The Department for Transport (DfT) has invited rail providers to table light rail scheme proposals to roll out across the country.
Transport minister Jesse Norman has launched a “call for evidence”, to increase the number of light rail and rapid transit schemes in UK towns and cities.
There are currently eight light rail and tram systems operating in the UK, including the Tyne & Wear Metro, Blackpool Tramway, Manchester Metrolink, Sheffield Supertram, Nottingham Express Transit, West Midlands Metro, Docklands Light Railway and Croydon Tramlink.
Norman hailed light rail schemes as the “future” of the UK’s urban travel.
“Today’s wide-ranging call for evidence seeks new ideas and new support for the next generation of light rail, so that we make existing systems work better, and can work with cities and towns across the UK to create new ones,” said Norman.
“This is a great time to explore the incredible potential for light rail schemes across the country.”
As well as replicating existing technologies, proposals can also be for very light rail, ultra-light rail and other automated guided transit systems.
A DfT statement confirmed that the call for evidence aims to see how light rail schemes “can play in the future of urban mobility, delivering environmentally-friendly, accessible and modern options for passengers”.
“It also aims to discover how future schemes can integrate seamlessly with new trends such as autonomous vehicles, in addition to buses, cycling and walking,” the statement added.
The government has also earmarked £1.5M to establish a Light Rail Safety Standard board to ensure safer journeys for passengers, after concluding an investigation into the Croydon tram crash in November 2016.
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