UITP publishes European outlook of light rail and tram growth
Posted: 20 January 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
Tram and light rail systems are available in 392 cities around the world, with more than half of them (204) in Europe, according to UITP.
In 2019, the International Association for Public Transport (UITP) provided a worldwide landscape of light rail and tram (LRT) systems and the study saw annual LRT ridership reach almost 15 million passengers.
As a follow up of the 2019 study, UITP has announced the publication of ‘Light Rail and Tram: The European Outlook’ Statistics Brief, which breaks down LRT ridership and growth across Europe.
LRT has seen a steady increase since 2000, UITP reported, with 108 new cities opening their first line – 70 of which were in Europe. Germany and Central Europe made up half of all patronage – with the rest split between South Eastern Europe, France, Poland, the Benelux countries (Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg), Western Mediterranean, Nordic/Baltic and the British Isles.
Between 2015 and 2018, LRT infrastructure in Europe grew by 3.9 per cent from 8943 km to 9296 km, according to UITP. Ridership has grown from 6.9 per cent from 9,740 million to 10,422 million passengers between 2015 and 2018. Due to the strong ridership growth, the demand growth is 50 per cent higher than the supply growth.
Ridership evolution is said to vary according to regions – ranging from 17.5 per cent in the British Isles, to 1.5 per cent in Poland. The busiest LRT network in Europe is in Budapest, Hungary, with 411 million passengers. The longest LRT network in Europe is in Berlin, Germany at 193 km long.
With ongoing pressure to reduce congestion, tackle air quality in cities and reduce greenhouse gas emission contributing to climate change, LRT will continue to obtain support of decision-makers and the travelling public in Europe, because LRT is clean, silent and space-efficient, UITP stated.