Keywords: cost benefit analysis, investment appraisal, light rail, discrete event simulation, short distance travel, local passenger transportation, railways, public transport, environmental issues
Evaluating light rail as a short distance passenger transportation solution in a midsized town
European Union regards railways as a safe and environmentally friendly transportation mode. One target of EU transport policy is to shift long-distance road journeys and short-distance air journeys onto railways. In local passenger transportation, rail is currently used only in larger cities. This study evaluates light rail as a local passenger traffic solution for a midsized town. The evaluation is based on investment appraisal methodology. In the case studied, the functionality of alternative routes is explored using discrete event simulation. Based on the results, the infrastructure investment of operating network required plays a pivotal role in determining the profitability of light rail public transportation system. Interestingly, environmental issues cannot justify light rail investments alone, even if significant changes would appear in operating environment.