News   Nov 11, 2019
 301     0 
News   Nov 11, 2019
 838     3 
News   Nov 11, 2019
 1.7K     2 

Transit Glossary

Hipster Duck

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
3,558
Reaction score
8
Darkstar,

Thanks for making this a sticky. I hope that we can continue making subtle improvements to it.

Sean,

Thanks for adding to the wiki. In hindsight, I wonder if my picture of the Washington Metro under the "subway" section was confusing. It does operate very much like a Regional Metro (a la BART). BART, the DC Metro and MARTA sort of all fall into this category - I think they even use the same tech.
 

Long Island Mike

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 25, 2007
Messages
2,178
Reaction score
12
Transit Glossary additions and examples...

HD and all: I have read thru the glossary of transport terms and I agree with much of the definitions and I want to offer insight to help clarify some transit modes here:

EXPRESS BUS: Good examples are NYC Transit's X series routes that have premium buses for a premium fare..

STREETCAR OR TROLLEY CAR: Add Philadelphia's Route 15 using rebuilt PCC cars as well as Routes 10,11,13,34 and 36 which operate as streetcars in W Philadelphia and operate as sub-surface to Center City.

BUS RAPID TRANSIT: Add Pittsburgh's three Busways operated by PAT.

LRT VERSION 1: Those pics are of Minneapolis's Hiawatha Line and NJT's Hudson Bergen Light Rail with Downtown NYC in the background.

LRT VERSION 2: Baltimore's Central Light Rail Line and Buffalo's LRRT can be added in this category.

METROS OR SUBWAYS: Add Atlanta's MARTA system. That pic of the Washington Metro is at Silver Spring on the Metro Red Line.

COMMUTER RAIL: The Long Island Rail Road's diesel-operated lines with its bilevel equipment-they are basically: The Port Jefferson Branch from Huntington to Port Jefferson;The Oyster Bay Branch from Mineola to Oyster Bay;The Montauk Branch from Babylon to Montauk and the Main Line from Ronkonkoma to Greenport.

S-BAHN REGIONAL RAIL: All the LIRR's electrified routes can be in this category-they have third rail and MU cars. I will add all of Metro North Commuter Railroad's electrified routes here also and the diesel routes placed in the Commuter Rail category. I will add Metra Electric in Chicago's route also but the Chicago South Shore and South Bend MU service could be in both categories. I do not feel that the CTA in Chicago-in the Subway category-is a S-Bahn even with those grade crossings on the outer ends of the Douglas and Ravenswood Lines(I use the true route names NOT the color names here) and due to the fact the CTA only serves some close-in suburbs.

I hope that these additions will help with what has turned out to be a most interesting way of determining transit modes. LI MIKE
 

Le Gique

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
235
Reaction score
40
Metrolinx' glossary definitions (how do these jive?)

White Papers >White Paper # 2: Preliminary Directions And Concepts:
>Appendix A: Glossary of Terms (snipped, URL below)

Surface Transit – buses, trolley buses or streetcars operating typically in mixed traffic using standard and articulated diesel buses or electric propulsion. Capacity of up to 2,000 passengers per hour per direction. Average speed of 10 to 25 km/h.

Streetcars – urban rail vehicles circulating at low speeds (e.g. 10 to 25 km/h) in mixed traffic, with closely spaced stops (e.g. 200 metres). Examples exist in Toronto and Portland, Oregon.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – similar to light rail transit (see entry below) operating on protected rights-of-way, but using advanced bus technology and station/vehicle features to improve passenger comfort and convenience. Capacity of up to 10,000 people per hour, peak direction. Average speed: 15 to 30 km/h in mixed traffic; 30 to 40 km/h in separate right-of-way depending on station spacing. Example: Vancouver 98B Line (Richmond section).

Transitway – buses operating on exclusive two-lane busways. Capacity of 10,000 passengers per hour per direction. Average speed: 40-80 km/h depending on stop spacing. Example: Ottawa Transitway system, average speed of 40 to 60 km/h.

Light Rail Transit (LRT) – streetcar trains (up to three or four cars per train) operating on protected rights-of-way adjacent to or in the medians of roadways or rail rights-of-way with at-grade intersections, possibly with some sections operating in mixed-traffic and/or in tunnels. Electric power is normally via an overhead trolley or pantograph. Capacity of up to 15,000 passengers per hour per direction, with even higher capacities on completely segregated rights-of-way. Average speed: 15 to 30 km/h in mixed traffic; 30 to 40 km/h on separate right-of-way depending on station spacing. Example: Calgary LRT system.

Metro – electrified trains operating below or at-grade with separated rights-of-way; capacity in the range of 35,000 to 40,000 passengers per hour per direction. Average speed: 25 km/h with 0.5 to 1 km station spacing; 40 km/h with 2 km station spacing. Also referred to as heavy rail transit (HRT). Example: Toronto subway system.

Commuter Rail/GO Rail – diesel-electric trains operating on existing rail lines, as in the current GO Transit rail network; approximate realistic capacity at 10-minute headways of 9,000 to 10,000 persons per hour peak direction (pphpd); higher capacities (up to 15,000 pphpd) could be achieved by using higher frequencies; service could be enhanced by electrification, enabling better train performance (acceleration) and therefore higher average speeds even with relatively close station spacing. Average speed: 60 km/h with 2 km station spacing; 80 km/h with wider station spacing or electrified trains. Example: GO Transit rail system.

Regional Express – high-speed electric trains, similar to Metro, but with wider station spacing to effectively serve longer-distance regional trips. Regional Express could have a capacity of approximately 60,000 passengers per hour in the peak direction (pphpd) with trains operating in completely separated rights-of-way. Average speed: 80 km/h with 4 to 6 km station spacing. Example: Paris Réseau Express Regional (RER).

http://metrolinx.limehouse.com/portal/white_papers/wp2?pointId=1208526940429#1208526940429
 

Archivist

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
1,349
Reaction score
2
I haven't looked at this post in a long time, but it certainly continues to be useful. I love CDL's post above!

Question: where would the Australian system fit into this? I am thinking of Sydney's and Melbourne's "trains", that seem to act as a hybrid between regioinal rail and a subway-type system. Though I've taken trains in both systems, I've always been perplexed by them and never been sure how they are viewed by the locals - as a kind of "subway" or more like a regional rail or commuter rail. If the latter, then Sydney doesn't really have a subway, which is odd.
 

CDL.TO

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
4,275
Reaction score
117
Location
Christie Pits
Question: where would the Australian system fit into this? I am thinking of Sydney's and Melbourne's "trains", that seem to act as a hybrid between regioinal rail and a subway-type system. Though I've taken trains in both systems, I've always been perplexed by them and never been sure how they are viewed by the locals - as a kind of "subway" or more like a regional rail or commuter rail. If the latter, then Sydney doesn't really have a subway, which is odd.
The systems in Sydney and Melbourne (and other Australian cities) are usually referred to as regional rail or suburban rail in all discussions I have witnessed. Though it is correct that this means that these cities do not have subways, it reinforces how the difference between a Metro and suburban rail is purely operational. They show that it's possible to build an excellent system with has a coverage of the metropolitan area that should make other "new world" cities envious while still serving local trips, all without having a subway line.
 

golodhendil

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 25, 2009
Messages
674
Reaction score
1
Location
Boston
I know you said there are exceptions to all of these. However, for the light rail category, if speed, articulation, coupling, ROW separation, and elaborate/high-platform stations are your distinguishing criteria, these things will blur your definitions:

Premetro?


"Light rail"?


Streetcar?


In another case, light rail or premetro?



Premetro should be defined solely on the basis of having rapid-transit-grade sections (subway, elevated, exclusive surface ROW with no grade crossings), and not whether the trams are coupled, articulated or "heavier" than streetcars, or whether the stations are high-platform or elaborate. This definition will fit more correctly with existing premetros (C-Train, SF Muni, Boston Green Line, Newark City Subway, Brussels premetro, and the German/Austrian stadtbahns and U-stadtbahns, etc). Also, your criterion of flashing lights and barriers is wrong, because the very examples you cited (Frankfurt and Stuttgart U-stadtbahns) do not have these, nor do most other premetros notably except for the Canadian ones. In fact, most of their aboveground stations are no more or less elaborate than Boston Green Line's "glorified transit shelters", except for the high(er) platforms.

A Stuttgart U-bahn train barrelling down an intersection without flashing lights or barrier gates:


Stuttgart U-bahn station, with low platform and nothing more than a "transit shelter":


Frankfurt U-bahn: premetro, light rail or streetcar?? (served by the same rolling-stock as the C-train)


I think one will also be hard pressed to find the rolling stock of the Brussels Premetro, or the PCC premetros of American cities, to be any bit more lumbering than LRT or even streetcar stocks:


I also think tram-trains and interurbans constitute a big enough class to be considered separately.

---

For HRT, a few minor things:
Another very successful MCS (medium capacity system) (just to get all continents covered) is Taipei Metro's Muzha and Neihu lines.

HK's metro would be MTR urban lines, because its suburban lines - Tung Chung Line (orange), West Rail Line (pink) and Ma On Shan Line (brown) are more like your "regional metro" class (in fact MOS is technically an MCS right now). For suburban rail, KCRC no longer exists as an operator, it should now be MTR East Rail Line (even before the merger, KCR's other lines [WR and MOS] do not fit your "suburban rail" category, because they don't share tracks with other services).

Also, Tokyo's (and most of Japan's) metro, suburban rail and outersurban rail interline extensively and would not satisfy your ROW-exclusivity criterion.
 
Last edited:

tayser

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
180
Reaction score
64
Location
Melbourne
I haven't looked at this post in a long time, but it certainly continues to be useful. I love CDL's post above!

Question: where would the Australian system fit into this? I am thinking of Sydney's and Melbourne's "trains", that seem to act as a hybrid between regioinal rail and a subway-type system. Though I've taken trains in both systems, I've always been perplexed by them and never been sure how they are viewed by the locals - as a kind of "subway" or more like a regional rail or commuter rail. If the latter, then Sydney doesn't really have a subway, which is odd.
They're just as you said "trains" :)

Classification is what you North Americans do best (i.e this thread :)) - no need to confuse anyone!

Seriously though, Sydney's had about 3 different proposals for a "metro" which would be completely separate from the existing CityRail network - fully fledged single deck, high-frequency line from the inner city to the inner/middle Western suburbs. It's anyone's guess if it'll eventually get off the ground as NSW is in a state of political paralysis (has been since the gloss of the Olympics started fading the day after the Closing ceremony).

They've recently opened a new link between Chatswood and Epping to the North west of the city which is 100% underground with new stations at Macquarie University and the various ICT areas which exist in the area. They also have a project on the run at the moment which is "de-spaghettifying" the current CityRail setup to basically give two track pairs exclusive access to each group of lines whereby there was talk of ditching the double deckers (Which no doubt would give you the impression they're commuter rail trains) and going back to single decks but at higher frequencies - the city circle is currently at capacity and the only way to improve is to go back to the future with single deck at higher frequency.

They're going to need "subway-like" trains which have multiple doors per carriage and less seating to improve the dwell times at city stations.

Down here Kevin Rudd decided to give half of the infrastructure stimulus money to Victoria to kick off a rail project which will provide a dedicated track pair for our actual commuter (regional) trains from the west and is effectively the start of what has been dubbed a "metro" line through the centre of Melbourne.

Dubbed "metro" line but it won't be what they're talking about in Sydney or what the TTC subway is to GO (i.e a separate dedicated system) - it's just going to be a dedicated track pair, underground which goes against the current loop structure that exists - it'll be a cross-town path from the West, slicing through the CBD and Southbank from North to South, down St. Kilda Road and then turning eastward to link up with an existing line - this new underground line could be for all intents and purposes be classified as a subway/metro - but realistically it's going to be run similarly to how the existing network does, just with higher frequency and at stations through already existing high-density areas.

Like the current de-spaghettification project in Sydney, the idea is the same - lines would be taken out of the loop structure and the suburban services essentially form metro services in the inner city.
 

ShonTron

Moderator
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 24, 2007
Messages
10,010
Reaction score
2,906
Location
Ward 13 - Toronto Centre
I just made some changes, trying to clarify the differences in trams/streetcars. I argue that there are three basic variations: heritage trams, modern trams and legacy street railways, but there are some systems (Muni especially) that don't neatly fit in any category.
 

ksun

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 14, 2013
Messages
1,805
Reaction score
238
In my experience, I've never been more than 5-10 minute walk from any place I wanted to go in Paris after getting off the Metro (including Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Catacombs, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triumphe, etc.). You can also meander through the streets and explore without fear that you'll be far away from a Metro station for the most part. In the realm of walkable cities, Paris is at the top of my list.
Not just tourist attractions. You are seldom more than 10 minutes from a metro station in the entire City of Paris. I don't think any other city can beat Paris in that.
But Paris has 2.2M people living on an area that's equivalent to the size of pre-amalgamation Old Toronto + East York. We have 850K.
 
Last edited:

ssiguy2

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Feb 3, 2010
Messages
3,029
Reaction score
726
Subway, Metro etc has NOTHING to do with the technology as long as it has rails, it doesn't even have to be electric. Standard heavy rail, monorail, SkyTrain, LRT, EMU, DMU, and even clunky GO train style commuter rail.

If the line is 100% grade separated from one end to the other then it's a subway. If the line can be theoretically automated then it's a "metro".
 

nfitz

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
23,253
Reaction score
3,360
Location
Toronto
Subway, Metro etc has NOTHING to do with the technology as long as it has rails, it doesn't even have to be electric. Standard heavy rail, monorail, SkyTrain, LRT, EMU, DMU, and even clunky GO train style commuter rail.

If the line is 100% grade separated from one end to the other then it's a subway.
So the Pearson people mover is a subway?

If the line can be theoretically automated then it's a "metro".
Your pulling that one out of your imagination. There have been systems called "Metros" since the century before last! Automation isn't a factor in the naming.
 

ehlow

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 2, 2013
Messages
3,495
Reaction score
140
Location
Yonge & Eglinton
I think Metrolinx needed to show these pictures to people to convince them. These are pretty nice and no difference from the subway. I heard out platforms will be shorter though.


Wow, the little things or the ones you don't see. It looks like people used to pay attention to station design.
The Boston & SF ones aren't even that nice, very boxy design.

The Brussels ones, new Ottawa ones, new Calgary ones, and new Montreal subway trains all look great to me. The Toronto LRVs should look good as well (same as new streetcars).
 

Top