doi: 978-981-08-6396-8_plenary2

Plenary Session 2 Rail Infrastructure Development & Construction
Title Rail Transit Development, Its Present and Future Roles
Speaker Professor Vukan R. Vuchic
Professor Emeritus of Transportation Systems Engineering and City and Regional Planning
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.
Chairperson Er Lim Bok Ngam
Deputy Chief Executive (Infrastructure & Development)
Land Transport Authority of Singapore
Date/Time Wednesday, 20 October 2010 / 14:30
Venue Compass Central Ballroom

Dr Vukan Vuchic is UPS Foundation Professor of Transportation Systems Engineering and Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania, which he joined in 1967. He has lectured at 80 other universities, at many professional conferences and scientific institutions and authored about 150 publications. His research, focusing mostly on urban transportation, has been published in his “Transit Trilogy:” Transportation for Livable Cities (1999), Urban Transit Operations, Planning and Economics (2005), and Urban Transit Systems and Technology (2007).

In 1982 Dr Vukan Vuchic became the first recipient of the “Dr. Friedrich Lehner Medal” in Germany. In 1990 he was awarded the University of Pennsylvania’s UPS Foundation Chair in Transportation. He is a Foreign Member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SANU) and of the Russian Academy for Architecture and Construction Sciences (RAASN).

He has been consultant to several national departments of transportation, many cities and transit agencies. He is now a member of the International Advisory Panel for the Land Transport Authority, statutory board under the Minister of Transport of Singapore.

As the first practically usable motorized transportation system for carrying passengers in cities around 1890, rail transit had a major influence on the growth, form and character of cities. Introduction of buses and other transit modes, followed by a rapid increase of car ownership, increased mobility and gave stimulus to the growth of cities and urbanized areas. However, traffic congestion, created mostly by private automobiles, created problems of reduced mobility and decreasing livability of cities.

Most advanced contemporary cities are implementing balanced transportation systems which encourage use of public transit and pedestrian movements. To achieve a desired intermodal balance, cities must have efficient and attractive transit systems. While buses provide area-wide services in all cities, rail transit with its much higher performance has been built rapidly in hundreds of cities. Number of cities with metro systems has increased from 19 in the 1950s to over 115 cities today. Light rail transit has been built as a mode of much higher service quality than buses, but requires lower investment than metros. Regional rail has also been expanded and integrated with urban transit in dozens of cities of industrialized as well as developing countries.

Rail transit planning is complex and very important because of permanence of its infrastructure. Yet, technical material on designing rail lines, networks and stations is very limited. This paper discusses topology of rail transit lines and types of networks. It compares different types of lines and two basic types of networks – independent and integrated. Lack of understanding of some rail modes in some countries, particularly light rail, is also discussed.

The role of rail transit is increasing with cities’ sizes. With the need to change modal split from auto to transit dominance, rail systems represent the key factor in making cities livable and sustainable. Theoretical analyses of transit modes, lines and networks are illustrated by numerous examples from many world cities.

Keywords: Metro systems, Light rail transit, Rail transit networks, Livable cities.