Urban transport is an important part of the World Bank Group’s investment, knowledge, and advisory portfolio. Economically, transport is the lifeblood of metropolitan regions, which represent large and increasing sources of economic growth in both high-income and low- and middle-income countries. Socially, urban transport provides access to jobs, health care, education, and social ser vices that are essential to the welfare of all. Urban transport can contribute to poverty reduction, shared prosperity,1 and social inclusion both through its impact on a city’s economy, and hence on economic growth, and through its direct impact on the daily needs of all (Gwilliam 2002). As high-capacity, high speed modes of passenger public transport in urban areas, rapid transit systems on exclusive rights-of-way—including urban rail transit (metros and commuter rail), light rail transit, and bus rapid transit (BRT)—are critical for urban transport strategies. They need to be approached as an element of an integrated public transport network that is aligned with the city’s housing, land use, and economic development vision and objectives. The World Bank Group has extensive experience supporting urban transport policies and planning, as well as financing project implementation in metropolitan regions around the world. This experience includes rapid transit projects, such as urban rail and BRT.2 The World Bank Group is therefore positioned to provide a unique, mode-agnostic, independent, and honest perspective on what elements are needed to determine the right modal solution for a given city (which may or may not include urban rail). If a city decides that urban rail is the most appropri ate mode for satisfying the mobility and accessibility needs of a given corridor, FOREWORD xxx | THE URBAN RAIL DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK then the World Bank Group can help the city to maximize the many long-term benefits of such a project. Urban rail projects may influence generations of city dwellers and have a large opportunity cost in terms of human and budgetary resources. As the number, variety, and complexity of urban rail projects are on the rise, it is relevant to understand how to approach the development of these projects to attain the greatest return on investment possible from social, envi ronmental, and economic perspectives. Urban rail projects have the potential to reduce poverty and contribute to shared prosperity, but, if poorly planned or implemented, they could be regressive and have negative impacts. This Urban Rail Development Handbook shares lessons learned from globally selected past and ongoing projects (within and beyond the World Bank Group portfolio) and provides policy makers with practical recommendations to improve implemen tation in every step of the project development process and to obtain the most value from urban rail investments throughout their life.