Difference Between LRT and MRT

Both systems are used widely in Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia. The Mass Rapid Transit system boasts an enhanced speed level that permits the trains to cover greater ground.

While the Light Rail Transit system also travels at a high speed, but its operational limits are restricted to the confines of the city.


The main difference between LRT and MRT is that LRT is a preferred mode of transportation within the confines of the city, MRT is suited for transportation outside the city.


Both LRT and MRT are rapid transportation systems created with the objective of easing the commuting process in Malaysia.

LRT covers the area lying within the domains of the city, while MRT is used to facilitate travel for those traveling outside the city limits.

Comparison Table Between LRT and MRT

Parameters of ComparisonLRTMRT
Operational ZonesLRT operates within the confined limits of the city.MRT trains enable travel from the city areas to the zones outside the city limits.
Full-FormThe full form of LRT is Light Rail Transit.The full form of MRT is Mass Rapid Transit.
SpeedLRT trains are slower than MRT carriages.The MRT system is faster than the LRT system.
LengthLRT system trains comprise of 2-4 cars each.MRT system trains comprise of 6 cars each.
Routes of OperationLRT has more operational routes.MRT has fewer operational routes.
Number of CommutersCommutes about 600 passengers in a single trip.   Commutes about 1,950 passengers in a single trip.
TracksElevated tracks to ease level crossing conflicts.Underground tracks to avoid level crossings.

What is LRT?

LRT or Light Rail Transit was designed to simplify intra-city commutes. It is a system of trains that makes traveling within the city limits smooth and efficient by connecting commuters in the towns to the important city centers.

LRT was introduced in Singapore in 1999 as a rapid transportation system.

The project was a part of the Singapore Rail Networks. The LRT system is characterized by multiple stops to cater to the bustling city crowd.

The LRT trains are comparatively slower and smaller than the MRT ones. However, they have been a preferred mode of feeder transportation in several Malaysian cities.

LRT has three main operational lines in Singapore, namely, the Bukit Panjang LRT, the Sengkang LRT, and the Punggol LRT. This transit system is designed to save space in the city.

Most of its tracks are elevated to achieve this goal. Several news routes have been added in different cities to widen its daily usage.

What is MRT?

The MRT or Mass Rapid Transit system is famed for its rapid transportation facilities that cater to intercity travelers. MRT connects city centers with the housing zones that lie outside the limits of the city.

The MRT network is quite expansive in most Asian countries like the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and others.

Hailed as the backbone of Singapore, the MRT system was first inaugurated in 1987. Today the service has 141 stations across 6 operational lines in Singapore.

Some important MRT lines include the North-South Line, the Circle Line, the Downtown Line, the East-West Line, and the North-East Line.

MRT has underground tracks that save space and reduce emissions. The enhanced speed of these trains reduces a normal commute of 30 minutes to merely a 5 minutes ride.

With an average of 6 carriages, its length is befitting the heavy footfall the system handles daily.

Main Differences Between LRT and MRT

  1. The main difference between LRT and MRT is that the former is poised to cover shorter distances within the confines of the city, while the latter is designed to help commuters travel daily from outside the confines of the city into the city centers.
  2. The full-forms of each abbreviation is also distinctly different. LRT stands for Light Rail Transit, while MRT stands for Mass Rapid Transit.
  3. The next difference between the two can be noted in terms of their respective speeds of operation. While LRT operates at a considerably high speed, MRT boasts a higher speed of operation. This enables the latter to cover greater ground during the course of the day.
  4. The length of each train system also varies. The LRT system is comparatively shorter in length than the MRT. The MRT system trains comprise of 6 carriages making them longer than the 2-4 carriages of the LRT system.
  5. The MRT system can transport nearly 1,950 passengers in a single trip, while the LRT system can ferry 600 passengers at a given time.
  6. Routes of operation for the two transportation systems also vary. LRT has more routes of commute allotted to it than the MRT system trains. This enables the former to transport a higher total volume of travelers each day than MRT, although it is smaller and slower than MRT.
  7. Elevated tracks are used for LRT trains to avoid level crossing conflicts, while MRT uses underground tracks without level crossings.
Difference Between LRT and MRT


Both the LRT and MRT are transits systems operational in various Asian countries. They are especially famed in Singapore and Indonesia for the easy and rapid transportation functionality they offer.

Both these systems are considerably different from each other.

While the LRT is used by people to commute within the city limits, its carriages are slower and smaller than the MRT trains.

The MRT was designed to easy travel in the regions outside the city limits, especially for the workers living in the housing zones there who needed to travel daily to various city centers. These trains are faster and larger than the LRT ones.

The LTR witnesses a greater daily footfall due to its extended number of routes. MRT has fewer operational routes. MRT also offers a bus service to further ease all transportation woes.

Both are preferred options for commuting between areas that are well-known congestion zones.

However, the choice between LRT and MRT would depend upon the individual’s planned travel trajectory and the preset destination he is trying to reach.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0966692303000589
  2. https://www.ejrcf.or.jp/jrtr/jrtr16/pdf/f33_satre.pdf
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275103000143
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