This paper is made by the author of this site, Antero Alku, M.Sc., as an introduction to Light Rail. The paper includes basic principals of the Light Rail idea and a sample economical study of the investment and operation cost of a Light Rail system model.
The model is built to describe a 20 kms public transport corridor between suburbs and the city centre. The capacity of the system is app. 11.500 passengers per hour to the city centre. The system includes 12 lines. The comparison is made between a bus only system, a Light Rail system with 3 connecting bus services and heavy rail system with 3 connecting bus stations, each for 4 bus lines.
The unit costs used are those that are valid in Finland in 2002. The calculation is based on 40 years investment age.
The results show, that the bus only system is the most expensive to use, having operating costs 4 times that of a Light Rail. Heavy rail is only 30% more expensive to operate than the Light Rail, but has remarkably higher investment cost.
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This page created at 25.3.2003 / AA.