Table of Contents
What is Light Rail Transit System (LRT)?
What are the Components of Light Rail Transit System?
What is the difference between LRT and MRT?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of LRT against the Buses and/ or MRT?
What are the Types of Tram Stops?
What is Pocket Track in LRT System?
Light rail Transit is electrical power-driven passenger carts with steel wheels that are propelled along the track made with steel rails. The propulsion power is drawn from an overhead distribution wire by means of a pantograph. The light rail transit and normal road vehicles share the urban streets, which means vehicular traffic, pedestrians and LRT use the same space.
Although Track systems are constructed within exclusive rights-of-way where vehicular traffic is prohibited. Although in the shared street, it is recommended that the angle between tracks and the motorbike path should not be less than 60 degrees. Otherwise, it will create a longitudinal slippery surface for bikes and in case of braking, bikes may skid and lose control.
These are low-floor or partially low-floor vehicles with one or more independently rotating wheels instead of conventional solid axles.
LRV Bumpers are the Front end of light rail vehicles and they are designed around crash energy management (CEM) principles.
LRT Platforms are provided to the board and/or alight from the Trams. It is recommended that the LRT platform shall be constructed outside the curve sections of the track to provide clear visibility to the Tram Drivers. The longitudinal Gradient of the Platform should match the Track Gradient so the gap between the Platform and Tram remains consistent throughout the length of the Tram.
LRT and MRT both are provided as a rapid transit system and carry commuters inbound and outbound between “Central Business Districts” or business parks and residential settlements. Here are some key differences between LRT and MRT:
LRT is plied in a combination of segregated zone and shared zone with vehicular traffic. Shared zones are generally provided over the at-grade junctions and or high streets area within the city centres where space is a huge constraint, so the shared area caters to LRT movements, vehicular traffic and pedestrians.
MRT are mostly plied in segregated spaces, away from vehicular traffic. MRT can also be segregated vertically by developing an elevated track.
The LRT is operated at a relatively lower speed compared to MRT. There are various reasons to have slow speed such as the frequency of tram stops, sharp bends along the tracks, multiple bends back to back due to space constraints, crossing the road junction at road level, etc. However, MRT is generally operated at higher speed and segregated or elevated tracks complement it. Also, the spacing between Stops are way higher in the case of MRT than LRT, so MRT can easily accelerate the speed up to posted limits but LRT doesn’t receive that spacing between Stops.
MRT is operated with 6 to 8 carts and carries a larger number of commuters compared to LRT. LRT is operated with 2 to 4 carts and the length of LRT carts are also smaller than MRT carts.
Following are the key advantages and disadvantages of the Light Rail Transit System against the Bus system or Mass Rapid Transit System.
LRT needs higher capital investment compared to the Bus System. So, it's very important to examine the business case and Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) before proceeding with the design of the LRT System. Although the capital investment in the case of MRT is way higher than LRT because of its long lengths, dedicated corridors, platform sizes and other factors.
The operation cost of LRT is quite competitive against the Bus System if it is compared with the per-passenger operating cost. The operating cost of the MRT system is higher than the LRT system.
LRT provides a better level of ride comfort compared to the Bus system due to even levels of steel rails, however, the Buses are plying on the road and uneven road surfaces or potholes may create an unpleasant ride for the commuters. But compared against the MRT, the ride comfort of both systems is nearly similar.
LRT or MRT systems are designed to connect nodes of high trip generation or attraction points. As a result, they serve high demand locations efficiently but when it comes to last-mile connectivity, the catchment of Bus systems is far more robust than the LRT or MRT systems. Bus systems provide a high level of dispersion for commuters and therefore provide better last-mile connectivity.
LRT and MRT both systems are constructed are dedicated corridors and do not permit vehicular traffic of pedestrians to enter that zone. Safety and protection measures are robust and protective for the worst-case scenario. As a result, the safety of LRT or MRT systems are way higher than Bus Systems. But comparing LRT against the MRT system, the safety system of MRT is higher than the LRT system because the LRT system sometimes interacts with road traffic and pedestrians at shared zone but the MRT system never interfaces with road traffic or pedestrians.
Modern Buses are generally operated by using CNG or Electric or similar energy systems and generate very low-level carbon footprints. But MRT and LRT are operated by Propulsion power from an overhead distribution wire by means of a pantograph. So, LRT and MRT are much more eco-friendlier than Bus Systems.
The same applied to noise pollution. MRT and LRT systems generate fall less friction and noise than Bus Systems.
Following are the key types of Tram Stops commonly used, in the case of Light Rail Transit Systems:
In the case of the Island Platform, the platform stays in the middle and tram tracks are laid on each side of the platform. Island Platform is suitable in an urban situation where land is a constraint and a Side Platform is not feasible to accommodate.
In the case of Side platforms, the inbound and outbound tracks stay at the centre and Platforms are provided are one side of the track for each track.
Pocket tracks or withdrawing tracks are rail track arrangements, which permit trains to park off the main track alignment. I hope this blog will help you understand the Light Rail Transit System and its associated features.
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