Departmental Papers (ESE)


Rail transit represents a family of modes ranging from light rail to regional rapid transit systems and it can be utilized in a number of different cities and types of applications.

Many European cities of medium size employ very successfully light rail mode for gradual upgrading of transit service into partially or fully separated high speed, reliable transit systems. Analysis of these cities show that with population densities and auto ownership very similar to those in the United States cities, their transit systems offer a superior service and have much better usage than our cities.

Many modern features of light rail technology are not known in this country. Wider use of different rail systems, greatly increased transit financing, introduction of more qualified personnel into transit industry and improved transit planning and implementation procedures are recommended to close the gap in urban transportation between some more progressive European cities and their counterparts in this country.

Sponsor Acknowledgements

The Urban Mass Transportation Administration of the United States Department of Transportation sponsored this report to provide information and guidance for cities which intend to modernize their transit systems.

Document Type

Government Publication

Date of this Version


Publication Source

United States Department of Transportation Urban Mass Transportation Administration


light rail transit systems, urban rail, rail transit, public transportation



Date Posted: 08 December 2016