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What Are Light Rail Vehicles

    Sound Transit, an American-based company, has unveiled the first of its new light-rail vehicles, the second series, designed to serve commuters. Light rail vehicles (LRVs) are differentiated from rapid rail transit (RRT) vehicles in their ability to operate in mixed-traffic environments, typically leading to narrower car bodies and articulated joints in order to operate in the mixed-traffic environment of streets. Light rail, or light rail rapid transit (LRT), is a form of urban rail transportation which generally uses less large-scale equipment and infrastructure compared with RRT systems, and contemporary light rail vehicles generally travel on rail lines. There is history in the U.S. of what would be considered light rail vehicles operating along the tracks of heavy rail rapid transit, particularly with interurban streetcars.

    However, since then, a number of cities throughout North America have built transit systems and called them light rail, starting with Edmonton in 1978, with another 20 cities since. According to this research paper, which documents the birth of light rail in the United States, the term light rail was introduced in 1972 to describe the new systems being built across North America, which were modelled on Germanys stadbahn system. Generally, light rail is used to describe systems that fall somewhere on the spectrum between commuter train systems, both in terms of ridership and speed. There is significant overlap between the technologies, many of the same vehicles may be used in both, and it is usual to categorize streetcars/trams as subtypes of light rail, not a separate mode of transit.

    At the lower end of the light rail spectrum are streetcars and streetcars, while at the higher end are high-capacity rail systems such as New Yorks subways or DCs subways. Mass transit systems work by scheduling, carrying a high volume of people/users/passengers at once aboard large vehicles–typically buses and trains (Vucich, 2005). The mass transit systems may be the transit systems that are based on roads and railways, and are composed of the infrastructures and the network of services, which are usually characterised by the technological/technological characteristics. The term is generally used to denote rapid transit-style rail systems, which usually employ electric rail cars, operating mostly on privately owned rights-of-way, separated from other traffic, but occasionally mixed in with other traffic on urban streets, as needed.

    Metro is the rail-based, high-capacity, urban transit system operating trains on a dedicated line/route, with the rail tracks typically laid underground, that is, with a tunnel alignment, within a larger, denser metropolitan area. The Muni Metro system is composed of 71.5 miles (15.1 km) of standard-gauge tracks, seven light rail lines (six regular lines and a rush-hour shuttle), three tunnels, nine underground stations, twenty-four surface stations, and eighty-seven surface stations. Muni Metro is the third busiest light rail system in the U.S., operating a fleet of 151 light rail vehicles (LRVs) and an average weekday ridership of 173,500. A single six-car heavy rail train is equivalent to an operating car lines length extending 95 city blocks, operating at 25 miles per hour.

    Comparing cars to heavy rail, whereas one full heavy rail car holds approximately 180 people, including standing room, a six-car rail train carrying approximately 1,080 passengers is the equivalent of 900 cars. Since one light rail track can carry as many as 20,000 people an hour, as opposed to the 2,000-2,200 vehicles an hour of one highway lane, light rail theoretically can provide substantially greater potential for congestion reduction per dollar than additional highway lanes in congested urban areas. Ultra-light vehicles cannot, therefore, coexist with heavy rail, or even with most light rail systems, because the light structure, which is comparable to a car or a bus, is insufficiently robust to withstand an impact from a regular train.

    Where vehicles operate in high-platform, flat-bed operation, devices or systems must be provided to prevent, discourage, or alert individuals to step off a platform between vehicles unintentionally. All new light rail vehicles, except level-boarding vehicles, covered by this subsection, shall provide a level-changing mechanism or level-boarding device (e.g., elevator, ramp, or bridge plates) that meets paragraphs (b) or (c) of this subsection, and adequate clearance so that at least two persons using wheelchairs or mobility assistance devices can access areas, each having minimum clear floor area 48 inches by 30 inches, that does not unduly limit the movement of passengers. All new light rail vehicles, other than level entry vehicles, covered by this subpart shall provide a level-change mechanism or boarding device (e.g., lift, ramp or bridge plate) complying with either paragraph (b) or (c) ; of this section and sufficient clearances to permit at least two wheelchair or mobility aid users to reach areas, each with a minimum clear floor space of 48 inches by 30 inches, which do not unduly restrict passenger flow. If a wheelchair or mobility device-using passenger cannot fit in the same vehicle.

    Special-use platforms, or high-occupancy units, that have served individuals with disabilities and mobility needs since the Rail System opened in 1996, also would be eliminated as those passengers began using lower-floor centre doors on every trains mid-section. Standing passengers in SLRVs could almost double the capacity. Designed in collaboration with Osaka, Japan-based train car maker Kinkisharyo, the SLRVs feature a flat-floored entrance that would enable passengers with disabilities — plus those with strollers, bikes, and similar equipment — to walk or roll right on board trains, instead of using mechanical lifts. The new modified vehicles began service June 23, 2008, with Car No.151. Dubbed the Super Light Rail Vehicles (SLRVs) due to its greater length and increased passenger capacity, SLRVs will carry about 100 passengers, up from the 75 passengers of the existing vehicles.

    Compared to the existing Series 1 LRTs, the new vehicles will have a number of improvements to onboard systems, passenger information displays, and LED lighting. Sound Transit will be conducting in-service tests on an incremental number of new vehicles in the coming years. Sound Transit is ordering 152 new vehicles to be added to its current fleet of 62, as new light rail lines in Northgate, Lynnwood, Federal Way, and on the Eastside open in the next three years, increasing the systems footprint from 22 miles to 62 miles.

    Carpools, fixed bus routes, light rail, heavy rail, aerial tramway, cable car, trolleybus systems, and automated guided transit (AGT) are a few modern mass transit systems (Fig. The elements of urban mass transit are vehicles (buses, trolleybuses, streetcars), routes (streets, tracks, guidedways), stops (stops, stations, terminals), parking, energy systems, and management systems.

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