The Aesthetic Integration of a Tramway System in the Urban Landscape - Evaluation of the Visual Nuisance
Visual nuisance is one of the environmental consequences caused by the operation of a railway transport system and especially that of an urban surface system, such as a tramway. It constitutes a design and construction parameter of the system and it entails the system’s aesthetics as a whole, since that determines the degradation or improvement of the landscape in which the tramway is to be integrated in. It is of interest to the system’s users but mainly to all the residents of the urban area that the system will be running through.
The structural elements of a tramway system, associated with visual nuisance, are the stops, the depot(s), the electrification installations, the interior and exterior of the vehicles, the track superstructure, the covering materials of the tramway corridors, the signaling equipment and finally the way the tramway infrastructure is separated from the rest of the traffic.
By studying the current approaches for evaluating visual nuisance as is conducted in large transport projects today, a lack of an objective evaluation method can be observed.
In this paper a methodology is proposed for evaluating the visual nuisance caused by the integration of a tramway system in an urban area. It is mainly of interest to the evaluators of urban railway systems, as it can replace their intuitive subjective choices with a rather objective common approach to the evaluation of visual nuisance. It is also of interest to the designers as it provides them with a list of best practices for the reduction of visual nuisance.
The findings of this research may be applied at the design stage of a new tramway system, at the evaluation of an existing system or finally for the evaluation of corrective interventions aimed at upgrading an existing system.
KeywordsVisual nuisance Tramway projects Tramway aesthetics
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