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TRB Session on Trams Will Bring the French Perspective

There's been a lot of discussion recently on the issue of streetcars, light rail, and dedicated guideways.  Some focus heavily on the development side of building streetcars while many others have discussed the accessibility and service side, mentioning that a streetcar stuck in traffic is no better than any other transit mode.  While this discussion lives on in the United States, Europe has been quietly resurecting tram lines dedicated to getting people around the regions they support.  While many of the Eastern Block countries kept thier tramways, western nations such as France ripped many of them out after the war.

In some places like Freiburg, they've built whole communities while Paris has brought them back to life on some main corridors.  This January at the Transportation Research Board meeting in Washington DC, International experts from France will come to discuss how they've built tramways in Europe and what we can learn from them.  I wish I was going along with half the blogosphere considering this is one of the sessions that could likely start a fire and keep an intense debate going about the subject.  Sure it might be a bit technical but it would be fun as well! 

Greg Thompson, who has done some great research at Florida State on the subject is the organizer so go ahead and check it out if you get a chance.  I know it's early, but it will be worth it!

State-of-the-Art Light Rail: Lessons from France

Jan 23, 2012 8:00AM- 9:45AM

Presentations:
  Drivers of French Light Rail Success: Preliminary Findings (P12-5808) 
     Parkinson, Tom - Consultant, British Columbia, Canada
     Currie, Graham - Monash University, Australia
  SYSTRA: Perspectives of Leading French Consulting Company on French Light Rail Success (P12-5809) 
     Diaz, Diego - SYSTRA Consulting Inc.
  Veolia Transdev Perspectives on French Light Rail Transit Success (P12-5810) 
     Guyot, Hubert - Veolia Transdev, Netherlands
  Designing Trams to Serve Historic Districts and Modern Tracts With Speed, Capacity, and Elan (P12-6239) 
     Messelyn, Christian - Alstom Transportation Inc., France