SRI CITY:The Centre is actively considering a proposal to introduce Light Rail Transit Systems (LRT) in Tier-II cities of India. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the pioneer company that ushered in the metro system in the country, has submitted a report to that effect to the Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu.
Naidu told reporters that DMRC has conducted the feasibility study of Light Rail Transit or Light Metro, as the demand for metro rail is growing in Tier-II cities. “I am yet to go through the report DMRC has submitted on LRT,” said Naidu, after flagging of the first roll out of Kochi Metro Rail at Alstom unit in Sri City on Saturday.
The expenditure burden of a metro is huge and most of the projects are dependent on Japan Investment Cooperation Agency (JICA) loans which comes with an interest component. The LRT, on the other hand, would cut cost by 70 per cent, said DMRC MD Mangu Singh. “It is a solution for second category of cities,” he said.
LRT differs from the Metro rail in that the train length is shorter, segregated right of way is not essential, may have road level crossings, coaches can go round sharp bends and no signalling and train control is essential.
LRT systems also have higher capacity systems with extending up to about 40,000 passengers per hour per direction. They can operate in mixed traffic conditions at grade, capable of very low as well as very high speeds. These characteristics enable them to also run on regular city streets sharing road space with other traffic as well as within dense urban areas where pedestrian traffic can be high such as city plazas and malls.
They can also run in separated reserved rights of way at grade or on elevated viaducts and (rarely) in underground tunnels. While operating at grade, the LRT will generally enjoy signal priority to help it maintain its higher speed while all other road traffic is made to wait.