A Modern Streetcar for North America
The City of Portland, Oregon, is supplementing the existing Tri-Met Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) regional light rail system with a 2.5-mile streetcar line designed to serve the neighborhoods in the central city core. This application required a vehicle considerably different than the standard light rail vehicle (LRV) – one designed to operate exclusively on urban streets in mixed traffic. The operational requirements mandated a narrower vehicle capable of operating in 3 m wide traffic lanes with high adhesion for stopping and grades. The neighborhood requirements mandated a shorter vehicle which “fit the neighborhood
environment”. Cost constraints precluded the development of a new custom vehicle. The solution was importing an “off-the-shelf” European streetcar and upgrading it to meet United States safety standards, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, and passenger comfort. The selected streetcar
was manufactured in the Czech Republic using systems from several European countries.