A Streetcar to Desire: An Argument for Converting Roads to Rails

Terra Nova author Eric W. Sanderson builds a refreshingly wonky case for a modern streetcar revival.

In an excerpt from his new book Terra Nova published on Places, ecologist Eric W. Sanderson investigates the physics of human transport.

He compares the energy consumption of walking, biking, roller skating, NEVs, various automobile classes, diesel and electric buses, streetcars, light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, jet planes, and ferries, and comes to the conclusion that streetcars are the best way to travel.

After looking at the reasons historical streetcars systems failed, Sanderson lays out his plan for a modern streetcar revival, supported by municipal investment in urban rail and short-term concession agreements.

Full Story: Roads to Rails


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.
building block set

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.

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245