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Tram Success Provides Blueprint for the Future

By Daniel Hill

Successful tram systems in key UK cities should provide a blueprint for other urban areas looking to combat congestion, says the leader of the country’s light rail sector.

With passenger numbers continuing to rise in the areas they serve, trams are already at the heart of thriving integrated transport networks. Following a key industry summit today (Tuesday, September 4) James Hammett, Managing Director of UK Tram, highlighted the vital role light rail can play in shaping the future development of other British cities.

He says UK Tram, which is putting light rail front and centre of the debate on greener urban transport, has already been approached by locations seeking effective ways to reduce reliance on cars, improve air quality and boost regeneration.

“Obviously these schemes are in the early stages of development and so it would be unfair to name them,” he explained. “However, it’s clear the success of trams in cities such as Manchester, Nottingham and Edinburgh has demonstrated the popularity of light rail and its ability to provide a swift, clean and reliable transport option.”

The past decade has seen total passenger journeys on the country’s tramways grow by around 45 per cent to around 275 million a year.

“Trams have really proved a hit with customers thanks to their convenience and reliability,” Mr Hammett said. “In fact Department for Transport figures show overall customer satisfaction above 90 per cent – well ahead of other forms of public transport.”

During the Summit, delegates from across the sector were updated on the organisation’s work and the pivotal role it’s playing in several vital areas, including fresh initiatives to further improve safety.

The event, held at Birmingham City Football Club, included presentations on apprenticeships and training, the use of social media to engage with customers and ongoing efforts to boost patronage.

Delegates also took part in workshops aimed at strengthening UK Tram’s position at the forefront of innovation to make trams even more appealing to customers and urban planners.

“Drawing on experience and expertise from across the sector, we are ideally placed to lead a revolution in the way the country thinks about sustainable transport in our cities,” James added.