Trams and Bikes: Towards Good Practice in Light Rail Planning
WOOD C, TransPlan, UK
In order to move towards a sustainable transport system and reduce dependency on the car, a set of good quality options has to be in place. These have to form a framework within which people can have access to their needs and reasonable desires without re
In order to move towards a sustainable transport system and reduce dependency on the car, a set of good quality options has to be in place. These have to form a framework within which people can have access to their needs and reasonable desires without recourse to private cars.
Two of the most important elements of this framework are the pedal cycle and public transport. The pedal cycle is the most environment-friendly (and healthiest) vehicle, but a quality public transport network is also essential, and light rail is increasingly fnding a rtle in such networks. Neither on their own can hope to replace anything like the number of trips currently undertaken by car.
Light rail systems are gradually being built around Britain. At present, systems operate in Blackpool (the only first generation system to survive), Tyne and Wear, London's Docldands, Manchester and Sheffield. Systems are at advanced stages of planning in the West Midlands, Croydon, Leeds, Nottingham and South Hampshire. At one end of the light rail spectrum is the street-running tram, as exemplified by much of the new South Yorkshire Supertram system in Sheffield. At the other end is the completely segregated, metro-style system, such as the Tyne and Wear Metro, geared to longer-distance, higher-speed travel. Most light rail systems fall somewhere between the extremes.
At present, relatively little thought is given to cyclists in light rail planning and operations, save for cyclists' safety once the system is built (of which more in the section on marketing, below). South Yorkshire Supertram was originally intended to carry bicycles, but the policy was reversed at the eleventh hour, and the tracks are too close to the kerb for cyclists on many parts of the system. Bicycles are not allowed on Manchester Metrolink, which replaced trains with adequate cycle carriage capacity. In Croydon, despite reports that cycle carriage was to be allowed (London Cyclist, 1993), no requirement for design for cycle carriage was written into the tenders to build and operate Tramlink and the decision as to whether or not to carry bicycles has been left by the promoters (London Transport and the London Borough of Croydon) to the winning consortium, Tramtrack Croydon Limited.
However, as the recognition of cycling as a valid and sustainable form of transport has increased, so light rail planners have begun to see the value of accommodating the needs of cyclists in their work. As yet, no guidelines have been produced to help light rail planners and operators to co-operate with cyclists. Guidelines have been produced for the new, post-privatisation operators of the former British Rail network (Cyclists' Public Affairs Group, 1994) and, whilst elements of this are transferable to light rail, there are major differences, particularly with regard to the fact that heavy-rail trains do not run in the street and that they are larger vehicles, which can more easily accommodate large articles such as pedal cycles. This paper sets out to begin to redress this situation by examining elements of good practice.
These elements can be grouped into four categories, according to the difficulty of retrospective introduction of measures to integrate with cycling, if these have not been included at the start:
I the sharing of road space between cycles and street-running trams and space on off-road corridors
II the carriage of cycles on more strategic (longer-distance/higher-speed) systems
III cycle parking in association with light rail stops
IV marketing and publicity
Association for European Transport