The Light Rail Transit Association (LRTA) was formed in 1937. Until 1979 it was known as the Light Railway Transport League (LRTL). It was formed at a time when Britain's urban tramways were starting to decline; it aims to promote the retention and development of tramways as an efficient form of urban public transport. The Association is based in the UK but has an international membership and remit.

Throughout the 1950s the tram systems of the UK continued to decline. The London tram network closed in 1952. Following the closure of the Glasgow system in 1962 the sole survivor was the Blackpool system.

Despite such closures, the LRTL/LRTA continued to campaign for modern light rail in the UK, as typified by some "Stadtbahn" systems in Germany. The Association publishes the monthly magazine Tramways and Urban Transit (formerly Modern Tramway).

The opening of the Tyne and Wear Metro in 1980, followed by the Manchester Metrolink in 1989 and other new tram systems in Sheffield, Birmingham, Croydon and Nottingham, are very much in line with the aims of the Association.

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