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What Is Light Rail Transit

    Light rail transit is growing in popularity in large cities across the globe, including right here in Canada, because it provides substantial transit capacity without the cost and density required of a subway system. Light rail transit is a transportation system that relies on electric-powered light rail vehicles (LRVs) operating along tracks on a dedicated right-of-way (meaning, separated lanes).

    Light rail transit is a technology of electric-powered, double-track railways capable of providing wide passenger capacities, operating either in single vehicles or in shorter trains along various types of alignments. There is no standard definition, but in the United States (where the term was developed in the 1970s from the engineering term light rail), the term light rail operates mostly on exclusive rights-of-way, and uses either individual streetcars or multiple units coupled together to form a train with lower capacity and lower speeds than a longer passenger heavy rail or subway system. Some lines called light rail are actually quite similar to rapid transit; newer terms, such as light subway, have been used in recent years to describe these mid-capacity systems.

    Light rail, or light rail transit (LRT), is a form of urban rail mass transit which typically has lower capacity and lower speeds compared with heavy rail and subway systems, but higher capacity and higher speeds than conventional streetcar systems. Light rail transit systems (LRT, also called streetcars or streetcars) provide local, affordable mass transit services along busier urban corridors, connecting important destinations, such as downtown business districts, health centers, campuses, and entertainment centers. Light rail vehicles (LRTs) are differentiated from Rapid Rail Transit (RRT) vehicles in their ability to operate through mixed-traffic, typically resulting in narrower car bodies and articulated joints for operating through traffic-congestion streets.

    The term is typically used to denote rail systems that have RRT-style features, usually using electric rail cars, operating mostly on privately owned rights-of-way separated from other traffic, but occasionally mixing with other traffic on urban streets when needed. A public transportation system may be an intercity transit system that is road-based as well as rail-based, composed of an infrastructure and a network of services, typically characterised by technological/technological characteristics. Metro is a rail-based, high-capacity, urban transit system that operates trains on a special line/route, the tracks for which are generally laid underground, that is, in a tunnel-like arrangement, within a densely-populated, larger urban area.

    As a result, it has served in many corridors/routes of the transit network as the testbed prior to deploying rail-based urban transit systems, such as LRTs (Fig. Furthermore, this system has originated as an essential update of streetcar or tramway systems, but it also has the capability of being upgraded to a rapid transit system, for example, light rail rapid transit (LRRT) or rapid bus. Compared with Metros previously mentioned counterpart, LRT, RRT systems offer far greater capacity, ride speeds, interior comfort, reliability, on-time performance, and safety in service.

    It also found rail systems generally increased shopping visits and retail activities downtown (several business districts saw 30–60% increases in visitors between the pre- and post-opening of LRT lines); reduced car ownership rates per household (households within 1,000 feet of rail stations generally owned 5- 15% fewer vehicles than regional average); and led to more compact land-use patterns. Calgary has created transit-oriented neighbourhoods and station neighbourhood plans, which have allowed increased densities to occur along its new light rail lines. Docklands Light Rail Calgary, Alberta uses a number of general-purpose light rail techniques to reduce costs, including minimising both below-ground and above-ground tracks, sharing transit malls with buses, leasing rights-of-way from freight railways, and combining the building of the LRT with freeway widening.

    Calgarys LRT ridership is far higher than any comparable US light rail system, with 300,000 passengers a weekday, and Calgarys capital efficiency is therefore much higher, too. Major barriers to LRT projects include the transits limited funding, poor land-use patterns (common destinations are too spread out to serve economically with rail), and policies favoring car trips (such as generous parking requirements and subsidies). Light rail transit, like other mass transit systems, cannot operate without subsidies derived from local sales taxes and state and federal grants.

    Carpools, fixed bus routes, light rail, heavy rail, aerial tramway, cable car, trolleybus systems, and automated guided transit (AGT) are some of the current mass transit systems (Fig. Many rail systems are generally supported by user-friendly information (many urban maps display transit routes and stations) and other Transit Encouraging Strategies in order to boost ridership. However, since that time, a number of cities throughout North America have built transit systems and called them light rail, beginning in Edmonton in 1978, with another 20 cities since.

    Some transit that uses diesel engines is designated as light rail, such as O-Trains Trillium Line in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, New Jerseys River Line, and the Californians Sprinter, all of which utilize diesel multi-unit (DMU) cars. In some cases, streetcars utilize formerly abandoned or lightly used heavy rail lines, either alongside, or in lieu of, the mainline tracks that are still used. At the lower end of the passenger train spectrum are streetcars and streetcars, while at the higher end are high-capacity train systems such as New Yorks subways or DCs subways.

    In terms of operating costs, each streetcar car requires a single driver, while light rail trains can have three or four cars with far greater capacity on one train, controlled by one driver, or without drivers at all in fully automated systems, increasing labor costs for BRT systems relative to LRT systems. Proponents of light rail say rail transit improves community wellbeing by creating jobs, increasing economic development and property values, and reducing pollution and traffic congestion – all while providing drivers an inexpensive alternative to the car. The fact that people prefer paying higher prices for gas, gas taxes, car registration fees, repairs and maintenance costs, and car ownership prices instead of riding rail transit all reveals the value people attach to their cars.

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