Light Rail Network Design

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Light Rail Network Design

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Light Rail Network Design

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Discuss about the Light Rail Network Design.
The report is based on designing of a light rail network for Sydney, Australia. The light rail network is from CBD to South East Light Rail. The light rail network gives a unique transport services to people of Sydney. This network will play a significant role in the future transport of Sydney. It has the capability to give reliable as well as sustainable mode of public transport to people of Australia by reducing the city’s reliance on the buses (Ney and Gray 2014). The benefits of light rail are that it provides a solution to the traffic congestion as well as pollution. With the introduction of the light rail network will make the travel in as well as out of downtown much more efficient.
The purpose of this report is to provide conceptual and preliminary system design of light rail network. It gives the detailed design and development of the network in Sydney, Australia. This design achieves implementation of the minimal operable system is more concern than consideration of the future maximal operable system. Details design and development is done to identify the issues in the stage of preliminary design and resolves those issues and problems in the conceptual design of the network. Recommendations are given to suggest possible techniques so that there must be some development in the light rail network.
Conceptual System Design
The conceptual system design is analyzed as the expansion of the logical design of the light rail system. It includes the technologies that are applicable for achieving the system’s functional requirements.
Light Rail System Design
Station/platform design: The stations of the light rail have platforms for fast as well as safer passenger boarding. The platforms are designed for level boarding must be 14 inches above the top of rail (Currie and Delbosc 2013). The stations should have equipments and facilities such as shelter, benches, surveillance cameras and information kiosk.
Traction electric power infrastructure:  Electric power is an advantage of the light rail operations, producing benefits in performance and environmental effects (Vermote et al. 2014). In order to provide power to the light rail, it requires a system infrastructure in the form of traction electrification system, which supplies direct current power to the trains.
Signalization system: It is required for efficient as well as safer train operation. It gives understanding of how the system functions in the railway setting. The key elements of the signalization are radio, electric signals and induction by which the train used to communicate with the fixed system (Jin, Teo and Odoni 2015). The light rail system includes of automatic block signals and detection system for the crossing gates at the road crossings. The features of the signalization are cab signals, automatic control of speed and train operation, automatic train stop.
Communication System: The secured communication system consists of hard wired and wireless network. The functions of the communication system are radio communication that facilitates communication among the central control, workers of maintenance, security personnel and supervisors (Spiryagin et al. 2014). The public address system helps to keep the passengers informed of special situations. CCTV surveillance system observes the stations and other areas to ensure the security of the passengers and rail network. Automated fare collection system handle the data flow of the transactions (Mulley et al. 2015). The most important is the automatic vehicle location with GPS based system that tracks the locations of the train.
Operational Requirements
The function of the light rail system is different from bus operations. The light rail system provides its own guideway as well as control of the design of its facilities. The operational requirements consists of peak hour capacity of the light rail line is 24 hours per hour (Mulley, Tsai and Ma  2015).There are multi-line operations so more passengers are carried out in the train.
Track layout and configuration
The rail system consists of double tracking as the optimal operational environments. The double tracks permit a bidirectional lines in order to operate along the same segment of the track (Currie and Burke 2013). The bi-directional double tracks as well as allows maximum operational flexibility as well as capability to operate at a shorter headways and faster speeds.
Storage and maintenance facility
A storage as well as maintenance of rolling stock is required. The trains must be stored when they are not in use. Equipments are required for maintaining as well as repairing the trains (MacNeill, Kirkpatrick and Bocchieri 2015). Inside the maintenance structure, there are specialized equipments, pits for inspections to access the trains and storage parts for the train.
Signal Priority Algorithm
The signal priority system is complex. Simple systems are relied on operator intervention reduces the amount of on-vehicle technology that are required. The red truncations as well as green extension are associated with an active signal priority implementation. The primary difference between the existing preemption system as well as the priority system as it is proposed (Currie and Reynolds 2016). The priority system allows the traffic signals in order to maintain coordination with the adjacent signals while provides preferential treatment for the transit vehicles.

Figure 1:  Signal Priority Algorithm
(Source: Currie and Reynolds 2016, pp-41)
Preliminary System Design
Preliminary Design Requirement
The preliminary design consists of the initial design as well as technical analysis of the system. It consists of transit network integration, traffic impacts, environmental protection, corridor alignment and system design (Olesen and Lassen 2013). From the light rail system analysis, it is found that the network requires improvements in their light rail service. This improvement will increase the speed, improve over on-time performance and minimize the waiting time of customers (Dittmar and Ohland 2012). The improvements will deal with the existing system disputes linked to single-track segments, inadequate signal prioritization, and layout of track and design of roadway that slow down the services.
Key components of the light rail network



Modern vehicles

It should carry around 200 passengers. It has low floors with easy access to the wheelchairs. The rail should be of 30 or 40 m long.


The light rail runs on the steel track.

Electrically powered

The light rail vehicles are powered from the overhead wires. The vehicles are of emission free (Cruz, Marques and Pereira 2014).

Ticketing System

The electronic ticketing system should be accessed by using Opal Card.


Turn up and go service for every two to three minutes in the peak times. There should be real time information at all the stops with showing route as well as stop locations (Bradley 2013).


Due to the light rail network, it reduces congestion at CBD.
Integrated electronic ticketing is available at the outlets as well as on-board (Currie and Reynolds 2016). The stop of the light rail maximizes the accessibility with various doors that are available to alight at the stop.

Table 1: Key components of light rail network
Functional analysis of the light rail network
There are four stages of Sydney’s light rail future as follows:
Integration of service and improvements: The light rail network is integrated into existing MyZone ticketing system. Opal card should be introduced, and integrated electronic ticketing system is also introduced on the light rail so that it makes the travel easier for the travelers (Wilson 2014).
Modernize the existing network: Modern light rail fleet is introduced in order to improve the commuter experience with real time information as well as update of timetables. There should be a construction of 5.6 km inner East light rail extension in order to CBD to South East (Ney and Gray 2014).
Delivery of new CBD and southeast service: The CBD bus network is integrated into light rail. The completion of the light rail should connect circular Quay, CBD and southeast.
Longer-term investigations: Feasibility investigations of the light rail are done for addition of corridors (Mulley and Tsai 2016) Light rail schemes should be investigated and growth of the light rail network with demand as well as integrated with new urban development.
Detail Design and Development
Detailed network design requirements
The light rail network in CBD will be the next step to make necessary changes in order to transform Sydney. It will unlock the streets, open to the capacity of CBD and then creates livable as well as globally competitive city (Currie and Burke 2013). The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) plans and designs the new starts projects of the light rail network. In order to construct a light rail network, at first the land use factors should be evaluated such as following transit supportive corridor policies, supportive zoning towards the transit stations, land use policies and growth management policies (Currie and Reynolds 2016). Secondly, detailed station plans help to leverage development potential of the TOD. A detailed design planning consists of detailed assessment of the area up to 0.25 to 0.50 mi around each of the stations results into land use plan map of future use of land, description of zoning, urban design plan (Mulley and Tsai 2016).
Integration of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system elements
The light rail transit system has the following basic elements such as:
Infrastructure: It composed of track ways, storage yards, and stations with associated structures such as tunnels as well as bridges.
Rolling stock: It comprises of one or more fleet of the railcars that can carry the passengers along with the track ways. Those cars are designed so that it can assemble into short trains. A curve radius of 25 meters is minimum for new LRT lines as well as longer radii are preferable at permission (Olesen and Lassen 2013). With a maximum gradient of 5 percent is considered as a desirable design.
Fixed equipment: It consists of operational as well as a maintenance centre, electric power supply, communications facilities as well as signals. The electric power supply consists of power substations that receive high voltage electrical power and converts into direct current (Wilson 2014). It also includes distribution system that delivers the converted power from substations into individual LRT.

Figure 2: Size of the rolling stock of light rail transit
(Source: Wilson 2014, pp-7)
Design review, evaluation and feedback
Light rail network has embedded into the culture of safety of the passengers and reliability of service. National Passenger Survey is done to provide a network-wide picture of the satisfaction level of the customers with rail travel (Currie and Delbosc 2013). From the evaluation and design review of the LRT system, the possible system approaches are considered such as potential requirements for the power accommodation, communication equipment, and safe maintenance access; train dispatching, security system and integration with rolling stock. The consultation groups as well as other stakeholders are planning a workshop so that they can review the conceptual and preliminary design of the LRT network (Mulley et al. 2015). Some design principles are identified such as protection of cultural resources, providing safe facility, maximization to natural environment, applying sustainable design and promotion of smart growth.
It is concluded that the light rail network will bring to the city as well as people those are living today as well as future. The light rail network will save money as well as time. It reduces the emissions of the greenhouse gases as well as air pollutants. The light rail is the best solution to the long-term transportation challenges the city is facing. The emerging new technologies of light rail shares heavy rail track as well as infrastructure present an opportunity to reduce the cost. It is identified that the functional requirements of the light rail network is that LRT system provides fast as well as reliable transit services. It also provides sufficient capacity. The maintenance and storage section consists of interior cleaning and dispatching of train, which is handled at the baseline station.
Inspection of the rail equipments: All the required equipments required for the light rail network such as electric power supply, communication and signal system should be investigated properly before using it for the rail design.
Evaluation and feedback: The LRT system should be evaluated based on its operations and the feedbacks of the customers are taken so that it helps them to make further improvement in the network.
Integration of rail network services: The network should be improved and made it easier and comfortable so that the customers can travel and make their journey safely.
Bradley, C., 2013. Light rail vehicles: design for maintenance and service operation. In AusRAIL PLUS 2013, Driving the Costs out of Rail, 26-28 November 2013, Canberra, ACT, Australia.
Cruz, C.O., Marques, R.C. and Pereira, I., 2014. Alternative contractual arrangements for Urban light rail systems: Lessons from two case studies.Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, 141(3), p.05014017.
Currie, G. and Burke, M., 2013, October. Light rail in Australia–performance and prospects. In Australasian Transport Research Forum, Brisbane, Australia.
Currie, G. and Delbosc, A., 2013. Exploring comparative ridership drivers of bus rapid transit and light rail transit routes. Journal of Public Transportation,16(2), p.3.
Currie, G. and Reynolds, J., 2016. Evaluating Pay-on-Entry Versus Proof-of-Payment Ticketing in Light Rail Transit. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, (2540), pp.39-45.
Dittmar, H. and Ohland, G. eds., 2012. The new transit town: best practices in transit-oriented development. Island Press.
Jin, J.G., Teo, K.M. and Odoni, A.R., 2015. Optimizing bus bridging services in response to disruptions of urban transit rail networks. Transportation Science.
MacNeill, R., Kirkpatrick, S. and Bocchieri, R., 2015. Development of a Prototype Retrofit Bumper for Improved Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) Safety (No. Transit IDEA Project 77).
Mulley, C. and Tsai, C.H.P., 2016. When and how much does new transport infrastructure add to property values? Evidence from the bus rapid transit system in Sydney, Australia. Transport Policy.
Mulley, C., Ma, L., Clifton, G.T. and Tanner, M., 2015, September. Are network planning guidelines based on equal access equitable?. InAustralasian Transport Research Forum (ATRF), 37th, 2015, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Mulley, C., Tsai, C.H.P. and Ma, L., 2015, September. Does residential property price benefit from light rail in Sydney?. In Australasian Transport Research Forum (ATRF), 37th, 2015, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Ney, S.M. and Gray, D., 2014. Western Sydney Light Rail-connecting the people of Western Sydney to the future. CORE 2014: Rail Transport For A Vital Economy, p.111.
Olesen, M. and Lassen, C., 2013. Attractive Mobile Corridors-The Power of Light Rail Infrastructures. In 4th Pan-american Mobilities Network Conference.
Spiryagin, M., Cole, C., Sun, Y.Q., McClanachan, M., Spiryagin, V. and McSweeney, T., 2014. Design and simulation of rail vehicles. CRC Press.
Vermote, L., Macharis, C., Hollevoet, J. and Putman, K., 2014. Participatory evaluation of regional light rail scenarios: A Flemish case on sustainable mobility and land-use. Environmental Science & Policy, 37, pp.101-120.
Wilson, J.R., 2014. Fundamentals of systems ergonomics/human factors.Applied ergonomics, 45(1), pp.5-13.

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