The building of the modern Atlanta Streetcar represents the first step in the dawning of a new era for transit – one that will begin to transform how we get around in our community. The section currently under construction represents Phase One of a grand vision for the Atlanta Streetcar. In the coming years, additional lines are planned, and project developers intend to expand service to additional neighborhoods and other popular destinations around the city.
Ultimately, the Atlanta Streetcar is destined to become part of a whole new system of local and regional transportation. Phase One will offer last mile connectivity to the city center for MARTA, the Atlanta BeltLine and other transit options, and additional phases will expand that service even further. The Atlanta Streetcar will make access easier within the city, and it will also function as a metaphorical link between the city’s rich history with rail transportation and it’s evolution into a robust centerpiece of the New South and 21st century connectivity.
On Track With Phase One
The East-West route will serve as Phase One of the Atlanta Streetcar project, connecting the Centennial Olympic Park area to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.
- Route: East-West route running 2.7 track miles with 12 stops
- Vehicle: Electric streetcar vehicle – a modern electric streetcar made by Siemens
- Operation: Overhead power system (single trolley wire) that operates on-street in lanes shared with other traffic
- Frequency: Planned service includes a 15-minute frequency on average with a 10-minute one-way running time
- Hours: Service will operate 7 days a week; 5:00 am to 11:00 pm weekdays, 8:30 am to 11:00 pm Saturdays, and 9:00 am to 10:30 pm Sundays*
- Fares: Will be consistent with MARTA fares and will use the Breeze smart-card technology*
- Ridership: Project estimates anticipate 2,600 riders each weekday
- Benefits: A more sustainable and viable alternative to buses with less noise and fewer emissions
- Operating Cost: Operational costs to be covered by fare box revenue, advertising, Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID), Atlanta car rental and hotel motel tax and federal funds
- Maintenance: A vehicle maintenance facility will be located along the route under the I-75/85 bridge at Auburn and Edgewood Avenues
*Note: Operational details are subject to modification as the project progresses.
Modern Streetcars: A New Direction for Transit in Atlanta
For more than half a century, electric streetcars navigated the narrow streets of Atlanta, providing a modern conveyance for residents, business people, and city visitors. In addition to offering service in the city proper, the streetcar lines linked with railways for train service to outlying towns and communities.
In the mid 20th century, Atlanta’s electric streetcars made way for trackless trolley and bus services, ushering in a new era in Atlanta’s ever-evolving landscape. Over the years, the streetcar tracks were removed as cars became the standard mode of transportation for most citizens. Now, after another half century, the needs of the city are once again evolving.
A modern streetcar is a rail vehicle that is designed to operate on the urban scale in mixed traffic. The guideway is composed of rail that is embedded in the roadway, and designed for vehicular traffic as well. The Atlanta Streetcar is a single vehicle that is fully ADA compliant, air conditioned, and electrically powered by a single overhead wire.
Phase One of the Atlanta Streetcar will make 12 stops along the alignment in between the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site and Centennial Olympic Park. The stops will be 14 inches above the roadway, and the vehicles are bike and wheelchair friendly. There will be a few intersections with special signals and sensors so the streetcar can safely make turns, but for the most part it will operate by the same rules as an automobile.