Light rail gathers momentum
In the face of ongoing population growth and increased urban concentration in cities around the world, governments are reassessing transportation methods.
Prevalent in Europe, North America and Asia, light rail is gaining momentum in other parts of the world as a viable, cost-effective and essential addition to the urban transportation system of many cities.
According to David Kinniburgh, GHD's Market Leader for Transportation in Australia, "Light rail is an effective urban rapid transit mode of transport, particularly for city centres and inner suburban areas. It can fill the void between heavy rail and buses through greater accessibility, improved mobility and barrierless entry. More importantly it can carry almost three times the amount of passengers compared to buses. It is highly conducive to urban regeneration projects.
"For the past two decades, GHD has been involved in most light rail projects in Australia including Sydney, Adelaide, the Gold Coast, Newcastle and Melbourne.
"Our longest association is with the Sydney Inner West Light Rail, which we designed some 15 years ago. We have recently been appointed as lead designers along with our design partner Jacobs, on the CBD and South East Light Rail line project that aims to reduce traffic congestion and provide faster travel times for passengers. We will provide detailed design for the track on a route from Circular Quay to Moore Park including overhead facilities, civil works, road works, tunnels and bridges for the 15 km extension that is planned for construction between 2016 and 2019.
"In Newcastle, as the city begins an urban regeneration program, we have been working on an early scoping study and have recently completed the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed light rail.
"On the Gold Coast, the rapid transit system planned by GHD and known as G:Link was commissioned in July 2014 and has been hailed a success. After just six months of operation, more than 3.2 million passenger trips have been made.
"In Melbourne, we have worked extensively on the light rail system, most recently preparing the detailed design for a new light rail track in Harbour Esplanade in collaboration with Yarra Trams.
"Overall, we see opportunities for light rail increasing, particularly in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and New Zealand. To respond, we are bringing our experience from Australia and are leveraging involvement in light rail projects in the UK including the Docklands Light Rail in London, Croydon Tramlink and Manchester Metrolink."