A Cautionary Tale of Two Streetcars: Little Rock’s River Rail and Tampa’s TECO Line

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - tram/light rail, operations - performance


goals of streetcar implementation, transit data, streetcar development, lessons for communities


Planners and policymakers in dozens of U.S. cities are considering making streetcar investments in the hope of promoting economic development, encouraging tourism, carrying transit riders, and/or achieving a host of other local objectives. Most observers look to Portland, Oregon, as a model of successful streetcar development, but this paper considers the experiences of two less successful communities, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Tampa, Florida. Using a combination of key informant interviews and local and national transit data, the authors assess the goals of streetcar implementation and the performance of the streetcars in these two cities, seeking to understand the reasons for their performance and identify lessons for other communities.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by National Center for Transit Research, University of South Florida, copyright remains with them.