Streetcars - Past, Present & Future: Episode 3

(or listen on Spotify | YouTube)

The streetcar was once a mainstay of local transportation. Electric streetcar networks used to span the United States, with many thousands of miles of track. We discuss this history, the decline of streetcars, and wonder what life would be like if we'd kept these systems (like Toronto did). But don't distress—streetcars are back! Starting with the Portland streetcar, the U.S. has been fraught by a streetcar-building fervor. Is this a good thing? Are we building sensible transit? What benefits do streetcars bring to the table? Listen in to find out.


References & notes

  1. [1] The Great Falls Historic Trolley
  2. [2] The Bus 21 does have higher ridership than the S-Line; it's also much longer. 2019 data; 2021 data. (To my surprise, the S-Line actually covers the same distance as the Bus 21 in less time. I would love to see an extension—either as streetcar or LRT—along the rest of the Bus 21 route.)
  3. [3] Figures from 2019 summary data for UTA
  4. [4] Related, UTA is doing a lot to revamp their bus (and rail, too) stop signage, making them more useful and more attractive to potential riders.
  5. [5] Wikipedia: DC Streetcar
  6. [6] Vox: Everything you need to know about the streetcar craze
  7. [7] Travel Portland: Portland Streetcar
  8. [8] Railway Age: Rebirth of the Streetcar
  9. [9] When is a Modern Streetcar not a Modern Streetcar?
  10. [10] Curbed: 10 new streetcar lines taking shape across the U.S.
  11. [11] Wikipedia: Streetcars in Lost Angeles § Electric streetcar systems (1887–1969)
  12. [12] Los Angeles Streetcar: Streetcar History
  13. [13] If Trolley Cars Could Talk
  14. [14] Wikipedia: Salt Lake City § Public transportation
  15. [15] Portland Streetcar
  16. [16] Wikipedia: List of United States light rail systems by ridership
  17. [17] Wikipedia: Portland Streetcar
  18. [18] Wikipedia: Toronto streetcar system
  19. [19] Wikipedia: Streetcars in North America