This isn’t your father’s light rail
…which is why in Europe they call them trams, apart from ‘light rail’ which is associated with those clunky, boxy trains you see in the U.S. The tram in the video above debuted in November 2007 in Nice, France.
The Strasbourg, France line pioneered the sleek look in 2006 and has been an overwhelming success ever since, not to mention a favorite photo subject for tourists – now how often does that happen? Notice in the video above how its futuristic silhouette contrasts with the historic fabric around it, in effect enhancing the buildings around it. Other countries, like Dublin, Ireland, have followed with modern versions of their own.
Trams are expensive and justified at 10,000 people/hour, but for higher densities subways are the newly hot trend and ultimate urban status symbol, while for lower densities you’ll start to see the rise of BRT, which are essentially rubber-tired trams with electronically-guided lines replacing steel tracks, the same quiet ride and the freedom to go ‘off the lines’ at any time.
I’m getting tired of people calling BRT rubber tired trams. That’s was a guise by the Auto industry to prop up the road and auto builders. The Orange Line in LA is already at capacity and should have been light rail. Also, a tram is light rail. In fact, streetcars are light rail too. The terminology doesn’t relate to the design of the car but the functionality of the system. They are also not expensive, thats why people build them instead of Metros. In the United States, Streetcar lines have cost about 25 million per mile versus hundreds of millions for metros.