Case Study: The resurgence of the modern streetcar

Posted: 06/19/14

With a total of $99 billion projected investment into rail projects in 2014, $675 million will be allocated to streetcar projects, according to Metro Magazine. Across North America, the modern streetcar has risen to the forefront of progressive transportation planning, with multiple systems in the pipeline, and even more existing lines in the process of expansion.

“The nation is in the middle of a streetcar renaissance, as one city after another includes a slice of the past in its modern transportation mix,” states a USA TODAY article.

This year alone, Tucson, Atlanta and Washington D.C. are slated to open up their lines, and construction began in April on a second streetcar line in Seattle. Streetcar projects are in various stages of design or development in more than a dozen other cities, including Dallas, Salt Lake City and Kansas City, Mo.

“Since the Atlanta streetcar was announced in 2010, it has generated more than $700 million of new development along the route,” said Timothy Borchers, executive director of The Atlanta Streetcar and deputy commissioner of public works.

“There isn’t just a national renaissance of streetcars, there is an international renaissance,” says Borchers, who’s worked on streetcar projects for 36 years. “This is happening whether you’re in Germany, London or Sydney, Australia. This very year, a new 9-mile system, similar to our system, is going up in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Streetcars are becoming popular again because they work.”

M-1 RAIL joins a growing list of cities that have streetcar projects in the works; Detroit’s line will travel 3.3. miles along Woodward Avenue, connecting residents, employees and businesses to each other, and creating a greater sense of community.

The M-1 RAIL will break ground in the summer of 2014.

Construction Map

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