The Purpose, Function, and Performance of Streetcar Transit in the Modern U.S. City: A Multiple-Case-Study Investigation
February 02, 2015Mineta Transportation Institute
The streetcar has made a remarkable resurgence in the United States in recent years. However, despite the proliferation of streetcar projects, there is remarkably little work on the streetcar’s role as a transportation service. This study examines the experiences of the modern-era streetcars operated in Little Rock, Memphis, Portland, Seattle, and Tampa. The authors discovered that in these cities, the primary purpose of the streetcar was to serve as a development tool (all cities), a second objective was to serve as a tourism-promoting amenity (Little Rock, Tampa), and transportation objectives were largely afterthoughts with the notable exception of Portland, and to a lesser degree, Seattle.