There has been a revival of interest in Britain in rapid transit systems, especially in the form of light rail or modernised tramways, with proposals being prepared for many cities e.g. Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham. Some of these systems may be eligible for government grants towards the capital costs; the Manchester Metrolink and South Yorkshire Supertram have received approval for a 50 per cent government grant. New guidelines for eligibility have recently been published which place a greater emphasis on the contributions which private developers might make towards the cost of the system. TRRL has undertaken a study of fourteen rapid transit systems in France, the USA and Canada (Marseille, Lyon, Grenoble, Nantes, Lille, Washington, Baltimore, Atlanta, San Diego, Sacramento, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal) to identify the effects which these systems have had on urban development. This review contains a description of each system and its effects on transport and urban development. It then brings the findings together into a set of conclusions and finally considers the relevance of the findings to British proposals in general. (A)

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