Streetcar service has returned to Cincinnati with the opening of the Cincinnati Bell Connector in September 2016.


Location

  • Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Sector

  • Rail and Transit
  • Light Rail and Streetcars
  • Transportation and Infrastructure
  • (View all)

Service

Project Status

  • Completed in 2016


Streetcars Return to Downtown Cincinnati

For the first time since 1951, streetcars are providing convenient and affordable public transportation in downtown Cincinnati.

On Sept. 9, 2016, the city celebrated its new Cincinnati Bell Connector service with a weeklong celebration that included free rides for the public. An estimated 50,000 passengers took advantage of the new streetcar service during the inaugural weekend.

WSP was the project manager and prime designer of the streetcar, and also provided construction support services through its completion. The 3.6-mile loop is operated by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA).

 

Key Numbers

Length of New Line
3.6 miles
Daily Passengers in First Week
32,000
Stations and Platforms
18
img-cincinnati-streetcar

Opening celebration for the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar at the Washington Park streetcar stop, across from the Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine.

Seamless Transfers

The $148 million streetcar provides a speedy connection between Cincinnati’s central riverfront and historic Findlay Market, serving the city’s resurgent downtown and Over-the-Rhine neighborhoods. While the area is also served by the existing bus system, the streetcar provides a dedicated line to connect residents, employment, activities and opportunities in the city’s core.

The streetcar was also designed to interface with the downtown’s Government Square transit hub, which allows riders to transfer between buses and streetcars. (WSP was project manager on the Government Square redevelopment project, completed in 2006.)

The streetcar line includes 18 raised platforms and custom station shelters that provide shelter from inclement weather. Since some of the stations were located within a historic district, compliance with the State Historical Office of Preservation was necessary to preserve the community’s cultural resources. The streetcar is powered by an overhead electrical system and shares the street with automobile traffic in mixed-use lanes. During construction of the streetcar track system, approximately 20 inches of pavement depth and 8.5 feet in width was removed and replaced with a rail-embedded reinforced concrete slab and aggregate base.

 

Since the Beginning

WSP has been involved in the streetcar since the concept was introduced in 2002 as part of the Central Area Loop Study, which the firm conducted for the OKI Regional Council of Governments, the MetroMoves Regional Rail Plan and SORTA. The firm also conducted a feasibility study in 2007.