Questioning Streetcar Efficiency
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Questioning Streetcar Efficiency

2006-10-04_streetcars.jpg
Sure, there are tons of benefits attributed to streetcars/light rail — and most of us would choose anything over a bus — but this morning there was the sort of calamity unique to our city’s streetcar system.
On Queen Street near Church, one streetcar had broken down, leaving a whole line out of commission. The streetcar I was riding in ended up the sixth one stuck in a row behind the five cars pictured above. Traffic in the area was a mess.
There are a number of ways that the city’s streetcar efficiency could be improved:
Equip them with an inter-car radio system that would immediately provide alerts about stoppages farther along on the line, allowing them to quickly follow an alternate route.
Allow streetcars stuck behind a logjam to reverse back to the nearest alternate set of tracks and follow that route. Perhaps the cars can’t go in reverse?
It seems that streetcars travel in packs — you wait ages for one to arrive, and when it does, there are two riding directly behind it. This was undoubtedly a contributing factor in this pileup. Could more be done to space cars out along the line? Perhaps a GPS/computer widget that notes 30-second micro-corrections to their route timetable at each traffic light or stop.
Leave your other streetcar questions and answers in the comments.

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