Several French cities are now developing and building Light Rail-systems (LR)
from scratch, that
is LR has been absent for several decades. In France LR and urban public
transport in general are
very strongly connected to the city in a broad sense, to city politics and
environment matters and urban planning. This seems to make rapid
implementation of LR-projects
a lot easier, in Lyon for example the two new lines were built in fours
years. The proportion of
urban regeneration costs of the total LR infrastructure investments is about
half. Financing of LR
has hitherto been exclusively public, private financing is discussed (as in
Sweden) but there are at
present no such schemes.
The French urban transport legislation, for which there is probably no
equivalent in other
countries, demands a reduction of urban car traffic. This is a political
objective and LR-development
has become one of the means of achieving it.
Like France and Sweden, England was for the most part without light rail for
about 40 years.
Most of the urban tramway systems were abandoned in favour of the bus in the
1950's, and street
running light rail was not seen again until the early 1990's (in Manchester).
In England the new light rail projects serve urban regions and sub-regions.
them from the French schemes, which mostly tend to serve areas within the
city itself. Beyond the
city boundary, public transport tends to be less satisfactory, and may suffer
from resources being
focused on "showcase" light rail projects within the city itself. Perhaps
this reveals a difference of
urban culture and structure, in that English suburbs are usually of higher
social status and quality
than their French counterparts.
In both countries LR is seen as a way of providing more priority for public
transport, given the
perceived difficulties of enforcing priorities for buses. However, LR
development is not linked to
traffic reduction policies in English cities.
Linköping: Statens väg- och transportforskningsinstitut., VTI meddelande 926A , 2002.
English, Sweden, United Kingdom, France, Train, Public transport, Urban area, Planning, Policy, Legislation, Transport authority, Administration, Motivation