Current Transit Plans

City of Detroit Woodward Light Rail Plan

Name: City of Detroit Press Release "Study Recommends Light Rail Transit on Woodward Avenue"
Found Using: Google Web Search
Search Query: Woodward "light rail" "City of Detroit" plan
Information Summary/Quote: "An intensive 18-month technical review that is following guidelines established by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) New Starts Program concludes a light rail line along eight miles on Woodward Avenue from Downtown to the Michigan State Fairgrounds near Eight Mile Road is the best alternative to build the starter line for a regional rapid transit system in the Detroit area.
The Alternatives Analysis study—known as the Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study (DTOGS) project—is the first step in the Federal funding process to build a rapid transit system in the Detroit area. The project will now transition into the preliminary engineering phase."
Evaluation: This is important information to know and it will give you a pretty decent background on where the plans for light rail on Woodward came from. This gave me a few good jumping off points for future searches. After reading it, I learned that the project is currently called Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study, or DTOGS. I will use this in a later search.

Name: DTOGS Woodward Light Rail
Found Using: Google Web Search
Search Query: "Detroit Transit Options for Growth Study"
Summary: Result of DTOGS, actual plan for Woodward Light Rail Transit (LRT). There is a movie of the proposed route and a number of PDF files containing facts related to the project. There is also a completion time line. Reading around on the site revealed other search ideas of DTOGS alternatives including a no-build transit plan, a transportation system management alternative, bus rapid transit, and a different type of rail transit (think streetcar, peoplemover, subway…)
Evaluation: Definitely an important site to know if you are going to talk to anyone about the DTOGS. The video is kind of useless and is really just a computer rendering of this idea, probably just to get people to imagine what it would be like. What is really important are the PDF files that talk about ridership statistics and funding because those are the issues you are going to find important as you work towards implementing any plan.
Misc.: Got the idea to search for DTOGS after reading the City of Detroit press release about it.

This video highlights the routes and stops on the proposed route. For information on how I retrieved this video, you can check out this blog entry.

Ann Arbor-Detroit Rail

Name: Ann Arbor - Detroit Regional Rail Project
Found Using: Google Web Search
Search Query: "Ann Arbor" Detroit "Metro Airport" "commuter rail"
Information Summary/Quote: This is a page from SEMCOG itself to describe the proposed rail project that would connect Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Metro Airport with stops in between using a heavy rail commuter transit system. This site includes an informational video about the project. The project started as a study after which the Federal Transit Administration suggested that area government take over the project before proceeding further with the federal process.
Evaluation: This project could be a game changer for regional transit, so it is important that local governments take it seriously. The site links to a ridiculous amount of information on the topic, from transit updates, to studies, to the real concrete funding numbers that need to be examined critically. Seriously take some time to get to know this project. I think it represents the future of the Southeast Michigan region.

I also found this video using Google Video search with the query ["Ann Arbor" Detroit Rail]. Interestingly enough, this video is published on YouTube by SEMCOG itself.

WALLY - Washtenaw-Livingston Commuter Rail

Name: WALLY - Washtenaw-Livingston Commuter Rail
Found Using: ixQuick meta-search
Search Query: WALLY Michigan “Ann Arbor”
Information Summary/Quote: "A coalition of government and business leaders and other interested groups and individuals has worked for more than two years to develop a commuter rail project – the Washtenaw and Livingston Line – to this point. In order for the project to move forward, a more formal organization was needed to pursue and receive funding, negotiate agreements and coordinate implementation of the commuter rail plan. In response to requests from local and county officials involved in the coalition, the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority has agreed to serve as the designated authority for the WALLY commuter rail project."
Evaluation: Ann Arbor Transit Authority is already one of the State of Michigan's strongest public transportation agencies, and if it is able to get it's WALLY project off of the ground before other proposed rail transit systems, it will certainly be the state leader in transportation. On this page they do a good job explaining how WALLY will work and where the funding comes from.

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