The role of city geometry in determining the utility of a small urban light rail/tram system

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, place - europe, place - urban, land use - urban density, land use - urban design, land use - planning


urban transport planning, light rail, tram


In this work, we show the importance of considering a city’s shape, as much as its population density figures, in urban transport planning. We consider in particular cities that are “circular” (the most common shape) compared to those that are “rectangular”: for the latter case we show greater utility for a single line light rail/tram system. We introduce the new concepts of Infeasible Regions and Infeasibility Factors, and show how to calculate them numerically and (in some cases) analytically. A particular case study is presented for Galway City.


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