Light Rail Transit

Changchun LRT (China) © Sean Marshall

Light Rail Transit is a form of urban public rail transport. LRT uses electric rail cars operating along dedicated lane or track, separated from other traffic in city centres. LRT systems include tramways, though a major difference is that trams often operate in mixed traffic without an exclusive lane.

There are currently over 400 Light Rail systems operating worldwide of which around 300 are tram systems. Most systems are in Europe with few examples of Light Rail Transit in developing countries; the most extensive is in Manila (Philippines) which has two lines covering 28 kilometres in length.

LRT is seen as an extremely diversified mode that can be used for short urban, as well as long regional lines with various levels of speeds and capacities. However, the development of new LRT systems is being increasingly challenged by Bus Rapid Transport, which requires significantly lower capital investment cost. There is also considerable debate of the capacity of LRT systems compared with BRT systems.

Read more in the gTKP Urban Mobility Topic Information Sheet on Light Rail Transit.