Economics, Community and Methods
Edited by Richard D. Knowles and Fiona Ferbrache
Chapter 4: Exploring the potential of light rail transit to encourage urban regeneration and support more sustainable commuting to and from Valletta
In 2008 the Government of Malta published its intention to reform public transport. As part of the studies that led to the first reform, government identified light rail transit (LRT) as a complementary service to the public transport system and commissioned Halcrow (UK) to review the alignment work for two proposed LRT lines, types of rolling stock available, infrastructure requirements and costs. The proposal was driven by a strong political decision to prioritize modal shift. Malta has one of the highest rates of motorization in Europe and in 2012 car dependence cost the economy more than 4 per cent of the gross domestic product in external costs alone. However, no major policy decision has been taken with respect to modal shift since then, and the proposal for LRT remains on paper. In the meantime traffic, unregulated parking and congestion plague towns, which are stifled by parked cars, substandard walkways and fast one-way roads. Close to Valletta, an ageing population, gradual depopulation and difficulties of access are negatively affecting any regeneration outlook. The concept of using LRT systems as a vehicle for economic development and strategic spatial planning has been widely studied. This chapter explores the potential of LRT to support the effective movement of commuters to and from Valletta and encourage regeneration in the region. A preliminary assessment is carried out on the Ta’ Qali–Valletta route, which combines a number of bus corridors and covers an extensive built-up area with a high residential population, commercial town centres, industrial zones and an out-of-town recreational park. The conclusions are expected to support the development of LRT in the islands of Malta.
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