The San Diego Trolley

by Maurice Carter, Dir. of Planning and and Operations; Metropolitan Transit Dev. Board, San Diego, Calif.,
Roger Clark, Dir. of Engrg. and Construction; Metropolitan Transit Dev. Board, San Diego, Calif.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1982, Vol. 52, Issue 6, Pg. 50-53

Document Type: Feature article


(1981 OCEA Special Achievement Award in Cost-Effective Public Transit.) The 16-mile long San Diego Trolley system, a light-rail transit project providing tourists and commuters with a link between downtown San Diego and the Mexican Border, was built without federal assistance, or federal red tape. Partly due to the retention of local control, and partly due to other factors, the Trolley was the least expensive transit system per mile to be built in this country in the last 40 years. This article examines the design of the system in detail, and explores the areas in which the designers were able to save time and money. These areas include: the use of light-rail technology, which allowed planners to avoid costly grade separations; simple, standardized design for most stations on the route; the purchase of 13 miles of existing railway tracks; and the use of a self-service, barrier-free system of fare collection.

Subject Headings: California | United States

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