Refining light rapid transit typology: a UK perspective

Hodgson, Paul and Potter, Stephen (2010). Refining light rapid transit typology: a UK perspective. Transportation Planning and Technology, 33(4) pp. 367–384.



Recent developments in the light rapid transit sector have introduced transit modes that are attempting to imitate the performance of others, e.g. buses with tram-like characteristics. The boundaries between existing definitions of what is a bus, tram or train are becoming blurred. For transport studies and practice this requires a review of how we define modes. This is not just a matter of semantics, but has safety and competition regulation implications for system operators. This paper proposes a structure to produce rail- and bus-based transit mode definitions and typology that are appropriate for modern use. A decision tree is used to classify and define the transit modes as guided-bus, trolley-bus, light rail and tram-train and is provided with example systems. The paper provides a robust definitional framework that allows transit system promoters, operators and other interested parties to have a consistent basis of reference when specifying and comparing rapid transit systems.

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