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An example of a tramway within a building

Tramways can and do have an important role in urban mass transit, especially where the anticipated passenger traffic local geology does not quantify construction of UUMI, but where there is a need to provide frequent services which cannot be fully achieved through the provision of bus services.

In Europe some cities, such as Amsterdam, Netherlands, converted  sections of its urban tramways into metros and pre-metros, where the railway-based vehicles share road space before employing segregated rights of way in tunnels in the denser urban district (Van Lohuizen, 1989). 

To minimise traffic congestion and to enable the effective operation of tramways, however, it is beneficial for the tramway to have its own reserved or segregated sections away from other traffic. Where feasible, that reserved or segregated section of tramway can be incorporated within urban development. Fig.1, shows one such example, in DenHaag, city centre, Netherlands, where the tramway passes through a building.

Fig.1: An urban tramway in DenHaag city centre, Netherlands, passing through a building. Source: Nathan Darroch.


As with UUMI and utilities subways,  within the subsoil of densely developed urban environments, there are occurrences of the presence, property, and protection interfaces, between the urban infrastructure and their environment. Figs.2, presents a hypothetical representation of the property interfaces of the multiple urban stakeholders within this example.

Fig.2: An urban tramway in DenHaag city centre, Netherlands, passing through a building, with suggested property interfaces overlaid. Source: Nathan Darroch.


Areas shaded light blue represent freehold ownership of the land, airspace, building; shaded red represents tramway land, airspace and infrastructure ownership; hatched blue represents the right of the building owner to retain the building within the land and airspace of the tramway ownership. This interpretation is based on the findings of the research to date by the AIR research project team (Darroch, 2012; 2014; 2020; Darroch et al., 2016; 2018; 2020a).

This example suggests that even though urban infrastructure may be located on the surface, the presence, property, and protection interfaces represented by the CF still apply. Where urban management is proposed, the outcomes of those proposals must accommodate the safe presence and operation of the tramway, but the building owner, tenants, and highway users, as urban stakeholders.

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