A study into South Gloucestershire's transport links is to get underway.
The tram could be up and running by 2007
It follows a decision in January that the £200m Bristol tram scheme - expected to open in 2007 - would not run beyond Parkway to Cribbs Causeway.
South Gloucestershire Council has now appointed a firm of planning consultants to review the case for rapid transport in the area, and to look at alternatives to the tram.
The study will look at developing a case for a rapid transit service with a focus on areas of urban development.
Councillor Pat Hockey said: "The council is continuing with efforts to deliver a step change rapid transit type of public transport service for our residents.
"The priority is to fill the gap left by the decision not to proceed with a LRT link between Parkway Station and Cribbs Causeway.
"And also to give some wider consideration to the north and east fringes where employment and housing growth is forecast to be greatest."