Light rail is making a comeback in the United States (U.S.) after decades of disappointing rapid rail projects. Light rail--more commonly known as streetcars or trolleys--represents a compromise for rail advocates who are shifting from expensive heavy rail to cheaper light rail. This article briefly notes the history of light rail in the U.S. and reports on significant planning factors concerning light rail. The author cautions that when determining the viability of a light rail system, the decision to build cannot be based solely on cost. City planners have opted for light rail many times because of an image they wanted to convey. Currently 23 U.S. cities have opened, are constructing, or are planning light rail systems. Many of these systems are highlighted in photographs or described in text. Also, ridership projections, federal financing, and business growth in transit corridors are discussed.

  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This article is part of a year-long series on transportation.
  • Corporate Authors:

    American Planning Association

    1313 East 60th Street
    Chicago, IL  United States  60637-2897
  • Authors:
    • Henderson, H
  • Publication Date: 1994-5


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: p. 8-13
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00663119
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 22 1994 12:00AM