Source said that the Centre is looking at implementing LRT at smaller and medium cities and have deputed an official from the State on a study tour to Western Europe.

CHENNAI: Can Light Rail Transit (LRT), an upgraded version of trams, be introduced in medium and smaller towns in Tamil Nadu? Sources in the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said that the Centre is looking at implementing LRT at smaller and medium cities and have deputed an official from the State on a study tour to Western Europe.

It is learnt that Managing Director of Chennai Metro Rail, PK Bansal, has been nominated for the study tour organised by the Institute of Urban Transport (India) and facilitated by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Sources said the Union government is looking at LRT models in Portugal, Frankfurt and Stuttgart for replicating it in Indian cities.

The study tour, which is being funded by German Development Bank KfW, will be looking at how LRT can be an efficient mode of transport with comparatively lesser capital and operation and maintenance costs in the long run. This also comes in the wake of the State government looking at implementing mass transit system in Coimbatore. A comprehensive mobility plan had identified potential corridors and the actual technical option will be finalised through a detailed study.

Sources in Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry said Metro rail being cost-intensive, are an efficient mode of transport in larger cities with a very high level travel demand. “For smaller and medium towns, light rail transit systems can be an efficient mode of transport with comparatively lesser capital,” sources added.

Tramways or light rail transit (LRT), which is currently being used in nearly 450 cities, is a medium capacity mode of mass rapid transport which straddles between the heavy capacity Metro rail and low capacity bus services. It is a form of rail transit that utilises equipment and infrastructure that is typically less massive than that used for heavy rail modes.

According to Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Institute for Urban Transport study, most Indian cities are low-rise urban sprawls and require only medium capacity modes.

Factfile

  • LRT traces its pedigree to trams that started operating more than 100 years ago
  • The energy crisis of 1970s compelled cities to recall tram in an upgraded version – the LRT
  • As per 2013 Worldwide data, LRT has been adopted in 436 cities
  • LRT is a low-cost, low axle load, eco-friendly, electrically propelled system with no pollution and low noise and vibrations
  • Light rail transit systems can also have higher capacity systems with capacity extending up to about 40,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD)
  • They can operate in mixed traffic conditions at grade, capable of very low as well as very high (80 kmph max) speeds

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