Applying the Brakes to the Streetcar Revival

With Los Angeles, Charlotte, Washington D.C. and many more cities hoping on board, seats are filling up quickly on America's streetcar bandwagon. However, experts caution gung ho cities about unreal expectations for improving mobility.

"In many ways the attraction to streetcars is understandable," writes Eric Jaffe. "Advocates such as Darrin Nordahl like to point out that streetcars are far more charming than buses and are capable of drawing all types of riders — not just commuters. Done right, as in Portland, streetcar lines can be parlayed into millions or even billions of dollars of economic development for a corridor. Well-planned routes can also expand a city's transit footprint into areas where subway or metro expansion wouldn't be financially feasible."

"In just as many ways if not more, however, the attraction is a very curious one," he adds. "For one thing, as [Jarrett] Walker makes clear in his op-ed (and a popular old post from his blog, Human Transit), they don't offer much in the way of mobility improvements. At the end of the day, there's very little they can offer that transit buses can't."

Full Story: The Case for Caution When It Comes to Building Streetcars

Comments

Build Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.
$24.95
building block set

NEW! Build the world you want to see

Irresistible block set for adults when placed on a coffee table or desk, and great fun for kids.
$25
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95

Wear your city with style!

100% silk scarves feature detailed city maps. Choose from six cities with red or blue trim.
$55.00