FULL SPEED AHEAD FOR THE SUPERTRAM

This brief article is concerned with the likely future of supertrams and is based on a recent conference on light rail transport held in Philadelphia. Interest in this mode of transport has been fostered by energy and environmental factors, rapidly increasing costs of conventional rail rapid transit systems and an unexpected reaction against the difficulties of introducing advanced technology to public transport. Reference is made to the problems of BART, maglev, PRT and skybus to illustrate this point. The author points out that after 40 years of steady abandonment of trams, there is now a dramatic reversal. Extensive tramway upgradings have occurred in Germany, USSR and the Netherlands, and wholly light rail systems have been constructed at Tyneside, Utrecht, Edmonton and the Ruhr. An outline is given of this system (supertram) which employs small light vehicles designed for sharp curves and steep hills with rapid acceleration and frequent stops. Details are given of the German supertrams and of their system of payment which is designed keep manpower to a minimum. Tram systems are compared with bus systems and underground railways, and have the advantages over underground railways of being more flexible and less costly to construct, but require special priority measures to be able to compete with buses. It is said that in general light rail seems best for peak hour volumes of 6000 to 20000 and total daily volumes of at least 20000. Below that buses are better and above that the full underground is probably better. /TRRL/

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  • Corporate Authors:

    IPC Magazines

    66-69 Great Queens Street
    London WC2E 5DD,   England 
  • Publication Date: 1975-8-7

Media Info

  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: p. 324
  • Serial:
    • NEW SCIENTIST
    • Volume: 67
    • Issue Number: 961
    • Publisher: REED BUSINESS INFORMATION LTD
    • ISSN: 0262-4079

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00132243
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport and Road Research Laboratory (TRRL)
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 23 1981 12:00AM