Benefits of urban light rail trains: a perspective from Spain
Urban Transport XVI
Environmental issues are currently at the forefront of transport policies within the urban, regional and international contexts. Different modes of transport, and the alternative means of their regulation, have a significant impact on the levels of pollution and on reserves of natural resources, as well as on the health and quality of life of individuals. In this context, light rail transit systems have thrived in cities all over the world as an alternative to fossil fuelled private and public
... ptions. In particular, in Spain, sixteen (16) projects have been implemented by Local and Regional Authorities from 1992 to 2009 with the goal of improving mobility while meeting environmental challenges. Additionally, a number of other Authorities are at the moment considering similar projects, and numerous feasibility analyses are being performed. In its first part this paper compiles information on various light rail projects mentioned above, including technical, commercial and procurement aspects, and highlights the innovative PPP schemes employed in some of them. Second, the paper addresses the main benefits of these experiences in comparison with traditional transport systems. These benefits include reduction of carbon emissions; energy savings; economic efficiencies; improvements in mobility, punctuality, quality of life and accessibility; and the redesign and integration of urban space. Final conclusions are drawn, along with a discussion of prospects for the short and medium term.