LRT is a system of modern rail cars or a single rail car operating on a rail track in exclusive rights-of-way, or in the street with mixed traffic. Light rail cars commonly powered by an overhead catenary and electric line, or by an on-board diesel or electric motor. Main features include rail vehicles, rail tracks, overhead electric lines, modern rail stations, signal priority at intersections, and integration with transit-oriented development strategies.
An electrically propelled vehicle operated singly or in trains on predominantly reserved, but not necessarily grade-separated, rights-of-way. Compared to heavy (commuter) rail transit, LRT is characterized by smaller trains, shorter headways (time between trains on the same route), slower speeds, more frequent stops, and the possibility to operate in mixed traffic on surface streets.
Light rail transit uses smaller passenger vehicles powered by overhead wires. Light rail trains can operate within exclusive rights-of-way like railroad corridors or a freeway, or share street space with other vehicles, similar to a bus. LRT tracks are safe to cross because the power is overhead, so the tracks do not have to be grade-separated from other traffic. LRT usually operates in fully developed, urbanized areas, where it can penetrate congested areas like downtowns.