As part of the LRT (light rail transit) system, tramways serve as a complement to underground rail network.
MAPNA Group and the Municipality of Isfahan, central Iran, penned a draft agreement in 2016 for construction of the first tramway system in the country. The first phase of Isfahan tramway network will run for eight kilometers, connecting two populous stations in Isfahan underground railway system.
MAPNA Group’s Rail Division was founded in 2006, with the aim of manufacturing passenger locomotives. Remarkable success in first projects, particularly in manufacturing Iran Safir locomotives, encouraged MAPNA Group to venture into other rail businesses, including underground rail systems and tramways. In 2013, MAPNA Group became the first Iranian company to launch research projects, technology transfer schemes, and plans to construct and develop tramway systems in Iran. The draft agreement signed between MAPNA Group and Isfahan Municipality in 2016 is the first actual step taken by MAPNA Group to construct tramway networks. The eventual prospect of the tramway network in Isfahan includes 40 kilometers of tram rail which is to be executed in three phases. The first track will be 17 kilometers long, starting with an eight-kilometer batch that connects two major underground hubs.
Since the mid-1990s, when Tehran urban railway transportation system started operation, several other cities with medium to large population have demanded construction of metro lines in their areas. However, there is consensus among transportation experts that underground railway systems befit megapolises with congested traffic. In smaller cities such as Qom, Rasht, and Hamedan, and many other provincial centers which do not have a PPHPD (passengers per hour per direction) beyond 30 thousand, construction of underground railway systems, a capital-intensive undertaking, is not necessary. Along with popular public transportation means such as taxis and buses, tramways are one of the most efficient transportation systems. Compared to buses, they generate less pollution and can also serve as tourist attractions.