Why trams are a modern, low cost and convenient solution to Baths choking transport issues

020Bath Science Cafe, Monday 13th, Raven Pub.

Tram in World Heritage City Vienna passing Opera house – see the wires? Some are attached to the building itself.


Why trams are a modern, low cost and convenient solution to Baths choking transport issues

Professor Lesley will explain the economics of trams in Bath

Bath’s traffic problem is essentially one of trying to force as many cars, buses and lorries into Bath as is possible.  Since Bath has finite space this results in congestion, difficulties in parking, endless roadworks, noise and very high levels of pollution ( which nationally cause over 19,000 premature deaths/y.

(Trams are not being proposed as a solution to getting around in the city that’s done by walking or bikes – but they could be used for that to some extent no doubt, Trams are proposed  as a means to bring in users from the suburbs, outlying areas and the park and rides)

Trams are a solution whereas diesel buses are not because:

  • People do not like travelling on buses which are seen as low prestige, noisy, jerky, uncomfortable and expensive, and unreliable whereas, trams are seen and experienced as the opposite – high status, smooth, comfortable, modern, reliable and international experience shows that people will readily transfer from cars to buses leaving streets free for those who actually need to drive in.
  • Electric trams leave no pollution in the city
  • Electric trams have a higher carrying capacity than buses (because  there are more people on them) and they use road space around 30 times more efficiently than cars. This photo explains it all, and incidentally why bikes en masse are not a solution either http://www.humantransit.org/2012/09/the-photo-that-explains-almost-everything.html
  • Trams can negotiate the  hills in Bath, and around all the bends on the proposed routes. ( they did in the past, trams have not got any wider, the streets narrower or the hills steeper)
  • Whilst trams have high capital costs they have much lower running costs and are shown to be an economic solution in many european cities compared to buses. Trams operators can borrow money at extremely low long terms rates, unlike buses.
  • Trams can be run on electricity from natural gas fired power stations or low carbon renewable or nuclear energy.
  • In the centre trams can run on batteries or fuel cells mitigating the need for overheads. (not this is not a problem in numerous continental heritage cities which for example has Vienna Opera House supporting tram lines

Electric trams are a definite and proven solution and this has been shown in many European cities, including over 60 that are smaller in size than Bath and have tighter streets.

Merely speeding up trains into Bath will have minimal effect since the only go along a limited route, and there is no way they can reach the 8 minute frequency of trams, due to the presence of other high speed and frequent traffic on the main line.

Bath definitely can accommodate trams because they did so in the past and the street layout and width has not changed significantly and therefor it is not a valid argument to say the streets are too narrow. (see picture gallery and map of old tram routes)

For details of other recent studies on re introducing trams in Bath, using carefully surveyed routes which would accommodate the vehicles see: http://www.bathtram.org/


Wikipedia on Bath Trams https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_Electric_Tramways_Company

Wikipedia on trams in general: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tram

List of trams many less than Bath in size https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tram_and_light_rail_transit_systems

Trams in Vienna http://randomstreets.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/vienna-austria.html



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