An introduction to light rail in the city regions

Midland Metro in urban environment
We have bought the tram back to Britain's cities

Light rail schemes in our cities are a real success story. Trams have a sense of permanence and give a 'buzz' to the places they serve, creating a climate for regeneration, confidence and business growth. They are attractive and popular, enticing people to leave their cars at home - typically at least one in five peak hour travelers on trams in the UK formerly commuted by car. Tyne and Wear Metro for example, takes an estimated 40,000 car journeys off the roads every day. This means less congestion but also less noise and better air quality - modern trams are quiet and emit no direct pollution.

We believe that more of our urban areas could benefit from the buzz that light rail brings and that more could be done to cut down on red tape and costs to make light rail a viable option in more places. We want to work with Government and other partners to make this happen.

Related Documents

Leading Light: What Light Rail can do for City Regions

October, 2021

This report, produced by Steer for the Urban Transport Group, shows how Britain’s light rail systems have supported economic growth in the areas that they serve, promoted social inclusion and led to environmental gain, including a reduction in carbon emissions.

It argues there is a need to maintain the connectivity provided by light rail as the economies of the towns and cities that light rail serves recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It says investment in maintenance and renewal will continue and potentially enhance the benefits that light rail brings and that a stable Government policy and funding environment will help promoters come forward with light rail proposals that will bring further economic, societal and environmental benefits.

What light rail can do for cities

February, 2005

This report sets out the case for investing in light rail. It is based on a detailed review of the available evidence held by the promoters of schemes in the UK looking at the benefits that have been delivered so far and how these have been achieved.


Light Rail and the City Regions Inquiry - Final Report

February, 2010

Report setting out the findings of the All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group/pteg Light Rail and the City Regions Inquiry. The report includes a suite of recommendations for national government, local transport authorities and the light rail sector based on evidence submitted to the Inquiry.