Return to homepage
Trams can operate amongst other road traffic
without danger and will give no worse a service than any other
vehicle in the same circumstances. However, because the tram has
better acceleration and braking characteristices than a bus, carries
more passengers at peak loading and can load and unload faster,
it stands to benefit much more than a bus from a degree of priority
over other road vehicles.
The priority measures which can be given to
a tram are more effective, and give better security against sucessful
abuse by motorists, than a bus lane.
- Reserved tracks can be laid in grass or textured
surface - separated, if necessary, from other traffic by a low
curb. This deters motorists but forms no great barrier to pedestrians
who may need to cross the road.
- Tracks approaching a traffic-light-controlled
junction can be placed in the centre of the road, giving
the tram a prime position in the queue. This can be further enhanced
by separate traffic signals for the tram
which allow it to cross ahead of other vehicles.
- The narrowness of a tramway allows it to
be taken through small gaps, close to buildings and in other
areas which would be impossible for buses. This makes possible
the by-passing of certain junctions altogether.
- Traffic lights at a tram crossing point can
be activated by the approach of a tram. In conjunction with 'box
junction' markings, this ensures the tram can cross a road unimpeded.
- Similar traffic signals can be used to give
priority to trams at traffic roundabouts, which they preferably
would cross straight through the middle.
- Local by-laws, carefully drafted and enforced,
can make obstruction of tram tracks an offence or permit the
tramway company to claim for lost revenue from the obstructer.
The success of a tramway service, particularly
in terms of its ability to attract motorists out of their cars
and reduce road traffic, can depend strongly on the level and
suitability of the priority measures given to it. A local council
which is genuinely interested in road traffic reduction will ensure
that optimum tram priority measures are applied wherever necessary.