Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Resource Center

A Planner's Guide to Fixed Guideway Electrification Projects

This article sets out to highlight some of the major elements of fixed guideway and railroad electrification systems, and to point out what transportation planners should be aware of as they evaluate alternatives for new public transportation projects in their communities. While planners continue to debate the cost effectiveness of rail transit as a force in urban development and land use, in those cases where rail transit is a viable option, electrification inevitably is a factor, whether one is considering streetcars, light rail, heavy-rail, commuter rail or even BRT systems.