The U.S. Department of Transportation's policy to support efforts to develop a type of rail system which is less costly to build, operate and maintain than conventional rail transit (CRT) systems is noted, the rather arbitrary distinctions between the latter and light rail transit (LRT) systems are discussed, the principal characteristics of selected LRT systems are tabulated, and the key features common to all such systems are listed. The LRT systems may range from the simple streetcar line to the high capacity CRT and the heavy main-line commuter rail service. LRT's flexibility permits its operation anywhere that tracks and overhead wire can be constructed. This flexibility is derived from the overhead power collection and the ability to handle passengers at either high or low platforms. Significant cost savings and operating flexibility result from LRT's ability to run on "open" surface lines as well as in subways. Attention is focussed on certain noteworthy features of the Cleveland Shaker Heights LRT system, the MBTA Blue Line CRT system, and the San Francisco Muni Metro now under construction. It is suggested that any metropolitan area planning a new transit system or an unconstrained addition to an old system should consider LRT as an alternative.

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: p. 7-9
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00144032
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Dec 22 1981 12:00AM