Lessons Learned from Incremental Development of Light Rail - the San Diego Experience
SEAGRIFF E A, London Transport, UK
San Diego's light rail system was the first of the 'renaissance' systems in the United States, where street running modem light rail has been introduced to the city afrer a long period of absence of such modes. Rather than embarking on a grand and expensi
San Diego's light rail system was the first of the 'renaissance' systems in the United States, where street running modem light rail has been introduced to the city afrer a long period of absence of such modes. Rather than embarking on a grand and expensive plan for a new light rail system, the transit authority in San Diego has taken an incremental approach to the development of the system. It has continued to expand since July 1981 when the first 25.6 km line with 18 stations opened, with 14 vehicles on a largely single- tracked operation. Seven extensions and numerous improvements have been implemented to make up a system which now comprises 77 km of route length and 46 stations. 18 years of light rail operating experience in San Diego, together with the gradual expansion of the network, means there are numerous lessons to learn. The system is seen by many in the U.S. as a model of how fight rail can be developed in an incremental way from simple beginnings to a multi-corridor system which is integrated with the rest of the public transport network and which is developed along various right-of-way and land use types and development opportunities that exist. This paper outlines the approach taken and suggests the key lessons learned of relevance to systems which are currently being planned or developed.
Association for European Transport