This paper identifies the social aspects of light rail transit and categorizes them according to the viewpoints of the rider, those on the wayside, the community, and the contributor of capital funds. The physical characteristics and service qualities of light rail transit accumulate to benefits that are judged to outweight the social costs. Highlighted is the light rail transit attribute of serving a greater number of persons' travel needs through extensive distance covered for a given investment, frequent stations, easy access, and short door-to-door travel time. The ability of light rail transit to condense the amount of time between ground breaking and operation of service is stressed. This is credited to simpler construction enabled by need for narrower rights-of-way, use of sharper curves and steeper gradients, and tolerance of grade crossings. The ability of light rail transit to evolve at a later date, through additional investment, into conventional rapid transit is acknowledged. The paper draws conclusions from a 1960 study in Frankfurt, Germany, that served as the springboard for the now extensive development of light rail transit networks throughout Europe. Instances of specific social aspects are cited.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This article is extracted from Light Rail Transit, Proceedings of a National Conference conducted by TRB and Sponsored by UMTA, Am Public Transit Assoc and U Penn, 23-25 June 1975. Payment in advance is requested. For handling charges add 5% for domestic and 10% for foreign orders. Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board (TRB)

    Washington, DC   
  • Authors:
    • Thompson, Gordon J
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1975

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 147-158
  • Monograph Title: Light rail transit
  • Serial:

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00129821
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Apr 21 1981 12:00AM