Rail transit, including streetcar, light rail, rapid transit, and regional rail, is a family of transportation modes with a broad range of service, operational, and cost characteristics. Consequently, these modes may be used efficiently for various conditions. As a result of numerous technological and operational innovations of rail systems during the last two decades, rail transit can be highly automated, reliable, and comfortable and can operate with minimal environmental intrusion. Although several U.S. systems (e.g., Lindenwold Line and Bay Area Rapid Transit) have some advanced features, general knowledge and understanding of rail systems in this country lag behind those of some western European countries and Japan. Based on a comparison of the population characteristics of selected European and U.S. cities, this paper shows that, among cities with similar population size and density, European cities generally have a much greater application of rail transit. Despite extensive reserch into new technologies, no new mode has emerged with performance and cost characteristics superior or comparable to rail technology. Thus, to achieve more efficient and economical transit systems, information about rail modes must be increased and these modes must be included among the alternatives considered in transit planning.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 1-18
  • Monograph Title: Rail transit development
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00130414
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309024587
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: May 14 1981 12:00AM