Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit People Mover

The Detroit People Mover is the major transportation railways system throughout downtown Detroit.  With 13 stations and low fares of just $.50 per ride, it not only provides transportation for the residents of Detroit, but also serves as a mode of transport for tourists, downtown business workers, and sports fans. 

Original plans to develop a public transportation system in Detroit started in 1966 by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA).  However, in 1975, the few attempts at producing a large-scale transportation system failed. The UMTA settled for a much smaller transportation solution and created the Downtown People Mover Program.  Despite many questions regarding funding, the People Mover was completed and began operation in 1987.

The People Mover uses UTDC ICTS Mark I technology, and the cars are driverless.  In 2008, the trains were switched to run clockwise, which meant they could run faster, reaching speeds of up to 56 mph.  Throughout the 2.9 mile track there are 13 stations.  Each station is in walking distance to popular Detroit buildings and venues.  It is designed to accommodate up to 15 million passengers per year. However, as of 2008, the system had only reached 7,500 people per day, about 2.5% of its capacity of 288,000. According to the Detroit News, from 1999-2000 the city of Detroit paid approximately $3.00 for every $.50 rider fare. Essentially, the People Mover has not been the successful transportation system the UMTA envisioned.

The 13 stations of the People Mover include Times Square, Grand Circus Park, Broadway, Cadillac Center, Greektown, Bricktown, Renaissance, Millender Center, Financial District, Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Center, Fort/Cass, and Michigan Avenue.  Eight of the stations have been built into existing buildings, and each of the stations features its own original artwork.  There are currently plans to expand the People Mover. These plans would double its size by adding more stops at places such as the Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State University.

Written by Ben Robinson



Detroit People Mover under construction

Report on the Detroit People Mover

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