UITP latest report Light Rail in Figures reveals that LRT (Light Rail Transit) and tramway systems carry some 13.6bn passengers per year, with the ranking of busiest networks in passenger numbers headed by Budapest (396m), Vienna (363m) and Bucharest (322m). There is a current total of 15,600km of track globally and Melbourne (245km) and St. Petersburg (240km) boast the world’s longest networks.
A significant growth in LRT and tramway in recent years has seen the creation of 78 new systems internationally since 2000, with USA and France leading the way with 23 and 20 respectively. LRT and tramway systems are in operation in 388 cities around the world, most of which are in Europe (206 cities) and Eurasia (93).
The report was issued at the UITP International Rail Conference in Munich, which brought together the global rail industry to discuss the challenges facing it and share some of the potential smart solutions for energy, safety, maintenance and more. On the occasion, UITP and the event participants issued together the ‘Munich Declaration’ highlighting the importance of rail to cities, calling on policy makers to keep a focus on urban rail and encouraging planners to review the conventional design practice to keep costs under control.
“Local rail including trams, metros and commuter railways provides safe, convenient affordable and sustainable mobility to 265 million people in some 400 cities around the world every day,” said Alain Flausch, UITP Secretary General. “As a result of its attractiveness, many urban rail systems face overcrowding. Significant investment is required to meet this growing demand: more lines, extensions, additional rolling stock and improved signalling but also to maintain and refurbish sometimes built more than a century ago”.