Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

land use - planning, economics - benefits, mode - tram/light rail, place - europe, economics - profitability, land use - transit oriented development


Zurich, streetcar, regional rail, light rail best practices, land use


The Glattalbahn is an innovative new public transport system serving the rapidly urbanizing suburbs of Zurich, Switzerland. The service combines features of traditional urban and suburban transport. In the city, it operates like a streetcar using Zurich's tram network, but in suburban communities, it operates at higher speeds, with longer stop spacing—more like regional rail service. The Glattalbahn incorporates the latest light rail transport best practices, including a broad community-planning process, coordinated transport and land use planning, continuous facade-to-facade planning, and the use of high-quality components, to reduce life-cycle costs and increase attractiveness. Three routes operate on the newly built infrastructure linking Zurich to the airport. The project cost 652 million Swiss francs (U. S. $602 million). The Glattalbahn has been successful by exceeding its patronage estimates, encouraging significant development, and generating highly positive ratings from customers and the community.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by TRB, copyright remains with them.