I want to begin this article with saying that trams is something unique. They came before the cars and they are still among us in many cities worldwide. They have been included in many political debates and they have been challenged by other transit options worldwide. These options are metros, trains and even busses. So, in this article I want to focus on how trams in the cities is a gift for all kinds of people and Why it should be a standard for any cities in the world with over 13000 people.
Why should You care about Trams in the cities?
Lot’s of newspapers in the Norwegian and Worldwide media, have a quite strange thinking about the tram as a transportation option for everyone. There are now lot’s of articles regarding how great the electric cars are. There are also media just pushing out news about busses beeing cheaper and better than trams. But this is not correct and in this article I want to make the world think a little bit different about how great a tram is.
First I want address that the trams is needed in cities, because they are the cheapest transport system ever made. So here I go thru some of the facts:
1) How often do you really need to replace tram wagons? Almost never! Compared to busses and cars, trams from 1900 still runs the streets of cities like Lisbon, Porto, San Francisco and Melbourne. They are fully functional and just works. They might be a bit more noisy than the modern ones, but they do their job. The only thing that a tram needs to replace is the wheels sometimes and that is easy to find.
2) Trams can run underground, on the street and also on it’s own avenue route. You don’t really need to have several systems in a city. Well, metros are fine but I have been to cities like Porto in Portugal, Santa Cruz on Tenerife island in Spain, Essen in Germany, Den Haag in Netherlands and Bergen in Norway where trams are like metros or light-rail. Here they hit the car traffic almost never. And that seems to work very well. You can build quite long tram stations underground also, which Porto is a good example on. Trams can become as long as metros for sure.
3) Trams can run as fast as any metro or train. There are fantastic train-tram-metro systems still existing in Lyon (France), Kassel (Germany), Den Haag (Netherlands), Göteborg (Sweden) and the most known one in Karlsruhe (Germany). Inside the city they run like a tram, but on the outskirts they run as fast as local trains. Just think of how the world cities would look like if the main central train stations were shrinked by over 80% and then the local trains become a part of the tram systems in the cities. In many German cities like Bremen etc, you have bigger tram hubs in the city center. What if trams went from these to the nearest cities. What if I could take a train-tram route from Oslo to Drammen? Now that would be really great!?
Now I want to address the reasons why electric cars and busses isn’t a great solution.
1) There are more risks with electric cars or even busses if they start to burn. People drive their vehicles without problems as usual. However! There are times when accidents happens and these start to burn. The Norwegian fire department says its impossible to take out the fire on electric cars, because of it’s battery.
– When a battery cell reaches a temperature of between 130 and 250 degrees, about a chemical process (“thermal runaway”) inside the battery. It produces large amounts of heat and are not possible to stop.
The heat produced in a cell can initiate “thermal runaway” in neighboring cells, explains Boe.
There have been enough accidents with people using electric cars where the firemen just gives up on trying to shut down the fire because of the thermal runaway process which makes it impossible to extinguish fire. So, they just simply let the car burn up. And now let’s imagine a bus that burns? It’s bigger and the battery would eventually be even bigger. A fire here would be even more fatal than before.
Trams can for sure be a part of an accident also. But its always possible to extinguish fire from a burning tram. Also since trams uses power from above instead of a 3rd rail. It is way more safer to walk out from a burning tram. There is simply less problems with a tram regarding this.
2) Electric cars or even busses can never become as long in size as a tram, metro or even a train. Already the “loong busses” just mess up the daily traffic even more. So many people gets angry by them, because they uses space and especially when it’s lots of traffic in the mornings end evenings. In Augsburg I saw these humongous long trams also. A bus would never ever manage to beat that.
3) You can build own bus lanes in towns, but trams just uses way less space. Tram avenues etc, the only thing that needs to stick out of the gras is the rails. The wheels of both electric cars and busses are rubber wheels. Which means that in cities that gets chilly weather in the winter, will get lots of dust into the air that is simply unhealthy to breath in. The wheels of trams on the newer trams and also some of the very old ones have wheels burried behind a metal sort of, which means that the dust that the trams spits out into the air is minimal. Also, when the trams does not run on the same streets as the cars or the busses, they run on their own rails which is free for this risk at all. Also if you build the trams underground, this issue is none. So all rail type of transportations nails every rubber type of transportation in the winter with temps below 0C (32F) !
Why would a city with just 13000 need a tram!?
The big question here is rather. Do we as humans needs to build our towns around roads? What if the towns we built, only had trams in them? I visited the calm villages outside of Berlin, which is known for having trams using older wagons from Berlin. Woltersdorf is one of them and this village got only about 8000 living there, which is way lower than the 13000 I’ve set for this article. In Woltersdorf, each time I’ve visited the village. It is so calm there and the trams (even when very old) barrerly do any sound. There are lot’s of roads here and there, but the trams just runs and they do their job. The air in this village is so healthy, because most of the people living here do use their tram.
A small city, would benefit of a tram going thru it. Same with a village. Either the tram can run on the street level or it could run on a avenue road or just run in roads with low volume of cars. The trams can also be built underground. In the Ruhr area of Germany, you have many tram lines linking the different cities. Some nice examples is if the tram line 102, which is linking Essen with Gelsenkirchen and another line 302 which links Gelsenkirchen with Bochum. In the city centers the tram runs underground, but on the outskirts they run on their own tracks or at the street level with low-volume of cars. You can offcourse take the local train between these cities also, which is way faster. But the trams in this towns have managed to replace the busses on these stretches and it works really great.
Any city or village with whatever amount of people, would benefit to have a tram linking them instead of a buss with rubber wheels. The length and the speed of trams outperforms any buss. In Hong Kong you also have double decker trams as double decker busses runs around in the streets of London. What if these busses got replaced by enviromently friendly trams in London? Now, that would help lot’s of people and the nature that lives here.
Trams is the Most enviroment friendly transport system ever built! Trams as a transportation is what the world needs to be able to breath better. Just visit Woltersdorf and any other villages out there with only busses and taxis instead. The air you breath in is quite different all year round.
Trams as a transportation is the Solution for any city or village out there
Now it’s up to you and you know much better than me about what types of tram solution would be the best one for your village or city. It’s just so much better to do something now, than never. Thinking of our children and teenagers, that once will work and have their lifes to have a much better future is good thinking. The world needs humans that cares for the world and not humans that destroy it. Trams is only one of many things that can heal the worlds pollution problems. They can’t be the only thing that can heal the world, but trams can help lots of people with asthma and allergies. They will also reduce stress in the towns a lot. Many dangerous traffic situations would also be at minimal if towns reduced their car usage and went for trams moving them around.
There is simply no other solution that is better than building tram systems. Why do we need to build our cities around the car and its roads, when trams could have a much bigger impact than the cars and busses. Metros is needed in larger cities also if they are very dense. Long metro wagon sets is great and our million cities like Tokyo, London, New York, Paris or Berlin needs them. In these towns trams can have a bigger role also, but if the trams that would be built like train-trams stopped at bigger metro hub stations, then people wouldn’t need to goto a central station to take a local train to a nearby city. I don’t know about you, but when you come to a huge central train station in a forreign city many tends to use lot’s of time to get used to it and understand it. Wouldn’t it be better to just find a tram station with a nice route map showing you where your line is going. There are so many options, but why certain local train lines stops on the same station as trains taking you to a city over 50km away making the central station bigger than it should is beyond any logic.
It should be easy to travel and trams is fully cabable of doing that. They are also cheaper and if a town chooses it instead of a metro. Especially if the town is less than 550 000 in size it shouldn’t be necessary to build a metro. Just skip that, reduce the bus lines to a minimum and concentrate on building good tram lines that reaches all parts of the city. Some hilly cities should build the trams undeground, while more flat ones can build nice avenues. If you build the trams undeground in hilly cities that get freezing temps during the winter. Then, if possible. To build the tracks underground is a really good solution, because it will protect the rails for leafs falling from trees and ice.
Here we have many great solutions, but it’s you and your words that have the power in the end. I only try to give the spirit further. To try conviencing people to choose public transportation going on rails and especially trams instead of busses, taxis and their own car. Now that is a task which needs to be beaten. There are several countries doing pretty good in Eastern part of Europe, because of communists found trams to be a fast way of transporting people in a cheap way. But, does people need a communistic regime to become more enviroment friendly? No! Because we know now in 2017 whats good or not. Now, it’s up to you! Spread our article if you want also.