KC Streetcar: A demonstration of the possible


The KC Streetcar in Kansas City, MO. (Image: Jason Doss, Wikimedia Commons)

In 2016, Kansas City, MO opened the first streetcar the city has seen in almost 60 years and transformed the city’s downtown. Former skeptics of the line are now some of the KC Streetcar’s biggest proponents as businesses have boomed and more people are moving to—and spending in—the center city. The 2.2 mile KC Streetcar, akin to a downtown circulator, is “a demonstration of the possible.”

This month on Building Better Communities with Transit we’re joined by the Executive Director of the KC Streetcar Authority, Tom Gerend. Tom talks about some of the challenges in creating the streetcar and a broader regional transit network. He explains the value capture funding mechanism that’s funds 100 percent of the streetcar’s operations and maintenance—as well as some of the project design and construction). The KC Streetcar is unique in a lot of ways, including it lack of a fare. Tom explains the rationale behind the decision to make the streetcar free.

In Tom’s words, “it’s hard to believe that just two years ago the service didn’t exist.” It has exceeded expectations on multiple fronts—ridership, revenues, and downtown investment and redevelopment. Tom tells podcast listeners about the potential for future expansions and how laying the groundwork early for both the initial line and expansions is critical for success.

Building Better Communities with Transit is intended to provide more support to communities and local leaders who are working to catalyze new development around transit, give more people access to public transportation, increase access to opportunity, and build robust local economies.

The podcast is available on SoundCloud, iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Checkout all the episodes on our podcast page. A new episode is released every month!

The TOD Peer Network is expanding

It’s official. The TOD Peer Network in now open to any planning, land use, or transportation professional, public official, or developer working on TOD projects. If you know anyone who could benefit from the network, extend an invitation to join! Share this short application with people interested in applying. Once they’ve submitted the application, we’ll get back to them shortly on next steps.

Recent TOD news

Here are a few things that have been happening this week with TOD projects across the country.

  • Atlanta’s first driverless shuttle headed for region’s largest TOD project (Curbed Atlanta)
  • An inside look at equitable economic development in Phoenix (CitiesSpeak)
  • Future referendums ‘must focus on mobility not development’ (Nashville Business Journal)
  • San Diego MTS properties should be used for joint development (Voice of San Diego)
  • British Columbia introduces legislation so TransLink can charge developers to fund transit plan (Global News)