Light Tram: A Transformative Approach to Urban Transit in Kerala

Representational image of light tram.
Representational image of light tram.

KERALA (Metro Rail News): Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) has announced plans to implement the Light Tram in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. This innovative transit solution, similar to traditional metro systems but more cost-effective and sustainable, marks a major shift in Kerala’s approach to urban transportation.

KMRL Managing Director Loknath Behera announced that Urban Mass Transit Company Limited (UMTC) will conduct a feasibility study on the proposed routes in both cities. The Light Tram, which has already proven successful in cities like Brisbane, Australia, can operate at road level, elevated, or underground. This versatility helps reduce both financial and logistical challenges.

Reason for Light Tram Alternative

Reports show that given Kerala’s current financial constraints, the Light Tram presents a viable alternative to conventional metro systems, which are more expensive. Traditional metro construction averages Rs 250 crore per kilometre, whereas Light Tram implementations are far more economical, making them an attractive option for Kerala’s infrastructure needs.

Extension of Light Tram

KMRL’s Light Tram ambitions extend beyond Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode. Plans are underway to introduce this system in Kochi, targeting areas where conventional metro infrastructure is impractical.

Swiss-based HESS Green Mobility, renowned for its Light Tram services globally, has submitted a feasibility report for the MG Road-Thevara-Marine Drive loop in Kochi. Further studies are planned for Mattancherry, Fort Kochi, and the elevated bypass at Edapally-Aroor.

A KMRL official highlighted the additional benefits of the Light Tram, including seamless boarding from ground level and eliminating the need for time-consuming platform ascents. Although navigating Kochi’s complex junctions poses challenges, advanced intelligent transport signalling systems are expected to mitigate these issues.

Despite the enthusiasm, some scepticism remains. Renowned Metroman E Sreedharan voiced concerns over the practicality of Light Trams on Kerala’s narrow roads and the potentially higher operating costs.

As KMRL continues its feasibility studies and planning, the Light Tram system promises to be a transformative step towards more sustainable and cost-effective urban transportation in Kerala.

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