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Conceptual Design

Discuss about the Public Transportation Systems and Technology.

The transport system is a great link in a country that ensure that the citizens can move from one part of the nation to another. There have been great innovations to improve the condition of the transport system with the advent of technology. A light rail is an efficient tool that provides solutions to the transit problems for commuters in the urban region. The light rail provides socially acceptable solutions that are economically feasible for the users. The light rail network for a city is a means of commuter passage that users a static guideway system founded on the standard railway technology. It is usually modified to meet the requirements of the actual site of implementation. The City planning department in Helsinki defines the light rail system as a modern efficient evolution of a tram system. The light rail runs on its own lane without disturbances and as a result, it ends up being faster compared to the traditional tram. It is a suitable technology that is well suited for the trunk lines of public transport. It gives a larger passenger capacity compared to the bus system. The light rail tram extends to about 45 meters in length (CPD, n.d.). the light rail transit aims at providing comfortable travel. The electric motor in the LRT tram is remarkably quiet and causes the travelers no noise disturbance. The wheels tend to produce slightly little noise. The greatest aim of using the LRT is that they ease traffic as there are more people travelling in the LRT trams as opposed to driving their personal vehicles. The construction of the light rail is much cheaper than the construction of a metro line. The rail network study shows the investment costs calculated for each kilometer that is constructed. The following figure shows a tram running on the LRT,

The LRT is gaining popularity globally as there has been significant investments made on the project in many countries in Europe. The LRT lines have connected many states and cities opening up areas that were remote as well as enabling commuters to move about efficiently and economically. Cities such as Stockholm, Strasbourg, Reims, Dublin, Paris, and Manchester have implemented the LRT network and are reaping benefits from the project (Laituri, 2010). The objective of the project is to ensure that more people have access to affordable transport in an ecologically conservative manner. According to the periodical for the metro, LTR and tram system in Europe, the light rail is a public transport system that is permanently guided by at least a single rail. It is operated in urban, suburban, and remote regional environments. It has some self-propelled vehicles that are operated on or off the general road and pedestrian traffic. It is a classical tram and a metro when it is fully segregated. The whole of Europe has about 176 public transport systems which traverse about 14,767 kilometers in total. The separation from general road traffic is obtained by the reservation of lanes that are clearly marked using flat curbstones (ERRAC Roadmaps, 2013).

Need Definition and Identification

The system engineering process begins when a need or problem is identified where a gap is felt. The major step is to identify the problem, next one can then define the need for specific system capability which is responsive. A need analysis is performed when the problem is identified. Advanced system planning and architecting follows the need analysis documentation which is done after a need for a new or improved system is identified. The project management principles seek to control the groundwork of systems engineering management plan (SEMP) and the system condition feeds into the program implementation.

The system design for the new system requires the design team to recognize the various system level design tactics or alternatives that are pursued in retort to the need. A feasibility analysis is conducted to evaluate the viable approaches to find the most desirable system implementation. Some of the factors to consider for a successful system output are such as a sustainable support, the life cycle economic criteria, the performance based on a scorecard, as well as the effectiveness and maintenance. The market for metro is characterized by the huge development potential in infrastructure and its efficient roll out (Pallman, n.d.). The project team members are selected to suit the project needs and ensure that all the sectors are taken care of. The team members involved in determining the financial or economic feasibility of the project discern that the project is better to implement than constructing a metro. The light rail transit network has more economic benefits than the metro and it has economies of scale.

The transport system has always had issues with traffic control. The traffic management and the railway construction institutions work hand in hand to eliminate the issue of traffic. More so, travelling from remote areas to the urban areas formerly required on to book a flight. Flights tend to be too expensive and the procedure involved can be quite tedious.

The main lines have an attribute of being permanent and inadaptable to change. There is a great need to cater for the reputable travel patterns. Such a move ensures that the implementation of the LRT is seamless and well-presented into the existing public transport system. Travel demands continuously increase and keep on existing in the established mainline corridors and service will have to be provided. The light rails solve the issues of excessive traffic on the main lines (Pushkarev, 2007). The transport system has for a long time required a system that runs on the mainland unlike the metro that passes underground and is very expensive to construct. The construction of the LRT ensures that environmental concerns are taken care of as the public transport is eased.

  • Need for relief on the traffic on the mainland
  • Need for transport that interlinks regions especially the cities, the urban centers, and the rural regional areas.

Project AIMS and Objectives

  • To expand the transportation options throughout and beyond a city using the light rail transit services and the alteration of the current bus routes.
  • To attract more business opportunities in the remote areas that are linked to the urban centers as well as provide a more effective means of transport for the adjacent businesses.
  • The project aims at opening up regions that are close to the light rails to incorporate more businesses. The businesses being run within the vicinity of the light rail tracks are cautioned of the need to have space for the new means of transport as a safety measure.

The City Planning Development team handles the project of the construction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) network for the urban city of region. The project planners and designers work hand in hand with the relevant project stakeholders. They create a multi-stage process that seeks to review, develop, assess, and identify the preferred design (Vuchic, V, R, n.d.). Safety and security are to be precedence contemplations in the planning and execution of all work on a light rail system. Some of the conceptual design decisions are made based on the following factors,

  • Safety and security
  • Service delivery
  • Schedule and time constraint

There has been a great improvement in the metal industry. The material needed to construct the foundation of the light rails must be environmentally friendly and it must be strong enough to support the trams that run on it. There is need to consider the safety of the other forms of transport. Some of the light rails pass through the pedestrian crossing and the common roads. The constructors must come up with distinctive road signs and electric warning signs to inform the road users of oncoming trams. This is crucial in the protection of the pedestrians and the drivers on roads as well as the passengers in the tram. The tram has a very large capacity hence a minor fault could injure a lot of human lives. The introduction of the LRT aims at increasing the productivity both of the land and personnel. There is a great necessity for increased yield in the main lines. Some of the key factors to take keen interest in while doing the construction are:

  • Extent of the line or the feeder sections
  • The location of the station and the spacing between the stations
  • The full or partial segregation of the guideway
  • The possibility of the intrusion and accessibility
  • Change of mode split
  • The choice of corridor
  • Environmental conservation and the amounts of energy saving

Segregation is a key factor in the construction of the light rail transit. When it is fully segregated from the mainland, it reflects the metro system of transport (Schneider, J. B.,, n.d.). When it is partially segregated, it follows that the rails pass on the mainland and they cross through the common roads and pedestrian crossing area. The following are some of the degree of the guideway segregation,

  • Completely segregated, no intersection with other modes, all junctions grade separated
  • Segregated except for barrier protected grade crossing and at the level junctions.
  • Sharing the right of way with other pedestrians in the transit malls or with other modes of transport such as the buses. It is, therefore, possible for emergency vehicles and taxis to pass through or gain the right of way.
  • The system could be designed such that they share the right of way with other road traffic.

The lightweight passenger rail cars operate on a two-rail track that is similar to the rail road tracks for the common railway transport system. They are driven electronically with power drawn from an overhead electric line (Wilson,Ihrig & Assoc. LTD, n.d.). They usually run on the street with a constant right of way as they do not stop to give way to other forms of traffic. On the contrary, pedestrians and other automobiles, give way to the trams. Owing to the fact that the light rail tracks pass within the mainland, it is advisable to have a change of the bus routes. The new routes are chosen based upon the amount of the traffic in a given area. The ridership potential in a given area and the areas that were formerly serviced by railroad lines. The project is set to stimulate urban redevelopment (Newman, 2008). It provides transportation for the low-income travelers. The system serves as a catalyst towards a more comprehensive transit network. The network promotes a transit oriented development such that the centralized business and residential zones encourage transit use while lessening dependence on autos (CornWell, E. L, 2009). Some of the light rails have been in operation and the ridership has increased and exceeded the estimated projection. There is nearly 40% of the passenger population new to the public transit system (Light Rail Now NewsLog, 2010). The conservative estimate is closer to the real opportunity cost of the capital. It reflects the actual market rate of the investment when the discount rate and benefit-cost ratio are analyzed (Minnesota Department of Transportation, 2012).


In a nutshell, there is more benefit from implementing the light rail transit as a newer mode of transport in the transport system. There is a system operational as seen in most nations. Introducing a new system requires a lot of planning and consultation to ensure that the new system does not conflict with the current system. The light rail connects and opens up a region as it traverses longer distances as compared to the bus system. The LRT is much faster and has a larger capacity. This is a great investment especially for a country that wishes to ease traffic on the main road system. The commuters are able to live in the remote regions and still travel to the urban areas for work purposes. The project of the LRT in Edmonton was able to provide a safe, environmentally conducive, and large capacity LRT system that runs through the cities and other regions.


Andrle, S. e. a., n.d. Security Considerations in the Design and Operation of Rapid Transit Stations. Transportation Research Record 760, Volume 760, pp. 23-89.

CornWell, E. L, 2009. Modern Permanent Way. Modern Railways 3 Part Article, London, pp. 32-45.

CPD, H., n.d. City of Helsinki City Planning Department: Light rail. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 21 August 2017].

ERRAC Roadmaps, 2013. The European Rail Research advisory Council: The FP7 project of ERRAC. [Online]
Available at:

Laituri, 2010. City of Helsinki: Light rail Network. City Planning Department, 17 may, pp. 1-20.

Light Rail Now NewsLog, 2010. Minneapolis:Nearly 40% of light rail riders are new to transit. [Online]  Available at:

Minnesota Department of Transportation, 2012. Final Hiawartha Corridor LRT Benefit-Cost Analysis. [Online].

Newman, O., 2008. Defensible space: Crime Prevention through urban design. 2 ed. New York: McMillan.

Pallman, W., n.d. Modern Light Rail, Proceedings of 44th Annual Congress. U.I.T.P., Volume Brussels.

Pushkarev, B. &. Z., 2007. Urban Rail in America ? An Exploration of Criteria for Fixed?Guideway Transit, U.S. Department of Transportation report. Washington D.C: UMTA?NY?06?0061?80?1.

Schneider, J. B.,, n.d. Transit and teh Polycentic City. U.S Department of Transportation publication, Volume DOT-1-81-33, pp. 81-133.

Vuchic, V, R, n.d. URban public transportation systems and technology. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Wilson,Ihrig & Assoc. LTD, n.d. T.T.C Test No. 12 Heavy Rail RD 115/1 YSNE- N & V study. s.l.:s.n.

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