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Lower costs would boost light rail schemes


Two items in NCE 17 February show the need to rethink light rail schemes. The first related to difficulty of implementing and enforcing bus lanes. Experience on the Continent shows tram lanes to be self enforcing, and an important factor in improving traffic flow, by lane disciplining motor vehicles. The second was the review of public funded schemes and the difficulty of getting schemes started.

At the present progress of schemes subsidised by taxpayers, it will take 100 years for Britain to enjoy the same coverage of light rail systems as Germany. Reducing the capital cost of schemes means that they could be funded commercially by the private sector. This could mean an increase from one scheme every three years, to four schemes a year.

Sadly no mention was made of the few privately promoted and funded projects, like the Northampton Transit, and the Llandudno Tramway.

Innovations from the civil engineering industry could substantially increase the number of schemes by reducing their cost. Where are the new ideas?

Lewis Lesley, professor of transport science, School of Built Environment, Liverpool John Moores University, 98 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool L3 5UZ

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