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US Capitol
As Washington Meanders Toward
"Regime Change"...
Here's Our Wish List for Rational US Public Transport Policies

As the USA's major presidential campaigns head toward a final showdown on Nov. 4th, the Light Rail Now Project presents issues that many transit advocates believe any new administration should address – recommendations involving a current overhaul of urban transit-related policies primarily at the Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Railroad Administration, as well as policies relating to the funding and operations of Amtrak. The prospect of changes in administration and policy come in the midst of spreading concern over several crises, including the peaking of global supplies of petroleum ("Peak Oil"), Global Warming, and economic instability – with electrified public transport increasingly seen as an effective tool for addressing these critical problems. ... More...

USA rail transit
Federal Panel's Call for Motor Fuel Tax Hike to Fund Infrastructure Upgrade Stirs Transport Policy Debate

The National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, citing a looming crisis in America's transportation infrastructure and proposing a gradual increase in federal motor fuel taxes to help address it, has stirred up a heated national controversy involving broad transportation policy issues, ideological dogma, a dispute over the relative responsibilities of the public vs. private sectors in infrastructure development and maintenance, and apparent hanky-panky by the current Bush administration. Passenger rail transportation – both urban rail transit and intercity rail – is a key component of the Commission's vision for the future. ... More...

Charlotte LRT
Support for Electric Rail Should Be "Strong Focus" of US Federal Policy, Says Commission Report ... Oops, Snipped by Bush Administration Censors

This is the crucial section of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission report, written by renowned transit advocate Paul Weyrich, and voicing strong support for electric rail transit and light rail, that was deleted by personnel in the Bush administration's Department of Transportation. ... More...

Dallas LRT
Despite Critics and Federal Opposition, Light Rail Transit Chalks Up Major Successes in 2007

Despite the escalation of a massive misinformation campaign by transit opponents, and opposition to new rail projects from the US Bush administration, America's light rail transit chalked up a year of amazing progress throughout 2007, consistently exhibiting the highest percentage ridership increase among all transit modes. In city after city, LRT systems have continued to experience phenomenal expansion – clear evidence that LRT is both fulfilling its goals and is enthusiastically desired by local communities. Just a few of the most outstanding successes are summarized in this article ... More...

Adelaide LRT
Light Rail Continues to Grow With Tramway Extension

The latest extension of Adelaide's upgraded Glenelg interurban tramway, opened on 14 October 2007, is described in this commentary by several Australian transit advocates and industry professionals ... More...

Kansas City Light Rail:
Would Rapid Streetcar + Budget Engineering = a Viable Project?

Would a Rapid Streetcar approach, combined with prudent budget engineering, incremental system implementation, and an emphasis on local funding of a starter light rail system represent a way to untangle the Gordian knot of Kansas City's light rail conundrum? ... More...

Ready-to-Go Urban Rail Projects
as a Medium-Term Response to America's Oil Problems

What can be done – quickly – to save significant amounts of gasoline and provide a non-oil alternative for many millions of American commuters? One very viable alternative is to build much more urban rail – in particular, electrified urban rail. in this essay, researcher Alan Drake presents a list of US urban rail projects that are close to "ready-to-go" to respond to this growing crisis ... More...

Darmstadt tram
Rapid Streetcar:
Rescaling Design and Cost for More Affordable Light Rail Transit

The Rapid Streetcar concept deploys modern streetcar technology to achieve the original aim of light rail: providing predominantly surface-routed rail service at modest cost. Electric streetcars (trams), rather than being consigned solely in street configurations to relatively slow services, would be deployed in some types of alignments and operating practices currently envisioned for higher-level, interurban-type light rail transit ... More...

How Light Rail Can Benefit the Community

Rail transit is being fiercely debated in the Charlotte, North Carolina urban area as the region approaches a Nov. 6th vote over continuing financial support for its transit system. Although "numbers games" are being used to sow confusion, establishing truth often depends on numerical data. in this commentary, Lyndon Henry presents a case for transit and light rail by citing key facts with reliable sources ... More...

Stop FTA's Plan to Raid Federal Transit Funding for Roads!

New rules for New Starts and Small Starts proposed by the US Federal Transit Administration would downgrade the importance of land use and economic development, and redefine the definition of "fixed-guideway" to include transit funding for highway lanes that use tolling schemes – thus diverting rail transit money into roadway (tollway) development... More...

Future of Public Transit System Depends on November Vote

Whether to continue the Charlotte area's half-cent tax dedicated to transit is an issue facing voters in November 2007. in this commentary, Citizens for Efficient Mass Transit lays out the case why a good, attractive, cost-effective public transportation system – including light rail transit – is needed in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg area... More...

Want to Support Rail Transit?
Your Contribution Can Help Our Efforts in 2007...

if you want to make a difference in the ongoing effort to develop and expand rail transit worldwide, materially assisting the efforts of the Light Rail Now Project can go quite a long way. ... More...

Tampa streetcar
Vintage (Heritage) Trolleys:
A Valuable and Affordable Public Transit Tool in America's Urban Renaissance

Vintage (heritage) trolleys are part of the ongoing renaissance which is bringing new life to America's urban centers, providing an authentic historic trolley experience that mixes urban transportation with visitor entertainment. A much less expensive mode to build and operate than conventional rail systems, the vintage trolley is being used by some cities as a precursor to a new light rail system ... More...

Europe: As Light Rail Leads the Way,
Europe Leads the World

Europe is clearly leading the world in the improvement and expansion of its rail transit systems, now numbering many dozens, and light rail transit is clearly the focus of the preponderance of development investment – as this overview of major European light rail infrastructure projects illustrates. ... More...

Reflecting Surge in Worldwide interest in Rail Transit, Light Rail Now Website Activity Soars

One gauge of the rapidly growing worldwide interest in light rail and other forms of rail transit can be found in the growth of activity on websites such as Light Rail Now. in 2005, the Light Rail Now Project passed two major milestones – our fifth year of activity, and average website usage exceeding 22,000 unique, individual visitors in a single month... More...

BM and LP RR
Electrification 101
A 10% Reduction in America's Oil Use in Ten to Twelve Years

Researcher Alan Drake proposes a 5-step plan, including an accelerated program of electric public transport expansion and railroad electrification, aimed at reducing US oil consumption, reducing greenhouse gases, improving the US economy, reducing congestion, providing transportation alternatives, and reducing the number of 18-wheel trucks on US highways... More...

Fox Chase EMU
Electrification 101
The Cost-Effectiveness of Electric Rail ...
Examples from Real-World Experience

While railway operations using diesel multiple units or similar rail vehicles self-propelled by fuel engines can be a practical means of providing rail transit at lower initial capital cost, there is a point at which electrification becomes more cost-effective and more attractive to the public ... More...

Heading into's a Rail Transit World!

in city after city across the globe, on every continent, rail transit systems, widely regarded today as indispensable services, are now being upgraded and expanded vigorously. This quick overview of some of the highlights of rail transit developments around the world may be helpful in comprehending the significance of modern rail transit technological options ... More...

train wreck
Randal O'Toole's "Great Rail Disaster": ideological Train Wreck Disguised as "Research Study"

Randal O'Toole's "Rail Disasters" tracts have been widely disseminated by anti-rail extremists, and presented as a kind of Holy Writ or magical touchstone of purported "research" validating extravagant denunciations of rail transit. Yet, when examined in detail, O'Toole's methodology is revealed as a mélange of disastrously flawed methodology and deceptively manipulated and selected statistics ... More...

Electric loco
Electrification 101
Electrification of Transportation as a Response to Peaking of World Oil Production

in view of the imminent peaking of global oil production and its troubling implications, the potential for electrification in transportation appears to be far more immediate, well-proven, and readily available as an efficient and highly beneficial alternative to petroleum dependency than is adequately acknowledged, asserts Alan Drake in this commentary. Transportation electrification appears to offer the quickest, most permanent, and most profound impact with the best ancillary benefits for human health, land use, pollution, and Global Warming... More...

Streetcars Making a Vigorous Comeback

Light rail is booming, and part of the reason is the return of the streetcar, says Paul M. Weyrich in this commentary. He points out that it's hard to think of any other means of transportation which all but disappeared and has made such a vigorous comeback... More...

Detroit's Object Lesson: The Height of Foolishness – Sprawl Without Growth

Detroit represents an object lesson for what happens when a state and its largest metropolitan region depend on sprawl – and dependency on private motor vehicle mobility – as the engine of economic development, says Keith Schneider in this commentary ... More...

Saarbrücken LRT & bus
Quality Bus ("BRT") vs. Rail Transit – Fitting the Right Mode to the Application

What situations are optimal for Quality Bus (so-called "bus rapid transit", or "BRT") – and how do these compare with applications suitable for rail transit? At what point, and with what criteria, do rail transit options such as light rail become advantageous? This analysis by the Light Rail Now Project discusses these issues ... More...

New-Look "Bus Rapid Transit" Buses vs. Light Rail Vehicles: A Personal Evaluation

"Bus Rapid Transit" buses, with a sleek, streamlined look, and with more exotic propulsion systems, are frequently being compared favorably to light rail cars as "train-like" and "light rail on rubber tires". But how do the "new look" buses really fare in comparison? Darrell Clarke provides his own evaluation in this commentary ... More...

Houston's Drivers Are Awful!

The Houston area exceeds the national average in the number of serious crashes and traffic fatalities, and the Main Street corridor, where Metro's new light rail line now travels, had a shockingly high collision rate even before light rail. Confronting the problems of Houston's extraordinarily careless drivers and "peculiar driver culture" is essential before the situation can improve, contends Thomas B. Gray in this commentary.. More...

All Aboard for the Bush/Mineta Train to Nowhere

The "Amtrak Reform Plan" proposed by Bush administration Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta, bankrupting Amtrak and discontinuing long-distance trains, fails all tests, and must be defeated, argues Carl Fowler in this commentary... More...

Mineta Unveils Bush Plan of Attack on Amtrak

The Bush administration's Amtrak "proposal" is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to shut down rail passenger service by withdrawing federal support and forcing the system into bankruptcy, says Craig S. O'Connell in this commentary... More...

Urban Rail Debate: Rail Transit Makes Progress, Despite Attacks

For all the ranting and raving from rail opponents, few cities seem to be listening to them – and urban rail systems are being opened and expanded at a rapid pace, says Thomas B. Gray in this commentary ... More...

Winnipeg: Rail better than bus for rapid transit

With its "BRT" plans now shelved, Winnipeg should be looking at rail transit, argues Jeff Lowe in this commentary ... More...

Minneapolis's Hiawatha Light Rail: A Success Story Over 30 Years in the Making

Since trains began service June 26, the ridership numbers have steadily grown and have left the folks at Metro Transit "cautiously stunned" at the amazing success so far, writes Andy inserra in this commentary ... More...

August 2003 Electric Power Blackout: Massive Disruption of All Transportation

it wasn't only the electric transportation system that was affected by the recent (August 2003) power blackout hitting the Northeastern USA and southern Ontario – motor vehicle transportation was seriously disrupted as well. The disruption provided another example of how motorists would be worse off without good reliable public transportation, says Frank Miklos in this commentary. More...

Historic Trolleys, Memphis LRT Discussion Links Added

Historic trolleys are today playing a significant role in the light rail revival in city after city throughout North America, and Memphis is one place where a historic trolley system has clearly been playing the role of precursor to a full-fledged citywide light rail system. We're pleased to add links to the Vintage Trolley Website and the Light Rail Transit in Memphis discussion group. More...


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