Trams at the mid of the street or at the sideways?

 
  cucu Beginner

Hi!

I've been questioning about something related to the position of the rails in a tramway system inside a city. Most of the cities had their rails in the middle of the street, between roads where cars go on. But I've been wondering if it could be better to install the trams' rails next to the sidewalk, so it's easier for people to jump in the tram.

What do you think? I may think that there are some pages which talk about it, but I'm unable to find them.

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  petan Chief Commissioner

Location: Waiting to see a zebra using a zebra crossing!
Hi! I've been questioning about something related to the position of the rails in a tramway system inside a city. Most of the cities had their rails in the middle of the street, between roads where cars go on. But I've been wondering if it could be better to install the trams' rails next to the sidewalk, so it's easier for people to jump in the tram.
What do you think? I may think that there are some pages which talk about it, but I'm unable to find them.
cucu
First, they are footpaths in Australia not sidewalks. Apart from that minor point, your question relates to trams which in many places date from the pre-car era so were often down the middle of the street to service both sides of the streets and people were able to safely just walk out into the street to catch the tram.

I note bus stops are generally on the footpath but outbound stops are on one side of the street and inbound bus stops are on the other side of the street, well at least in Brisbane and the Gold Coast. That would not work for trams as buses are not restricted by tram tracks. I also note the 2014 opened Gold coast trams are in the middle of the street with safety barriers for passenger 'platforms' so cars do not need to stop when trams stop.
  billjohnston Station Master

During the period tram management were looking at options to cover the need for disabled persons to travel, I suggested blocking the kerb side lane, and diverting the tram into the kerb at stops. This has some advantages. Firstly when a tram stops cars can clear the road by passing on the outside, passengers get a safe loading and drop off zone, and parking at the kerb is retained for the bulk of the tram route. I think parking at the kerb is overblown but is a big issue for shopkeepers in strip shopping areas so needs to be accomodated. Blocking the kerb lane were the tram swings over is necessary to prevent cars coming into conflict with trams. The departure side of the stop requires traffic lights to allow the tram to depart back into the traffic. Most stops are already associated with traffic lights. There are some the would not require it in light traffic areas where the tram can depart similar to a bus. Allowing the traffic to clear while the tram is stopped would reduce some of the issues around cars and trams, as often there are only a few cars behind a tram at any time, and this option tends to reduce the current build up that occurs in peak time. The tram should be fitted with a light call button, to initiate the traffic light cycle when a tram is ready to depart. This could be useful at intersections. Who has sat in a tram with the lights green only to see them turn yellow just as the tram doors close. At the time of my submission tram management were not interested but they never really indicated the flaw in my proposal. The one flaw I can see is a permanent closure of the clear way lane on tram routes, but it would be interesting to trial this and see if it is a material issue if cars can get passed a tram while it is stopped for passengers. Tram overtaking is a difficult issue for some drivers. Who has sat behind a car for miles as the driver obviously can't quite see enough space to overtake on the inside. These drivers would be relieved of the issue at the next tram stop. This issue is a big cause of traffic build up on tram routes.
Bill Johnston
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Kerbisde running is quite common around the world, was used a lot on the old Sydney system and will be used on parts of the new CSELR. Its use relates to a number of issues and there may be more than one reason it's used. For example, it's very good for taking a tram line across the head of a T intersection without being held up by the traffic lights. Passenger friendliness is also a reason as people from one side of the road (which might be the side where all the activity is, e.g. shops) can access the tram without having to cross the road. Generally it all depends on location-specific circumstances.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
I am trying to think where 'Kerbside' running was used in Sydney as I dont remember any.
Pitt and Castlereagh are narrow enough to make you think the Trams ran kerbside but I am sure they never did unless there was a bend or curve bringing the track near the kerb.
Around Circular Quay there seemed to be no distinction between road and pedestrians.
  True Believers Chief Commissioner

Hi!

I've been questioning about something related to the position of the rails in a tramway system inside a city. Most of the cities had their rails in the middle of the street, between roads where cars go on. But I've been wondering if it could be better to install the trams' rails next to the sidewalk, so it's easier for people to jump in the tram.

What do you think? I may think that there are some pages which talk about it, but I'm unable to find them.
cucu
This is a great idea for Melbourne, where some roads are too narrow to provide platform stops for some tram routes.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
I am trying to think where 'Kerbside' running was used in Sydney as I dont remember any.
Pitt and Castlereagh are narrow enough to make you think the Trams ran kerbside but I am sure they never did unless there was a bend or curve bringing the track near the kerb.
Around Circular Quay there seemed to be no distinction between road and pedestrians.
gordon_s1942
Just quickly off the top of my head without studying maps in detail, some were: City Road, Matraville, Balmoral, Rockdale-Brighton, Mortlake. Go over it with a fine toothcomb and there are more, Newcastle too.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
To me having the trams in the middle accounts for car parking and breakdowns. If the car is on the side of the road, traffic can get around on the tram tracks, and sice we drive on the left we also  ensure if  a car is taking on or setting off people, they are not delivered into the tram's way. Also if a car breaks down, the driver has to diagnally look to the rear left rather than the rear right that we are used to, so I think more likelyhood of car accidents with trams and cars.


Having the tram on the side, and the road section in the middle does help tram loading and unloading. and it ensures no parking at all on that section of road.



Regards,
David Head
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The reason that our trams run mid-street is historical. When we introduced cable, and later electric trams, they were faster than other vehicles on the road at that time, so they wanted to keep them as far from pedestrians as possible.
  don_dunstan Dr Beeching

Location: Adelaide proud
Tram routes that ran down the sides of roads (as opposed to on their own exclusive track):

In Adelaide the Colonel Light Gardens route on Goodwood Road from Grange Rd/Edwards Street southwards - the reserved track was on the eastern side of what is now a very wide Goodwood Road.

In Ballarat the Sebastapol tram line used to meander from one side of the road to the other for no apparent reason; there were barely signed "crossings" for road traffic to be alert to.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
If there is a series of T-intresections, all on the same side of the road, it can be an advantage to have both tram tracks on the side opposite to the divergent roads.
And where the track curves at an intersection, having the tram alongside both roads, such as for the reason mentioned above, can allow both curves to be on the same corner of the intersection. There is actually an example in one of the highest Melbourne suburbs and the highest point on Melbourne's tramway network, near Maidstone. Furthermore, there are a series of T-intersections all opposite to the tram tracks.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

I think someone should clarify exactly what is being proposed here. Are you talking about both tracks running down one side of the road or the down track on one side of the road and the up track on the other? An example of the second case would be in, say Victoria Street, Abbotsford, the down track on the north side and the up track on the south side. There would be no advantage crossing T-intersections in either case. In the first case it is unlikely that intersecting roads will come from the same side, meaning the tracks have to zig-zag from one side of the road to the other. In the second case,  one of the tracks, either the up or down, is going to cross the active side of the intersection. Having tracks run down the centre of the road and move to the kerb at each stop means the tram has to cut across traffic twice, once arriving and once departing, even if it is not a compulsory stop and the tram is not stopping.
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
I am trying to think where 'Kerbside' running was used in Sydney as I dont remember any.
Pitt and Castlereagh are narrow enough to make you think the Trams ran kerbside but I am sure they never did unless there was a bend or curve bringing the track near the kerb.
Around Circular Quay there seemed to be no distinction between road and pedestrians.
Just quickly off the top of my head without studying maps in detail, some were: City Road, Matraville, Balmoral, Rockdale-Brighton, Mortlake. Go over it with a fine toothcomb and there are more, Newcastle too.
tonyp
I had forgotten the Rockdale to Brighton Le Sands via Bayswater ? road.
I didnt include City Road, Anzac Parade, Watsons Bay as these areas  actually had their own 'Right of Way' rather than being part of the road itself.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
No, the tracks on City Rd occupied the two kerbide lanes of the roadway. There may have been some ballast, I don't quite recall, but that doesn't make them any less part of the road reserve. The surface finish isn't significant. Either it's in the road reserve or it isn't. The Anzac Pde tracks were in the park. This discussion would be about tracks that are in the road reserve, either both tracks on one side of the road or one on each side.

Here's the City Rd stop at Sydney University showing a rare new platform stop on the down side. The "platform" on the up side was of course the footpath. This is an excellent example of an advantage of kerbside tracks. Not only do they bypass intersections on the other side of the road (notably Cleveland St), but the sizable passenger traffic is originating on one side of the road, the university side.

http://sydney.edu.au/science/chemistry/images/content/history/trams-coupledcars.jpg

CSELR has kerbside tracks in (all or parts of) Rawson Place, Chalmers St, Devonshire St, Alison Rd, Wansey Rd and High St - very extensive and there's in some cases a passenger-origin reason for that. The other reason is to keep out of the way of traffic, intersections and traffic lights. IWLR has kerbside tracks in Hay St. There are scores of examples in Europe.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The Mont Albert - Box Hill tram extension along Whitehorse Road at one stage was going to be kerbside running, but got changed part way through construction and Is a bit messy now.

If you could have a road with a 24 hour clearway both ways along It, a tram / bus fairway would be best at kerbside.
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Trams on the side of the ride have issues with street parking and and tight curves when they need to turn left. Probably some safety issues by modern standards.

Trams down the centre have less issues with traffic, but if building new these days trams and LR don't run in traffic lanes apart from crossing an intersection. Only legacy systems have true street running where the tram and cars share the lane. Centre running also allows a single set of poles and all tram related infrastructure to be concentrated in the one corridor.

For a modern design, centre running is by far the easiest and safest as its easier to keep the tram away from cars and people. In Munch I noticed a few locations where the platforms are off-set to minimise the overall width taken by the tram ROW.  I assume in the past it was step out into the traffic, these days this is not acceptable and generally being removed.

I think if build Greenfield you could take a completely different approach and only have the doors open facing the centre of the road. This way you build a single island platform and less risk of people running out into traffic as they step off the tram. Yes there maybe a tram on the other side, but a single island platform can be slightly wider than a side by side platform because you only have 1 platform not 2, (often barely a pram width wide) and often open to the far more frequent traffic than trams. I know in EU when we get off we have to make sure the kids don't run out. All the services for the platform now only need to be installed once, not twice.

So for me, centre is the best and safest.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
In Munch I noticed a few locations where the platforms are off-set to minimise the overall width taken by the tram ROW.  I assume in the past it was step out into the traffic, these days this is not acceptable and generally being removed.
RTT_Rules
Come to think of It on the München Tram system, the tram line does a large circle around Maxmonument at the Intersection of Maximilianstraße and Thierschstraße where there Is some kerbside running for trams going around the circle.


Zagreb has probably the best example of kerbside tram running.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

The Mont Albert - Box Hill tram extension along Whitehorse Road at one stage was going to be kerbside running, but got changed part way through construction and Is a bit messy now.

If you could have a road with a 24 hour clearway both ways along It, a tram / bus fairway would be best at kerbside.
"Nightfire"


The section between Union Road and Elgar Road is primarily residential. It would have severely restricted the speed of the trams, almost to walking pace, to safely allow for people backing out of their drives, etc. Kerbside running, either one on each side or both on one side, has very limited application. It restricts access, such as vehicles entering and leaving and the loading and unloading of goods, to properties, be they commercial or residential.

Some of what is described above is really reserved right-of-way at one side of the road similar to centre reserved right-of-way, for example Dandenong Road, Malvern and Mount Alexander Road, Essendon. Running both tracks on one side of the road close to the footpath requires a strong physical barrier between the tracks and the road. Trams on the outside track are running head-on to the traffic. St Georges Road, Northcote, has a section where both tracks are at the side of the road, however this is adjacent to the median strip. Trams on the outside track are running with the flow of traffic.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
On a median quite wide, it is possible to put a track to each side of the median and things like plantations between. I believe this was once proposed for Dandenong road shortly before the tramway was built right in the middle of the median.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

As is St Georges Road North. The question remains; why?
  gordon_s1942 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Tablelands of NSW
Its my memory that City road from Missenden Road/Carrington Ave to Broadway was on its OWN Ballasted Right of way alongside Sydney University and NOT hard surfaced for Road traffic.

The line to Maroubra after Anzac Parade ran between the road lanes on its own 'Right of Way' with places made for cars to cross.
The line from the St Kilda Junction past Malvern (Dandenong Road) was the same.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Its my memory that City road from Missenden Road/Carrington Ave to Broadway was on its OWN Ballasted Right of way alongside Sydney University and NOT hard surfaced for Road traffic.

The line to Maroubra after Anzac Parade ran between the road lanes on its own 'Right of Way' with places made for cars to cross.
The line from the St Kilda Junction past Malvern (Dandenong Road) was the same.
gordon_s1942
But as I said in relation to City Rd, the surface finish isn't the issue. The tracks were in the road reserve between the motor traffic lanes and the footpath, they were not off the road altogether. The line was also bitumen surfaced for a distance at either end as my photo outside Sydney University shows.
  tonyp Chief Commissioner

Location: Shoalhaven
Trams on the side of the ride have issues with street parking and and tight curves when they need to turn left. Probably some safety issues by modern standards.

Trams down the centre have less issues with traffic, but if building new these days trams and LR don't run in traffic lanes apart from crossing an intersection. Only legacy systems have true street running where the tram and cars share the lane. Centre running also allows a single set of poles and all tram related infrastructure to be concentrated in the one corridor.

For a modern design, centre running is by far the easiest and safest as its easier to keep the tram away from cars and people. In Munch I noticed a few locations where the platforms are off-set to minimise the overall width taken by the tram ROW.  I assume in the past it was step out into the traffic, these days this is not acceptable and generally being removed.

I think if build Greenfield you could take a completely different approach and only have the doors open facing the centre of the road. This way you build a single island platform and less risk of people running out into traffic as they step off the tram. Yes there maybe a tram on the other side, but a single island platform can be slightly wider than a side by side platform because you only have 1 platform not 2, (often barely a pram width wide) and often open to the far more frequent traffic than trams. I know in EU when we get off we have to make sure the kids don't run out. All the services for the platform now only need to be installed once, not twice.

So for me, centre is the best and safest.
RTT_Rules
Fortunately your rigid set of rules is not shared in most world tram jurisdictions which prefer to adopt the most appropriate solution for the circumstances and that can be several solutions even along one route.

Centre-island platforms have a lot of problems. They are usually enforced on tramways to minimise interruption to general vehicle traffic in jurisdictions where motor traffic is considered more important than trams. They are in fact less safe than side platforms because when the tram has left, people tend to run straight off them and across the road whereas with a side platform there is a fence to stop this happening and to channel people towards the authorised crossing. They are also dangerous when the platform has a large crowd on it and they suffer from clashing movements when two trams are in the platform at once.

Among the various other issues with centre platforms, they are an expensive problem when it comes time to extend the platforms for more or longer trams. It's much cheaper, easier and less disruptive to the tram service to extend side platforms than to rip up and relay tracks and overhead wire. This is one significant reason that Adelaide is doing its new platforms as side ones.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

At intersections with traffic lights, side platforms can be installed after the tram has crossed the intersection (asymmetrically), eg Whitehorse Road and Elgar Road corner, Box Hill. Theoretically this should make traffic light synchronisation easier by eliminating the variable dwell time of loading and unloading, although from observation I’m not sure this is used to the fullest. It also assists intersection design as the staggering does not require as much width (although this would apply equally if the staggering was done the other way).
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
An alternative is to leave the stop where it is and have a priority signal inserted by the driver when it's time to depart. At timing points, the signals would be step up not to give priority to a tram in scheduled service until departure time.

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