Urban rail transport gaining popularity in North America

North Americans are becoming more supportive of mass mobility. Evolving demographic patterns, continued demand for a cleaner environment and a new willingness of governments to allocate funding for improvements and new projects are promising steps for the future of public transport in the region.

Of the many ongoing projects, light rail transport seems to have taken off in terms of popularity.

“Today, Los Angeles and other cities in North America are returning to light rail as a way to address growing urbanisation. LA’s increasingly pedestrian-friendly downtown is accessible by public transport and has over a half mobility projects in progress”, said Andrew Bata, UITP regional manager for the North America.

“Beyond LA, some 30 cities in the US and Canada are working on light rail projects such as preserving existing lines, extending networks or creating brand new systems. Two notable projects are the 1.8bn Canadian dollar (€1.3bn) Valley Line light rail project in Edmonton, and the 1.4bn Canadian dollar (€1bn) Evergreen Line extension in Vancouver”, said Bata.

This renewed focus on rail transport development in North America is being paired with a growing interest in key rail-specific themes like innovation and industry best practices, as well as maintenance and safety of ageing, legacy infrastructure.

To address this renewed attention to light rail and other forms of rail public transport, UITP’s recently created International Rail Forum for North America will hold a meeting from 8 to 9 December in New York. Additionally, this topic will be covered during the Global Public Transport Summit, taking place in Montréal from 15 to 17 May 2017.