Streetcars are More Flexible
An article on the GreaterGreaterWashington blog explained the flexibility that streetcars bring to transit lines in Washington and other cities. A key point is that streetcars can be considerably longer than buses, which typically come in only 40 foot and 60 foot lengths. By contrast, modular modern streetcars can be built from 60 feet to 150 feet in length—all controlled by a single operator.
Further streetcars can be coupled into trains but buses can not. Often the practical maximum length for a streetcar train is the length of a city block—so the train does not block an intersection when it is at station stops.
As well, for a given length, streetcars can carry more people, more comfortably than a comparable length bus. Streetcars don't need the wheel wells that intrude on the interior of buses. Rather the floor can be flat giving more space for passengers. The steel wheels on smooth steel rails can provide a more comfortable, more stable ride than a bus running on uneven asphalt paving.
Bus routings can be changed easily, but for high capacity, stable corridors, the streetcar's advantages are clear.
New Website Introduced
Washington's dDot has unveiled a new website covering streetcar project progress at www.dcstreetcar.com.
The site includes descriptions of streetcar routes and plans plus news updates about the projects, and offers the ability to sign up for automatic notifications from the project team.