Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Eighth Report


The Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee has agreed to the following Report:



1. The Government's enthusiasm for light rapid transit projects has fluctuated over recent years. Although the Integrated Transport White Paper[8] made clear that light rail and similar rapid transit schemes had a part to play in providing integrated transport in urban areas, it also noted that the capital cost of light rail systems was high, and that the introduction of schemes based on buses could prove more cost-effective, spreading the benefits of investment more widely.[9] Consequently, said the White Paper, light rapid transit projects would not be regarded as a priority for funding, and would only be supported if they represented good value for money and formed an integral and necessary part of a local transport plan. Indeed, the Government implied that it expected major new light rail projects to wait until revenues from workplace parking and road user charges became available.[10] Advocates of light rapid transit told us that they had been disappointed by the ambivalence expressed in the White Paper towards this form of transport.[11]

2. Since the publication of the White Paper, however, the Government's stance appears to have softened. Setting out his vision of transport provision over the next decade, the Deputy Prime Minister said that "in our towns and cities, we will see more light rail systems, giving people a modern, attractive alternative to the car".[12] Such support for light rapid transit projects has been matched by the announcement of funding, from sources including central Government, for extensions to the existing Tyne and Wear Metro, Docklands Light Railway and Manchester Metrolink,[13] and for the new Nottingham Express Transit project.[14] Nevertheless, although the Government believes that "accessible, integrated and environmentally sound light rail systems are twenty-first century public transport",[15] it has also recently repeated the view expressed in the Integrated Transport White Paper that "the capital costs of light rail schemes are high compared with bus priority measures and guided bus schemes, which may offer a more cost-effective alternative".[16]

3. Against this background, the Transport Sub-committee decided to conduct an inquiry to examine how light rapid transit projects might help to achieve the objectives of the Government's Integrated Transport White Paper. It agreed to investigate examples of light rapid transit systems recently constructed both in this country and worldwide; the problems that they have faced, both at the time of their construction and afterwards; what successes they have had, particularly in terms of removing traffic from roads and thus reducing congestion or restraining its growth; and whether it is appropriate, and if so what help can be given, to assist the growth of light rapid transit schemes in the United Kingdom.[17]

4. We received written memoranda from 47 interested organisations and individuals, and took oral evidence on three occasions. We also undertook visits to Croydon Tramlink and the Docklands Light Railway in the United Kingdom, and to the Bukit Panjang Light Rapid Transit in Singapore, the Metro Light Rail and Monorail systems in Sydney, Australia, and the 'O-Bahn' guided busway and Glenelg tramway in Adelaide, Australia. Accounts of our visits appear as annexes to this Report. We are most grateful to all those who participated in our inquiry and for the hospitality and assistance offered to us during our visits.

Light Rapid Transit

Different forms of Light Rapid Transit

5. Light rapid transit (LRT) is a term used to refer to a range of modes of public transport which lies between conventional buses and heavy metros or heavy rail systems. Although there is no universally agreed definition of an LRT scheme, the Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) Group said that it was "a public transport system which is mainly segregated from other traffic, running within or adjacent to the highway, or on separate rights of way, with an average speed of at least 20 kilometres per hour and a capacity in the range of 1,000 to 15,000 passengers per hour per direction".[18] LRT systems include:

  • Tramways and light rail—most LRT systems are rail-based.[19] In general terms, trams are considered to be those forms of light railway which run entirely 'on-street', such as the South Yorkshire Supertram. Other light rail projects, such as the Docklands Light Railway, use routes wholly segregated from road traffic. Still other systems operate routes which run in part on-street and in part on sections separated from other traffic, and include Manchester Metrolink and Croydon Tramlink in the United Kingdom, and the Metro Light Rail in Sydney, Australia.[20]

  • Busways—the most simple form of busway is a dedicated road, on which operate conventionally-powered vehicles, steered in the usual way by the driver: examples are the Runcorn Busway, which has been in use since the early 1970s, and the planned link between the suburbs of Liverpool and Parramatta west of Sydney.[21] A more advanced form of busway allows conventionally-powered buses to enter a segregated 'track' on which the vehicle is steered automatically: the most common form of guidance makes use of buses fitted with small horizontal wheels which follow a vertical rail or high kerb. Extensive use of kerb-guided buses has been made overseas, most notably in the 'O-Bahn' which we visited in Adelaide, Australia.[22] In the United Kingdom, their application has been limited to relatively short sections of busway in Ipswich and Leeds,[23] although a more substantial scheme is planned for Edinburgh.[24] Buses can also be directed using a magnetic field generated by wires buried beneath the road surface: the first application of this technology will be on one of the Millennium Transit routes in south London.[25] Whatever form of guidance is used, buses which make use of sections of guideway can usually be driven conventionally on normal roads.[26]

  • Guided light transit—a mode that attempts to combine features from light rail and guided buses. It makes use of vehicles which can both be steered manually on normal roads, powered by diesel engines, and be run along a guideway following a single central guide rail, drawing power for electric motors from an overhead cable. We were told that guided light transit projects were planned for Caen and Nancy, in France.[27]

  • Ultra light rail—these systems use lightweight vehicles and infrastructure, which reduce costs, but can only meet the needs of smaller passenger flows. A prototype vehicle, propelled by a flywheel, has been operating on a short section of track in the Harbourside area of Bristol since May 1998.[28] The Institute of Logistics and Transport told us that although such systems might have "a useful niche role" in certain circumstances, it thought that because they suffer from a lack of capacity and are unsuited to carrying passengers over long distances they cannot compete effectively with conventional forms of public transport.[29]

6. There are other forms of LRT which do not fit neatly into any of these four categories. They include monorails and automated 'people-movers', which we were told are generally best suited to specialist applications, such as transporting people at airport terminals,[30] and are unlikely to offer any significant advantages over other modes of public transport.[31] However, although the Bukit Panjang LRT in Singapore resembles a people-mover, since it operates rubber-tyred vehicles on a concrete track, it in fact delivers public transport to a large urban population: it operates over an 8 kilometre route, and was originally expected to carry up to 72,000 passengers each day.[32] Moreover, Sydney's Monorail performs a useful public transport function, particularly for leisure travellers.[33]

Conditions favouring the development of LRT

7. Our witnesses made clear that in most cases the development of existing bus, metro or rail services is usually the best way of improving public transport in an urban area. In general, conventional bus services will remain the dominant mode of public transport. However, investment in a new LRT system might be appropriate if line capacity requirements are relatively high but do not justify a metro or heavy rail service. It might also be preferred where a higher quality of service is desired than that which can be provided by conventional buses. Other reasons given in evidence to us for choosing LRT included the need to create an attractive image in order to meet a transport or a development objective, or in order to meet specific environmental criteria—for example, in a pedestrianised area.[34]

8. The type of LRT which might be introduced depends on passenger demand. Broadly speaking, conventional bus services are appropriate for carrying up to 2,000 passengers per hour in each direction. Bus-based transit schemes can cater for between 2,000 and 5,000 passengers per hour per direction, light rail for between 2,000 and around 10,000 passengers per hour, and metro systems for more than 10,000 passengers per hour.[35] LRT is also considered appropriate for short- to medium-distance journeys, with light rail best suited to distances of up to 20 kilometres.[36]

9. Population density is obviously one of the factors responsible for determining the demand for public transport along a corridor,[37] and thus for determining whether or not LRT can adequately meet passengers' needs. However, demand is also affected by the existence of workplaces, educational facilities and leisure activities. The conditions most likely to generate levels of demand sufficient to justify the introduction of LRT exist where the route passes through an area where land use is varied between residential, work, educational and leisure activities, and where facilities are located close to transit stops. London Transport told us that the higher capacity of LRT could only be justified where the route serves a town or city centre with a high density of attractions, or where extra demand is generated by interchanges with other public transport services including heavy rail and bus feeder services, or where demand can be boosted by allowing car users to feed into the system, for example through a park-and-ride site.[38]

Funding and implementation of LRT schemes

10. Responsibility for deciding what role LRT should have in an area normally lies with local authorities and, in the capital, with London Transport. However, the high cost of LRT schemes and the fact that in general they cannot be built and operated to make a commercial return means that central Government is usually required to provide some degree of funding. The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions makes funds available through grants[39] or from funding provided to support the local authority Private Finance Initiative. Applications are evaluated[40] to ensure that they offer good value for money, bring other benefits which cannot be recovered through fares, such as reduced traffic congestion or improved air quality, and complement the Government's wider transport objectives.[41]

11. It its evidence to us the Government once again echoed the warning given in the White Paper that the comparatively high price of LRT projects and pressures on the local transport capital budget would encourage it to give priority to funding more modest improvements to public transport which spread the benefits of investment widely. We were told that money would only be allocated to LRT schemes if they represented good value and were an integral and necessary element of a local transport plan strategy: instead local authorities were encouraged to look at how revenue from workplace parking and road user charges could be used to pay for any plans for LRT.[42]

12. The means by which local authorities obtain the powers necessary to permit the construction of LRT projects has altered dramatically in recent years. Before 1992 the promoters of light and heavy rail schemes were obliged to bring forward a Private Bill in Parliament to achieve their objectives.[43] The enactment of the Transport and Works Act 1992 introduced what was intended to be a more streamlined process, under which the necessary powers could be obtained by Order if a number of procedural stages were completed successfully, including possibly a local public inquiry into the application.[44] The Act also permitted bus-based systems requiring non-highway land, and which could not be built under existing highway powers, to be subject to the same procedure.[45]

The benefits of investment in Light Rapid Transit

Modal shift

13. The principal benefit claimed for LRT is that it offers an attractive alternative to the car, and thus can help to limit traffic congestion and reduce environmental pollution, particularly when it is introduced in conjunction with additional traffic restraint measures. There were many examples of light rail's ability to achieve modal shift. Almost one-fifth of the passengers using the first phase of Manchester Metrolink, for example, had previously made their journey by car,[46] and Metrolink was believed to have removed 2.5 million car journeys from the roads each year. Traffic volumes on the main radial routes into Manchester running parallel to the light railway fell by between two and eight per cent. While such changes are small in absolute terms, they have had a significant impact on congestion on the roads affected.[47] Although there was less evidence, guided buses have also been successful in attracting motorists. In Leeds, patronage on routes using the sections of guided busway along the Scott Hall Road corridor grew by 65 per cent over four years. Surveys indicated that up to half of the growth in usage was a consequence of people transferring from cars.[48]

14. In most cases, however, a much larger proportion of light rail passengers have previously made their journeys by another form of public transport than have transferred from their cars. In the case of the South Yorkshire Supertram, we were told, 57 per cent of passengers had previously used buses. Another 7.6 per cent of passengers had made their journeys on foot or by bicycle and almost 10 per cent were using light rail to make new trips.[49] However, although the PTE Group acknowledged that there is a significant degree of passenger abstraction from bus to light rail, it argued that as light rail is generally more reliable and punctual than a bus service means that passengers are more likely to continue to use public transport once an LRT project has been implemented rather than turn to the car.[50] London Transport also argued that LRT projects should seek to benefit existing users of public transport as well as trying to attract passengers from their cars: it made clear that bus passengers in particular could benefit from reduced travel and waiting times.[51] The PTE Group told us that reductions in journey times were an important factor when deciding to proceed with the initial Metrolink system in Manchester.[52] Moreover, LRT projects can increase demand for other modes of public transport, since journeys are also likely to be made on connecting bus and heavy rail services as a consequence of the additional patronage generated by light rail.[53]

15. The experience of European cities tends to support the case for light rail. Although the reasons are not clear, between 1986 and 1996 those cities with extensive light rail networks attracted more public transport users than those that placed greater dependence on buses. It has been suggested, however, that this could be a consequence of those administrations operating light rail systems having been more likely to implement effective measures to restrain car use. The existence of light rail systems may have made it more acceptable to take a radical approach to discouraging motorists.[54]

Economic development and urban regeneration

16. As well as reducing dependence on the car, LRT schemes have been promoted because they can encourage economic development and urban regeneration. It has been estimated, for instance, that the full proposed Manchester Metrolink network will increase gross domestic product by £169 million per annum and create 5,000 jobs.[55] In London the decision to construct the Docklands Light Railway was not justified in purely transport terms, but it was built because it was thought that a rail-based mode of transport would be a more effective catalyst for regeneration: it was forecast that it would generate 9,000 more jobs than an alternative, bus-based, system. This confidence appears to have been well placed, as it was subsequently doubted whether a system using buses would have stimulated development in the way that the Docklands Light Railway has done.[56] In Manchester, the proposed extensions to the Metrolink will serve a number of very deprived areas with high levels of unemployment, providing better access to places of work such as Manchester airport.[57] However, the Government told us that it did not believe that there is clear evidence, on the whole, that light rail is a more effective catalyst to economic development than other forms of LRT, although it noted that it was generally perceived to have a greater impact than schemes involving buses.[58]

Relative merits of bus- and rail-based LRT

17. While it was agreed that investment in LRT could bring many benefits, opinions differed as to which mode offered most advantages and was most cost-effective. Light rail was favoured by most who submitted evidence as it "very nearly offers the best of both buses and trains".[59] LRT is able to move large numbers of people quickly and efficiently along the busiest corridors. Services are reliable and punctual because they are not subject to disruption from other road traffic as most systems operate over their own rights of way and are given priority at junctions. Modern systems are easily accessible for passengers with impaired mobility, and the quality of the vehicles, stops and passenger information is better than that offered by most bus services. They also benefit from relatively simple, high frequency service patterns.

18. The perceived weaknesses of fixed track modes, and light rail in particular, namely their relatively high cost and inflexibility compared to buses, can in fact prove to be advantages: the former ensures that the project has a high profile in its early stages and commitment from policy-makers, while the latter gives a sense of permanence. Thus potential passengers can confidently incorporate the new mode into their future journey plans. Conversely, cheapness and flexibility, traditionally thought of as the main strengths of buses, may in fact prove to be disadvantages. It has been argued that those characteristics mean that although service improvements can be made at low cost, the fact that they can be introduced incrementally, and taken away very quickly, undermine confidence in them, and so prevent them making a significant impact.[60] The perceived advantages of light rail in particular make it popular with car users[61] and, as a result, it has a proven ability to achieve modal shift.

19. Some of the disadvantages of the bus can be overcome through the adoption of features usually associated with light rail, such as improved vehicles and stops. Such developments will help to reduce the current 'quality gap' between the two modes, improving perceptions of buses. However, more substantial problems remain, such as the fact that on-street trams tend to be given a greater degree of on-street priority, improving their reliability and average speed by comparison to buses. Thus the relative attractiveness of buses and light rail is determined both by real and perceived factors: London Transport told us that it believed that there is little firm evidence that buses could have a similar impact on car use as rail-based public transport, but agreed that further research will be required to establish whether this is a consequence of real differences in performance between the modes or more to do with their images.[62]

20. FirstGroup accepted the general view that light rail is the most appropriate mode for moving large volumes of passengers between a small number of origins and destinations, but said that guided buses offer the "vast majority" of advantages of fixed track systems at a lower cost. It conceded that guided buses are less attractive to motorists who perceived them as less of a 'step change' from conventional buses than light rail, but argued that this could be largely overcome through the use of state-of-the-art buses, with interiors of a standard that match those of light rail vehicles. More important is the greater flexibility of a guided bus system, since once outside the guided section the bus can travel in any direction required, reducing the need to change between vehicles or modes. As a result passengers benefit from reduced end-to-end journey times.[63]

21. The guided bus system has a further advantage over light rail. As well as being used over relatively long distances, such as the 'O-Bahn' in Adelaide, Australia, significant benefits can be gained from modest expenditure on short sections of guideway,[64] which can be built to enable buses to by-pass traffic congestion.[65] By contrast the infrastructure for a light rail route is required along the full length of the corridor. In Leeds the introduction of the guideway has reduced peak journey times to their off-peak levels and has made bus services more reliable, making the bus competitive with the car. At the suburban end of the corridor, services fan out to serve estates which would be too small to justify light rail extensions.[66] FirstGroup doubted whether a light rail system would have been capable of increasing public transport patronage along the corridor by much more than its guided bus services.[67]

22. Despite their apparent benefits, guided busways have been introduced in relatively few places, so opportunities for drawing comparisons with light rail are limited. In certain circumstances, however, guided bus systems have been chosen in preference to light rail. The transport authorities in Adelaide, Australia, have since 1986 developed an extensive network of services which make use of the 'O-Bahn', a 12 kilometre-long track running from the edge of the city centre to the north eastern suburbs. After joining the guideway at the edge of the city centre, buses run at high speed calling at a few intermediate stops before leaving the guideway and spreading out into the suburbs. We were told that guided bus services are particularly suited to Adelaide, which is surrounded by sprawling suburbs of low population density which could not be served economically by light rail services. The 'O-Bahn' is thought to have been successful in attracting former motorists, despite the city's high level of car dependence.[68]

23. Greater cost effectiveness is often cited as the main advantage of bus-based LRT over its rail-based counterparts. While the cost of building a guideway varies considerably depending on the type of construction, if it is installed along an existing bus corridor it might be as low as £1 million per lane kilometre, excluding the cost of other infrastructure such as vehicles, depots and so on. By contrast, the capital cost of a new light rail line is between £3 million and £10 million per kilometre, although this range includes the cost of associated infrastructure, vehicles and diverting utilities.[69] However, the capital cost of an entirely new guided bus system with segregated track, new stations and new vehicles might be comparable with that of light rail, although in Adelaide, Australia, we were told that the 'O-Bahn' had cost only two-thirds of the estimated cost of a light rail line over the same route.[70] Moreover, the operating costs of a light rail system over its thirty-year life are much lower than those of a bus-based alternative.[71]

24. The Confederation of Passenger Transport believed that it was important to note that light rail was considerably cheaper than new metro or heavy rail construction, and as such should be regarded as "a cheap railway rather than an expensive bus".[72] The capital cost of light rail was also thought to compare favourably with that of building an urban road of comparable capacity.[73] In addition, the Light Rail Transit Association warned that bus-based systems should not be seen as a cheap alternative to light rail, since the Government might realise at a later date that only small numbers of car users have switched to this form of public transport.[74] This view was echoed by the PTE Group, which said that it had found that light rail was more cost effective than superficially cheaper alternatives.[75] The benefit-to-cost ratio for the original Manchester Metrolink system, for example, was substantially higher for light rail than any of the other options considered.[76] Nevertheless, as we have said, the Government requires promoters to justify the choice of light rail, rather than lower cost alternatives, when submitting applications for funding.

25. The Minister felt that where light rail was clearly the best way of meeting local transport demands it was right to adopt that option. The decision to do so would, however, be based on "as objective a set of criteria as possible",[77] in view of the high cost of light rail projects. Although the two schemes were not directly comparable, the Minister observed that "an awful lot of buses" could be bought for the difference between the £24 million cost of the proposed 24-kilometre Crawley Fastway scheme, which is based on buses, and the 21-kilometre Midland Metro, which is a light rail project, at £145 million. It was essential, therefore, that light rail proposals were examined very carefully.[78]

26. The Government did believe, however, that light rail had an important role to play in providing integrated transport in certain areas, and that this mode of transport would be "an important component" of the forthcoming ten-year transport strategy. Despite their high cost, the Government has supported light rail schemes where they represent good value for money and are an essential part of a local strategy. As stated earlier, the Government believes that bus priority measures can also bring significant benefits at much lower cost. It told us that it is obviously important to adopt the most appropriate form of transport for local circumstances, and advocated a "horses for courses" approach.[79]

8   A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone, Cm 3950, 1998. Back

9   Ibid, para 3.37. Back

10   Ibid, paras 3.37 and 3.38. Back

11   For example Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority and Executive (RT 36).  Back

12   Prescott sets out ten-year plan for investment, DETR Press Notice, 13 December 1999. Back

13   See Prescott sets out ten-year plan for investment, DETR Press Notice, 13 December 1999, and £280 million budget bonus for transport: public transport and pensioners gain, DETR Press Notice, 23 March 2000. Back

14   See Prescott - Trams not jams, DETR Press Notice, 6 April 2000. Back

15   Prescott - Trams not jams, DETR Press Notice, 6 April 2000. Back

16   HC Deb, 7 March 2000, col 594wBack

17   See Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee Press Notice No.47, Session 1998-99, which can be viewed at Back

18   RT 34, para 3.1. London Transport attributed the following additional characteristics to LRT systems: greater flexibility than conventional railways in terms of negotiating tight corners and steep gradients and the ability to use lighter vehicles; vehicles of modern design with high levels of comfort and ambience; high capacity vehicles which are fully accessible for people with impaired mobility and stops with level boarding; environmentally friendly diesel, gas or electrically powered vehicles; well designed stops which are equipped with shelters, 'real time' information, closed circuit television, etc; and construction timescales which are shorter and costs significantly lower, than conventional metro or heavy rail systems (RT 27, para 2.1).  Back

19   According to the Light Rail Transit Association there are currently 75 light rail systems and 350 tramways in the world. Approximately 60 light rail/tramway schemes have opened within the last 20 years (RT 30). Back

20   See the memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions for details of the recent and the more advanced proposals for light rail projects in the United Kingdom (RT 31). Back

21   See Annex B, para 30. Back

22   Also in Essen and Mannheim in Germany. Back

23   In addition, guided busways are also being proposed for Edinburgh, Northampton, Manchester, Bradford, Chester and Crawley, as well as along another corridor in Leeds. See also RT 3, appendix B.  Back

24   The City of Edinburgh Rapid Transit (CERT) project (see City of Edinburgh Rapid Transit Environmental Statement: Non-Technical Summary, Lothian Regional Council, 1995). Back

25   For more details, see Although the Millennium Transit services started in January 2000, the electronic guidance system is not expected to become operational until later in the year.  Back

26   RT 34, paras 3.7-3.11. Back

27   RT 34, para 3.13. Back

28   RT 6. Back

29   RT 17A. Back

30   Such as the transit between the North and South Terminals at London Gatwick airport. Back

31   RT 34, para 3.14. During our inquiry an 11 kilometre monorail scheme was under consideration in Portsmouth (Financial Times, 13 December 1999).  Back

32   See Annex B, para 9. Back

33   See Annex B, para 27. Back

34   RT 27, para 3.3. Light rail is thought to be particularly attractive in this respect. Being electrically powered, light rail vehicles do not pollute the air in the immediately area where they are operating and are quieter than diesel-powered buses. Much progress has also been made, however, with reducing emissions from buses (RT 17). Back

35   RT 27A. Views on the capacity of different modes varied. It had been estimated, for example, that Adelaide's guided busway could provide the capacity for up to 18,000 passenger per hour per direction (Appendix B, para 47). Back

36   Docklands Light Railway (Q 220). Back

37   Densities of at least 120 persons per acre were thought to be needed for public transport to be viable (RT 27A). Back

38   RT 27A. London Transport thought that LRT had a relatively modest, but important role in the capital, occupying a relatively small niche between the very high capacity Underground and national rail networks and lower capacity bus services (Q 193). Back

39   Under section 56 of the Transport Act 1968. Back

40  RT 31A, annex 1 shows the typical format of a full cost benefit appraisal. Back

41   RT 31, paras 3 and 4. While the capital costs of early light rail schemes, such as South Yorkshire Supertram, were almost entirely met by central government grant and credit approvals, later projects have attracted larger contributions from the private sector. Of the £200 million cost of Croydon Tramlink, the first light rail scheme to be taken forward under the PFI, £125 million was paid by central government, with the remainder coming from a private sector consortium (RT 31, para 12). Back

42   RT 31, paras 17 and 18. Back

43   For example, the Croydon Tramlink Bill, later the Croydon Tramlink Act 1994. Back

44   RT 27, para 5.14. LRT schemes generally required the authority of an Act of Parliament until 1992. In response to concerns about the increased amount of Parliamentary time that was being taken up by contentious railway Private Bills, a Joint Committee was established in 1987 to examine Private Bill procedure. It decided that private bills were inappropriate for authorising proposals mainly concerned with works and the compulsory purchase of land and rights. It proposed a new procedure based on a system of public local inquiries, with Ministers being able to make an Order which would broadly have the same effect as an Act of Parliament. The enactment of the Transport and Works Act 1992 changed the legislative processes accordingly (RT 27, paras 5.10-5.15).  Back

45   RT 19. Back

46   RT 34A. According to a recent survey, 22.3 per cent of South Yorkshire Supertram's users were former car drivers or passengers (RT 22, appendix 3). This figure compared favourably with a study of 34 light rail systems for the International Union of Public Transport in 1998 which found that on average 11 per cent of passengers had previously travelled by car. The highest figure was recorded in San Diego, where 50 per cent of the users of a new system had transferred from cars (RT 34, para 4.6). Back

47   RT 36, para 31. Back

48   RT 35. Almost 20 per cent of passengers using the Adelaide guided busway had previously made their journeys by car (The Adelaide O-Bahn: How Good in Practice?, 1992). By contrast, the PTE Group stated that while patronage had increased by 20-30 per cent on bus "showcase" routes in the West Midlands, only one or two per cent of this increase was attributable to passengers who had transferred from cars (Q 121).  Back

49   RT 22, appendix 3. About 30 per cent of the users of the first phase of the Manchester Metrolink had transferred from buses (RT 34A) as had 55 per cent of Midland Metro's passengers (Q 125). Back

50   Q 125. According to the DETR, any abstraction of passengers from existing bus services would be taken into account during a project's appraisal stage and it would have to be demonstrated that the proposal would be beneficial overall (Q 361).  Back

51   London Transport cited the example of Tramlink which would reduce journey times for people who travelled by bus between New Addington and central Croydon by around 30 minutes each way (Q 248). Back

52   Q 117. Back

53   Q 128. According to Transdev, the introduction of light rail systems in France had increased patronage across a city's entire public transport network by up to 50 per cent over five years (Q 278). Back

54   Financial, Operational and Demand Comparison of Light Rail, Guided Bus, Busways and Bus Lanes, Hass-Klau, C. et al, 2000, executive summary. Back

55   RT 36, para 35. Back

56   QQ 197-206. Back

57   Q 135. Back

58   QQ 406-08. The DETR was not aware of any studies of the effectiveness of bus-based systems in this regard (RT31A). Back

59   RT 3, para 6.1. Back

60   Financial,Operational and Demand Comparison of Light Rail, Guided Bus, Busways and Bus Lanes, executive summary. The authors conclude that "it requires much bolder political will to make a success of (cheap) bus priority networks than (expensive) light rail systems". Back

61   RT 31A. Research has indicated that light rail has a strong potential following among car users, even in cities which had no recent experience of the mode (Financial, Operational and Demand Comparison of Light Rail, Guided Bus, Busways and Bus Lanes, executive summary). Back

62   RT 27, para 5.3. Back

63   RT 35. Back

64   Ibid. See also Superbus, FirstGroup PLC, undated. Back

65   Such as already happens in Leeds. Back

66   QQ 312 and 313. Back

67   Q 276. Back

68   The Adelaide O-Bahn: How Good in Practice? The guideway was also believed to be capable of providing the capacity that is normally associated with light rail systems. Back

69   RT 19. Systems largely based on former heavy rail lines would be towards the bottom of this range, such as Manchester Metrolink at £4.7 million per kilometre. Those incorporating a high level of on-street running, such as the South Yorkshire Supertram (£8.3 million per kilometre) would be closer to the top. Back

70   See Annex B, para 44. Back

71   RT 19. Hass-Klau et al note that the infrastructure costs for light rail, busways and guided busways, given the same circumstances, were closer than was often assumed. While overall vehicle costs were much cheaper for buses, those of some of the newer types of guided bus were similar to those of a light rail vehicle. In terms of operating costs, light rail was slightly cheaper than buses, although this was dependent on high load factors being achieved (Financial, Operational and Demand Comparison of Light Rail, Guided Bus, Busways and Bus Lanes, executive summary). Back

72   IbidBack

73   RT 26. Back

74   RT 30. Back

75   Q 121. Back

76   Q 116. Back

77   Q 367. Back

78   Q 367 Back

79   Q 339. Back

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