They were ripped out in 1948 but a streetcar line is coming back to Providence. I was trolling the RIPTA meeting notes and I saw that they’ve now obtained $75 million to begin on a new streetcar line.
Streetcars are low speed, 8-12MPH. But they get people around.
RIPTA is also planning out a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route or three. That would be great too. The below is an example of Boston’s BRT, the Silver Line:
They’re doing a lot of this with stimulus money btw. So the stimulus is working despite what the naysayers might say.
They’re also committed to buying 163 new hybrid buses. The thing that cracks me up is that a normal bus gets about 3MPG, the hybrid boosts that to 7MPG which still nets RITPA a significant fuel saving over the years.
And from what I hear, the predominant hybrid method isn’t the kludge they use on cars, but instead there are electric motors at the wheels, and a smaller diesel engine attached to a generator keeps a battery array charged. So it runs less overall. This is the system that trains use except they just skip the battery part and send the current right to the drive wheels.