Generally, light rail is used to describe systems which are in between passenger train systems on passenger load capacity and speed. The distinction is not always very helpful, with some light rail systems having capacities that are akin to larger subways with heavy rail, and some so-called heavy rail systems having speeds comparable to those of streetcars. The term is generally used to denote train systems that are fast-moving transit-style systems, usually using electric rail cars, operating mostly on privately owned rights-of-way, separated from other traffic, but occasionally mixing in with other traffic on urban streets when needed.
Light rail, or light rail transit (LRT), is a form of urban rail mass transit which generally has lower capacity and lower speeds compared with heavy rail and subway systems, but higher capacity and higher speeds than conventional streetcar systems. For a highly efficient mode of transit, travel across town using the METRO Blue Line and Green Line, the Twin Cities Light Rail Transit (LRT) services.
The proposed METRO Blue Line extension project would bring LRT service to northwest communities in metro Minneapolis-St. Paul by 2024. The METRO Green Line Extension (also known as the Southwest Light Rail Project, or SWLRT) is a generations-long investment in the transportation system in our region, adding 14.5 miles to METROs existing Green Line, connecting Downtown Minneapolis, Downtown Saint Paul, and locations in between Downtown Minneapolis. The METRO Green Line Extension adds additional stations to Minneapolis, plus St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie.
Two stations, Stonestown and San Francisco State University, are on the southwest side of the city, and the others are located on the east side of the city, where the Muni Metro system has seen its most recent expansions, in the Embarcadero Extension and Third Street Light Rail project. Two other large completed projects include the Fulton Street Transportation Center in Manhattan (which connected the 12 subway lines to the PATH and the Ferry) and a new South Ferry Metro Station. Metro Rail – Finally, on the opposite side of New York state, in Buffalo, the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority (NFTA) operates Metro Rail, a single heavy/light rail line between Downtown Buffalo and University of Buffalos South Campus.
The Valley Metro Rail Project in Phoenix, completed in 2008, costs approximately $85 million a mile in todays dollars. Outside a handful of denser central and quasi-central areas, most of which already have light-rail lines, there is no place in America with sufficient demand for mass transit to justify rail investments. For instance, San Diego Countys Sprinter Light Rail Line is the least-performing light rail system by ridership per mile out of 23 that we studied, has the second-highest operating costs per mile, and has the highest light rail-to-bus ratio.
Most transit agencies should be much more skeptical about building new light rail lines than they are; any corridor with less than sufficient ridership to fill one bus every few minutes should not be a light rail line. It might be better just to scrap some particularly poorly performing lines operated by transit agencies that are overly expensive to operate a light rail line. Most transit agencies do not need to expand their light rail systems, and yet many of them can make better use of their existing lines. Because one light rail line could carry as many as 20,000 people an hour, as opposed to the 2,000-2,200 vehicles an hour that one highway lane would allow, light rail theoretically has significantly greater congestion-reduction potential per dollar than additional highway lanes in congested urban areas.
Based on years of planning for station areas, this was determined to be the best method for providing quality development alongside light rail transit. The operation and maintenance facility design will compliment the BelRed corridor plan, which will turn the BelRed neighborhood into a transit-oriented, dynamic community. In addition to six eastlink stations, Sound Transit is building an operations and maintenance facility in the BelRed neighborhood, where LRT cars will be stored and maintained.
These systems are currently generally called light rail, or sometimes, formerly subways, which is light rail systems running underground downtown and above ground in other locations, such as The Link. While most light rail systems are powered by electricity, there is one diesel-powered system operating in New Jersey (New Jersey Transit is River Line, which runs between Trenton and Camden). The 23.5-mile-long A Line, part of the RTD Denver system–strictly speaking, a commuter rail rather than a light rail system, since it operates larger trains at higher maximum speeds–serves an airport located 18 miles outside downtown Denver, smack dab in the middle of the middle of the undeveloped prairie.
Dozens of bus routes are scheduled to link up to trains at METRO Blue Line stations, making it easier to get to work, shopping, or anywhere else you need to go. The Muni Metro system is made up 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 stops.
According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), heavy rail (also called metrorail, subway, rapid transit, or rapid rail) is electric rail that is capable of carrying a large volume of traffic; is characterized by high speeds and/or fast acceleration; is entirely or largely grade separated; and typically has higher-level boarding. According to this research document, which recounts the birth of light rail in America, the term light rail transit was introduced in 1972 to describe the new North American systems modeled on the German system stadbahn. However, many cities throughout North America have built transit systems and called them light rail, starting with Edmonton in 1978, with another 20 cities to follow thereafter. Docklands Light Rail in 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 an LRT with an extension of freeway.