Applying the Versatility of Streetcar Technology to North American Urban Transit

This study examines emerging streetcar technology from the standpoint of best practices and versatility of deployment in Europe, Australia, and North America, and evaluates the potential for utilizing this mode more extensively, flexibly, and creatively in North American applications to enhance mobility and urban development. The cost of high-performance electric light rail transit, usually designed for higher-speed regional service, has climbed such that this mode is now often perceived as less accessible to the resources of smaller transit agencies or less suitable for some lower-traffic corridors. Streetcar technology, however—particularly the rapid streetcar concept—may offer some versatility in addressing these drawbacks, reducing the costs of new starts while providing higher levels of service than bus alternatives. Furthermore, streetcars may offer versatility for addressing the needs of cities to improve urban livability and fulfill urban redevelopment objectives. Prospects for the creative and versatile use of streetcar technology for meeting the needs of smaller urban areas and lower-traffic corridors for quality transit may be enhanced in the United States by the new Small Starts program for projects requiring less than $75 million in federal funding.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; Photos; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 561-578
  • Monograph Title: Joint International Light Rail Conference: A World of Applications and Opportunities, April 9-11, 2006, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044141
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 16 2007 11:53AM