The Light Rapid Transit Forum - Articles and news items
Issue 2 2011 • 6 May 2011 • Colin Walton, President, Light Rapid Transit Forum (LRTF)
While most would admit that the United Kingdom lags behind much of Europe in opening new light-rail systems in its major cities, the current coalition government seems keen to draw a line in the sand and examine major new developments as soon as the economic clouds lift.
Urban transit schemes have largely survived the Comprehensive Spending Review, in spite of cuts of £12-13 million being imposed on Department for Transport’s budgets in the years up to 2015.
The investment decisions, announced on 20 October 2010, were welcomed by the Light Rapid Transit Forum (LRTF), which represents private sector interests, and has assumed a key lobbying role in the industry. Its members include manufacturers, suppliers, and support agencies, working in tandem with public sector co-ordinating bodies such as UKTram, the Confederation of Public Transport, and pteg (Passenger Transport Executives in some major cities).
To understand the place of light rail in the United Kingdom over the last 20 years, you have to look at some underlying factors to do with politics, distribution of the population and the manufacturing base. First and foremost, the substantial tax raising powers lie with the UK Government at Westminster. This remains the case following devolution in Scotland in 1999 and in Wales (to a much more limited extent) also starting in 1999.