City Centers and Light Rail

Between World War II and the 1970s, many North American cities discontinued electric rail transit services, including some that would be considered light rail lines today if they had survived. Many were abandoned, some survived to take part in the light rail renaissance that started in the late 1970s, and a few abandoned lines were partially incorporated into modern light rail operations. This paper examines the various factors influencing the outcome, such as city size, downtown employment, right-of-way type, and community attitudes toward rail transit. Although light rail has generally survived in cities with stronger downtowns, downtown employment does not fully explain outcomes in other cities. The most important factors appear to be whether light rail properties were incorporated into public agencies when decisions were being made about their futures, and how supportive local attitudes were toward transit.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Maps; References;
  • Pagination: 20p
  • Monograph Title: TRB 86th Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers CD-ROM

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01047632
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 07-1577
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Feb 8 2007 6:13PM