The Detroit People Mover is a 2.9-mile (4.7 km) automated people mover system. It operates on a single-track, one-way loop through the downtown area. The
ride cost you seventy-five cents, and tokens can be used. The tokens
can be purchased at every station.
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
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
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
The highway system around downtown Detroit is
"complicated". If you're not paying attention, you can easily wind up
miles away from where you want to be with a moments worth of inattention!
I know, I've done it many times. :-)
Given that, make your way
to I-75, and then to either 10 or 375.
If you take 10 (blue arrow/1),
you can get off at either Howard St (exit 1C) or go all the way to E
Jefferson St, under the Cobo Center.
Taking I-375 (green arrow/2),
you can get off at either MaComb St, Chrysler Service Drive, or where it
finally dumps you off onto E Jefferson St. You can only get off at
Madison St if you are coming down I-75 from above the Fisher Freeway.
A "predecessor" to the People Mover. Photos courtesy Tim Vermande. Thanks Tim!
The Detroit People Mover has its origins in 1966, with Congressional creation of the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) to develop new types of transit. In 1975, following the failure to produce any large-scale results and
increased pressure to show results, UMTA created the Downtown People Mover Program (DPM) and sponsored a nationwide competition that offered federal funds to cover much of the cost of planning and construction of such a system. UMTA
reviewed thirty-five full proposals. From these, they selected proposals from Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, and St. Paul. In addition, UMTA decided they would approve proposals from Baltimore, Detroit, and Miami to develop People
Mover systems if they could do so with existing grant commitments. Of the seven cities with UMTA approval for their People Mover proposals, only Detroit and Miami persevered to build and operate systems.
The People Mover was intended to be the downtown distributor for a proposed city and metro-wide light rail transit system for Detroit in the early 1980s; however, funding was scaled back. President Gerald Ford had promised 600
million in federal funds. Plans included a subway line along Woodward Avenue that would turn into a street level train at McNichols and eventually go all the way to Pontiac, with additional rail lines running along Gratiot and a commuter
line between Detroit and Port Huron. Inability of local leaders to come to an agreement led to the 600 million commitment being withdrawn by the Reagan Administration. Yet the People Mover still moved forward. At the time of
planning, the system was projected to have a ridership of 67,700 daily. The People Mover is owned and operated by the Detroit Transportation Corporation (DTC). The DTC was incorporated in 1985 as a Michigan Public Body
Corporate for the purpose of acquiring, owning, constructing, furnishing, equipping, completing, operating, improving, enlarging, and/or disposing of the Central Automated Transit Systems (CATS) in Detroit, Michigan. DTC acquired the
CATS project from the Suburban Mobile Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART) formerly known as the Southeastern Michigan Transportation Authority (SEMTA), on October 4, 1985. The DTC was created by the City of Detroit,
Michigan pursuant to Act 7 of Public Acts of 1967 and is a component unit of the City of Detroit and accounts its activity as per proprietary funds.
The CATS project, aka the Downtown People Mover (DPM), officially opened to the public on July 31, 1987. Prior to November 18, 1988, the People Mover System was operated and maintained by the primary contractor, Urban Transportation
Development Corporation (UTDC) on a month-to-month basis. On November 18, 1988, the DTC assumed the responsibility to operate and maintain the People Mover System.
The system opened in 1987 using the same technology as Vancouver's SkyTrain and Toronto's Scarborough RT line. In the first year, an average of 11,000 riders used the People Mover each day; the one-day record was 54,648
When the People Mover opened, it ran counter-clockwise. On July 20, 2008, the system was shut down temporarily to replace track on six of the curves along the route. When it reopened in August, the system was run clockwise, as it is still
run today, although it can run in either direction when necessary. The change in direction reduced the time required to complete one round-trip. The clockwise direction has one short, relatively steep uphill climb and then coasts downhill
for a majority of the ride, allowing the train to use gravity to accelerate. This makes each round-trip slightly faster than running uphill most of the way in the counter-clockwise direction.
On January 22, 2015 at approximately 10:10 PM, one of the cars jumped a rail hitting the rail platform. This prompted the system to be temporarily shut down to allow an investigation to take place. After 17 hours of investigation, the
system resumed service. According to a media release given by the inspectors, "A bracket beneath one of the People Mover cars dislodged, catching under the rear car of the train approaching Times Square Station. This caused the rear car to
come out of alignment and leave the rail. As a result, the second car scraped the platform, dislodging the door as the train pulled into the station."
The Detroit People Mover (DPM) was built as part of an Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) Ė now Federal Transit Administration (FTA) demonstration project. The intent of that
program was to determine how well a fully automated transit system might contribute to the revitalization of central business districts of major older cities such as Detroit, and whether such an
automated technology could provide effective circulation/distribution service at a cost lower than conventional bus systems. Construction of the DPM system began in the spring of 1983
under the auspices of the Southeastern Michigan Transit Authority (SEMTA), now the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation (SMART). On October 3, 1985, the Detroit Transportation
Corporation (DTC) was established to be the agency responsible for completion of the project construction and thereafter assume full ownership responsibility for the DPM. The DPM system began
operating revenue service on July 31, 1987.
The DTC is owner and operator of the DPM. The Detroit People Mover is a fully automated light rail system that operates on an elevated single-track loop in Detroitís central business district. The system provides connections between the courts and administrative offices of several levels of government, sport arenas, exhibition
Service is frequent, unencumbered by vehicle or pedestrian traffic, and conveniently available throughout the central business district. The integration of eight of the 13 People Mover stations into pre-existing structures links more than 9 million square feet that can be traversed unimpeded by outside elements. The DTC provides service to its patrons according to a seven-day schedule, which equates to 118.5 hours of operation per week for a nominal fee of 75
cents per ride. A fleet of 12 fully automated vehicles, which can be deployed in one or two car trains, provides this service. These vehicles travel in a counterclockwise direction
and are propelled by two linear induction motors per car, which convey the steel-wheeled vehicles over the systemís 2.9 miles of continuously welded steel rail track. Each vehicle is heated or air conditioned as required for customer comfort. When in full loop operations, the vehicles are scheduled to provide service in 3- to 5-minute intervals. Completion of the entire route takes approximately 15 minutes or less. The DPM guideway is completely elevated and can be currently accessed at any of 13 passenger stations that are spaced at
approximately quarter-mile intervals around the alignment. All stations are accessible to elderly and disabled persons, with the exception of Grand Circus Park. Passengers requiring elevator or
escalator service should board and/or disembark at either
Times Square or Broadway. Eight of the 13 People Mover stations (Times Square, Cobo Center, Joe Louis Arena, Financial District, Millender Center, GM Renaissance Center, Greektown, Grand Circus Park)
are integrated into adjacent buildings, and the remaining five freestanding stations (Michigan, Fort/Cass, Bricktown, Cadillac Center, Broadway) are designed to facilitate direct access from
future developments at the platform level if and when that is appropriate. Each of the 13 DPM stations contains major works of art that generate considerable interest, promote ridership and enhance
the appearance of the system. In addition, the exhibit collectively named Art In The Stations has won numerous national as well as international awards for outstanding public art.
OPERATIONS and MAINTENANCE: DPM stations are monitored by closed-circuit TV cameras, push-to-talk voice communication equipment and voice monitoring capability. These devices are observed 24 hours per day by Central Control
operators who have overall responsibility for the coordination of system operations. Their responsibilities include train control and the interface of activities between passengers, transit police officers, maintenance staff and/or outside contractors to provide safe and efficient operation of the system. Although the Automated Train Control system is capable of running a variety of vehicle fleet configurations, the control operators have
override capabilities to cope with unpredictable situations which may occur during normal operation. Maintenance of the DPM system is provided by in-house staff members who are responsible for the guideway, fixed facilities,
rolling stock, communications equipment, and miscellaneous test equipment to support system operations. A six-member board of directors governs the DTC.
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while trying to help others. My
webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place. There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa
page, or as needed on individual pages. Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like. I operate on the
"Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion). If you contact
me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)
Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides
are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them. For those
of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my
indexa page has a list of
almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to
help you detail your pike.
If this is a railfan page, every effort has
been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this
railfan guide is correct. Once in a while, an error may creep in,
especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.
Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these
locations. I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words",
and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the
railfan over a simple text description of the area. Since the main focus
of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the
signal fan being able to locate them. Since most of us railheads don't have just
trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites
of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other
significant historical or geographical feature. While some may feel they
shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more
interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to
realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the
My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a
thousand words, especially for railfanning. Text descriptions only
get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented. Take
along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still
better if you get lost! I belong to AAA, which allows you to get
local maps for free when you visit the local branches. ADC puts
out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their
state maps do not have the railroads on them. If you can find em,
I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and
concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where
tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.
Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.
By the way, floobydust is
a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data
book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels
inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have
something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as
being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.