Background of introduction
With the progress of car society in the 1960 's, roads, especially urban roads, overflowed with a large number of cars, and heavy congestion always occurred on the main road.Until then, the tram was developed in many domestic cities, including Tokyo, but in such a period the tram was treated as an obstacle to blocking the road, and as a result the road surface of various places in the 1960s and 1970s Trains are to be abolished one after another. After the tram was gone, a lot of "subway" routes that passed under the ground instead of the tram were opened, and as a result in Japan there is now a vast subway network network covering 749 kilometers of nine cities nationwide.
As for the problem of the subway, the cost of design such as tunnel construction and the maintenance cost of special equipment will be higher than the general railway, so the fare becomes expensive, especially on the lines managed by local governments It is a trend.
As an example, I will list 210 yen of Yokohama Municipal Subway's first fare managed by Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture.Compared to the railway company in the neighborhood, the initial ride fare of Tokyu Corporation and Odakyu Electric Railway is 130 yen, the initial ride fare of JR East Japan is 140 yen, the initial ride fare of Sagami Railway is 150 yen, etc. It is generally in the range of 130 ~ 160 yen, setting the the initial ride fare of 210 yen for Yokohama municipal subway can not deny the feeling of being overly expensive.Therefore, construction costs and maintenance costs are suppressed rather than the subway, vehicles leading to suppression of fares etc, are being explored in recent years, and one of them is a tram which once disappeared as an enemy by disappearing.Even among trams, attention is being paid attention to the new type of streetcar "LRT".
What does "LRT"(light Rail) mean?
LRT (light rail) is the concept of "lightweight orbit transport system" that was born in the United States in 1972 and features to improve the convenience of urban transportation by realizing low cost and enhancement of transport capacity. The notation "light rail" "LRT" is used only in Japan and the United States, and in European countries the term "tram" is widely adopted. The LRT is regarded as a "city transportation system" that anyone can use easily, avoiding high cost construction like the subway, operating with a smaller transportation capacity than traditional railroads and subways, and by creating a dedicated orbit, It has the characteristic that it can operate so that it does not affect traffic and is not affected. In Japan, it is called LRT that a tram which is operated by a low-floor vehicle is generally introduced, the height of the floor is lowered, steps are eliminated, and vehicles designed with consideration for the use of disabled people and elderly people however, in overseas the definition is different, a tram that runs on a dedicated orbit is called LRT. According to the classification in the British Light Rail Transport Association (LRTA), 6 routes in Japan of Enoshima Electric Railway, Hiroshima Electric Railway Miyajima Line, Chikuho Electric Railway, Keihoku Electric Railway, Tokyu Setagaya Line, and Osaka Electric Earth Orbit are classified as LRT it is. Toyama Light Rail, known as Japan's first full-scale LRT, is known as a successful example of LRT utilizing existing train lines. In this case, the company modified the track of the former JR Toyama port Line to a streetcar line, introduced a new low-floor type vehicle, converted the existing station to a streetcar by newly constructing a station and remodeled the existing station facilities to free the barriers such as long stairs and wide gaps. As a result, the line had succeeded in improving sales efficiency. Tsuyama area in Okayama Prefecture and Utsunomiya area in Tochigi prefecture are listed as candidates for the establishment of LRT utilizing existing train and bus lines. In the Tsuyama district, the JR Tsuyama line was subjected to a reduction in the number of customers due to the reduction of customers, so it is planned to be changed to a LRT line. In the Utsunomiya area, the LRT is planned to replace the previous bus lines, due to the serious congestion that makes the scheduled operation of the route bus extremely difficult. By the switching to a LRT line, the punctuality and the frequency of operation would be improved.