A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is a passenger transport system in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on elevated viaducts above street level. Outside urban centers, rapid transit lines may run on grade separated ground level tracks.
Service on rapid transit systems is provided on designated lines between stations using electric multiple units on rail tracks, although some systems use guided rubber tyres, magnetic levitation, or monorail. They are typically integrated with other public transport and often operated by the same public transport authorities. Rapid transit is faster and has a higher capacity than trams or light rail (but does not exclude a fully grade separated LRT), but is not as fast or as far-reaching as commuter rail. It is unchallenged in its ability to transport large amounts of people quickly over short distances with little land use. Variations of rapid transit include people movers, small-scale light metro and the commuter rail hybrid S-Bahn.
The first rapid transit system was the London Underground, which opened in 1863. The technology quickly spread to other cities in Europe, and then to the United States where a number of elevated systems were built. At first these systems used steam locomotives, with the term later coming to entirely mean electric systems. More recently the largest growth has been in Asia and with driverless systems. More than 178 cities have rapid transit systems, totaling more than 8,000 km (5,000 mi) of track and 7,000 stations. Twenty-five cities have new systems under construction.
The biggest rapid transit system in the world by length of routes (including non-revenue track) and by number of stations is the New York City Subway; by length of passenger lines, the largest are the Shanghai Metro and London Underground. The busiest metro systems in the world by daily and annual ridership are the Tokyo subway, the Seoul Metropolitan Subway, and the Moscow Metro.
Famous quotes containing the words rapid and/or transit:
“But parents can be understanding and accept the more difficult stages as necessary times of growth for the child. Parents can appreciate the fact that these phases are not easy for the child to live through either; rapid growth times are hard on a child. Perhaps its a small comfort to know that the harder-to-live-with stages do alternate with the calmer times,so parents can count on getting periodic breaks.”
—Saf Lerman (20th century)
“We only seem to learn from Life that Life doesnt matter so much as it seemed to doits not so burningly important, after all, what happens. We crawl, like blinking sea-creatures, out of the Ocean onto a spur of rock, we creep over the promontory bewildered and dazzled and hurting ourselves, then we drop in the ocean on the other side: and the little transit doesnt matter so much.”
—D.H. (David Herbert)