General Article What is a tram?

Topic Selected: Sustainable Transport
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Trams and light rail are forms of urban public transport; with a handful of exceptions, tramways and light rail systems across the world are almost exclusively passenger-carrying operations. There is no hard and fast definition of what constitutes ‘light rail’ or what the difference is between light rail and trams, and there are different opinions on what exactly the terms mean, but this article should give you an idea.


A tram, usually known in North America as a ‘streetcar’, ‘trolleycar’ or ‘trolley’, is a vehicle which runs on fixed rails and is designed to travel on streets, sharing road space with other traffic and pedestrians. Most tram systems also include at least some off-street running, either along the central reservation of roads (what would be called the ‘median strip’ in the US) or on fully segregated alignments. Such sections of a route can be called ‘reserved rights of way&rs

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