The National Academies

TCRP D-06 [Completed]

Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit

  Project Data
Funds: $350,000
Research Agency: Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Gordon W. Martyn
Effective Date: 1/2/1996
Completion Date: 8/31/1999

Transit agencies frequently build new light rail transit (LRT) systems, procure light rail vehicles (LRVs), and undertake track improvements to existing systems to increase operating speeds, enhance service and expand ridership. Many agencies have experienced accelerated vehicle wear and track degradation, attributed to the increased speeds and incompatibility of contemporary LRVs with the track structure. These problems lead to reduced service quality and increased maintenance expenditures. Considerable research has been conducted in recent years to understand the mechanisms involved in track-vehicle interaction and its effect on track design. However, no widely accepted guidelines have been developed to aid in the design of light rail transit track. Consequently, transit agencies have frequently relied on practices developed primarily for heavy rail transit and freight operations that are not well suited for light rail transit systems.

The objectives of this project were to (1) better understand the interactions among track structure, LRVs, and operating characteristics and (2) develop a handbook for the design of light rail transit track to assist the various transit disciplines in selecting the appropriate track and vehicle characteristics for specific situations. The handbook provides guidelines and descriptions for the design of various types of light rail transit track. The track structure types covered include ballasted, direct fixation (ballastless), and embedded track. The components of the various track types are discussed in detail. The guidelines consider the characteristics and interfaces of vehicle wheels and rail, track and wheel gauges, rail sections, alignments, speeds, and track moduli. The handbook includes chapters on vehicles, alignment, track structures, track components, special trackwork, aerial structure/bridges, corrosion control, noise and vibration, signals, and traction power. These chapters provide insight into considerations that affect track design and require interface coordination.

Status: The handbook has been published as TCRP Report 57, "Track Design Handbook for Light Rail Transit".

TCRP Report 57 Part A

TCRP Report 57 Part B

TCRP Report 57 Part C

TCRP Report 57 Part D

To create a link to this page, use this URL: http://apps.trb.org/cmsfeed/TRBNetProjectDisplay.asp?ProjectID=1085