rapid transit

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rapid transit,

transportation system designed to allow passenger travel within or throughout an urban area, usually employing surface, elevated, or underground railway systems or some combination of these. Rapid transit systems are generally considered to be mass transit systems, capable of moving large numbers of passengers in a single train. The large capacities of such systems make them potentially more efficient, in terms of cost and environmental effects, than automobile transportation. The principal problem to be solved in an urban rapid transit system is that of providing extra capacity to handle the volume of traffic during the morning and evening rush hours without unreasonable delays. Basically a rapid transit train consists of a number of electrically powered, self-propelled cars, each of which draws electricity from a "third rail" that runs near the tracks. Since there is an engine in each car, greater traction is produced than would be generated by a locomotive pulling a series of unpowered cars. The controls for the car motors are arranged so that an operator at either end of the train can control all of them. This arrangement eliminates involved turnarounds at the terminals.

While railways of any type may have portions of their tracks below, on, or above ground level, the term subway (or, depending on where in the world it is located, metro, underground or underground railway, or tube) is generally reserved for systems using the arrangement of cars described above and having most of their track underground. London's underground, which went into service in 1863, is the oldest in the world; initially steam-powered, it was fully electrified by 1896, the same year that the first subway began operating on the European continent in Budapest, Hungary. Boston installed (1897) the first subway in the United States; others followed in Paris (1900), Berlin (1902), New York (1904), Madrid (1919), Tokyo (1927), and Moscow (1935). Toronto's subway, completed in 1954, was the first in Canada; Montreal's subway was completed in 1966. The Beijing system, China's first, opened in 1969; the Shanghai metro, opened in 1995, is now the world's longest. By the 21st cent. there were some 160 metropolitan rapid transit systems in the world, more than half of which were traditional subway systems. In the United States, in addition to Boston and New York, there are subways in Atlanta (1979), Baltimore (1983), Chicago (1943), Cleveland (1955), Los Angeles (1993), Miami (1984), Philadelphia (1908), San Francisco (1972), and Washington, D.C. (1976); many more U.S. cities have rapid transit systems.

Some subways consist of only a single line, but others, such as the Métropolitain in Paris, the New York City Transit system, and the London underground, are networks. The Shanghai system has the longest total route (270 mi/434 km), and the Tokyo system carries the most passengers annually (3.2 billion). By far the largest underground transportation system in the United States is that of New York City. It carries 1.75 billion people and has more than 840 mi (1,352 km) of track, 660 mi (1,062 km) of which are mainline track, on some 210 mi (338 km) of total route; it also has more than 6,300 cars and 469 stations—more than any other system in the world. Moscow has an elaborate subway system with tunnels 15 to 20 ft (4.5 to 6 m) high instead of the usual 10 ft (3 m). Marble was used lavishly in constructing the stations, and Russia's best-known artists participated in their decoration.

In recent years concern over urban crowding and automotive air pollution has stimulated the construction and expansion of many rapid transit systems that incorporate automated operation and magnetic-card fare systems; among the first examples were the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in California, the Metro system in Washington D.C., and a section of the London underground. See also mass transitmass transit,
public transportation systems designed to move large numbers of passengers. Types and Advantages

Mass transit refers to municipal or regional public shared transportation, such as buses, streetcars, and ferries, open to all on a nonreserved basis.
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See C. W. Cheape, Moving the Masses (1980); T. Rallis, City Transport in Developed and Developing Countries (1988); C. Hood, 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York (1995); B. J. Cudahy, Under the Sidewalks of New York (2d rev. ed. 1996); S. Fischler, The Subway: A Trip Through Time on New York's Rapid Transit (1997).

References in periodicals archive ?
8 kilometre elevated rail line was being considered for the proposed Rowville Rail Line.
The West Chelsea area is undergoing a renaissance spearheaded by the influx of an galleries, the construction of the new 190,000/sf Frank Gehry designed headquarters for Barry Diller's IAC/InterActive Corp and the potential conversion of the abandoned CSX elevated rail line into a park.
The West Chelsea area is undergoing a renaissance spearheaded by the influx of art galleries, the announced construction of the new 190,000/sf Frank Gehry designed headquarters building for Barry Diller's IAC/InterActive Corp and the potential conversion of the abandoned CSX elevated rail line into a 1.
The High Line is a one-and-a-half mile long elevated rail line running along the edge of the Hudson River from 34th Street in Midtown to Gansevoort Street in Manhattan's meatpacking district.
The unified ticketing scheme for all three elevated rail lines in Metro Manila will be a reality early next month as commuters could start using the Beep Cards at Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3 starting October 3.
The "newest" of the three elevated rail lines in Metro Manila, the LRT 2 is designed to carry 470,000 passengers daily but only ferries an average of 200,000 since it started commercial operation in 2003.
On the negative side, the governmentoperated elevated rail lines stopped operations very early, just when people needed transportation to get home.
The elevated rail lines should have been efficient and fast, but there are not enough trains to accommodate all the commuters needing a ride.
Once the AFCS is running, LRT and MRT passengers can expect faster payment processes and reduced queuing time for buying tickets, apart from the seamless transfers across the three elevated rail lines.
The elevated rail lines remain one of the most inexpensive means of transportation around Metro Manila.
72-billion contract to establish a single-ticketing system for the elevated rail lines.

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