah and Tim Smith
Conference Details AET annual conference Cambridge 11th September 2000


Light rail, tram, public transport planning, transit planning