The report investigates the state of the art of low-floor light rail vehicles and assesses the applicability of their use in North America. Low-floor light rail vehicle categories have been developed to facilitate the understanding of the different types of vehicles and their applications. The report describes the growing trend toward low-floor light rail vehicles and the reasons for this growth. It provides an extensive compilation of data on low-floor light rail vehicles, information on North American light rail system characteristics, and an analytical perspective on key issues relevant to the applicability of this technology in North America. The report also develops example applications to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of using low-floor light rail vehicles, the source of risk, and the trade-offs regarding the use of low-floor versus high-floor light rail vehicles.
Revitalizing railways as a major sustainable transport mode in modern societies faces many issues and challenges. This in-depth overview places the importance of railways in the wider context of comprehensive sustainability, which encompasses sustainable development, social and economic equity and community livability. Some scholars have described the 21st century as a period of renaissance for railways and suggest this transport mode can fulfil people's desire for high mobility with low negative environmental, social, economic and financial impacts. In light of these new expectations for railways, in both passenger and freight transport worldwide, this book offers the latest research insights on the renewed interest about railway expansions and their wide-ranging environmental, socio-economic and even political implications.