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  • What's your distinction between "streetcar" and "tram"? I'm not aware of a categorical difference.
  • What are you thinking of when writing "ultra light"?
  • Of course light rail (be it called streetcar, tram, light rail or whatever) is too heavy for existing pavement, that's why they have their own track in the road, not a 'reinforced road'. In fact, anything with capacity similar to that of light rail is too heavy for road pavement, as shown by the failure of such a system in Caen and the bankruptcy/sale of the manufacturer of a rival system.
  • Of course light rail is not cheap when compared to road vehicles using existing roads, but that's a pointless comparison because buses don't have the capacity (or comfort) of light rail (not to mention a heavy rail metro). That's why the Brazilian city of Curitiba, which runs a system touted by US American anti-light rail BRT advocates as a model, is projecting a proper metro system.
  • The visual impact of overhead lines is a regular theme of US anti-transit propagandists, but, on one hand, I think it is way overblown, on the other hand, there are now various catenary-free systems for the electricity supply of light rail, including ones employing on-board energy storage with batteries and supercapacitors.
  • The issue of carbon fuels can be addressed by changing to renewables in electricity generation. Transmission losses are dwarfed by the losses of the internal combustion engine (you can use your biomethane more efficiently by burning it in a biomass plant and powering an electric tram) and then there is the issue of regenerative braking.
  • No, you can't extrapolate from the Swedish buses example, biofuels don't have the potential to replace all conventional fuel used in transport globally, not even if displacing food production. (This has been a regular theme on ET, I'm surprised you even bring it up.)

So I maintain my preference for a system consiting of overlaid networks of electrified railways, metros, trams and trolley buses.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Oct 15th, 2012 at 04:03:36 AM EST
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