Aalborg University

Attractive mobile corridors – the power of light rail infrastructures

Light rail is a popular tool in urban development strategies in many European cities. One argument for choosing a rail-based solution is that it signals stability to investors and will attract development and investments in the corridor. The choice of corridor in the various light rail cities are based on different rationalities: regeneration of urban space, providing alternatives to auto-mobility and facilitation for a car-free urban lifestyle etc. The main argument of this paper is that light rail mobility is not only providing access, but also works as a gentrification process that redistributes urban space. Furthermore light rail is not only a physical infrastructure but also an infrastructure of power; creating both patterns of mobilities and immobilities. Hence it is important to underline that mobility systems, such as light rail, should be understood in relations to power. The study is based in the new mobilities paradigm and the main argument is supported by previous studies showing that mobility systems and mobile technologies are not just neutral tools for the contemporary urban planner, but they should be seen in relation to different values. The empirical evidence presented in this article is based on case studies in three European light rail cities: Bern, Freiburg and Bergen.