Sometimes it seems that the rest of the country takes some sort of not-so-secret delight from Detroit's slow but steady decay. The truth is, the sprawling municipality faces a swath of unique challenges that are only compounded by a dearth of resources.

Look no further than the city's transportation infrastructure to see what we mean. Built as the ultimate temple for the car, Detroit's planners could hardly conceive of a time when residents would prefer to take public transportation. As a result, it's nearly impossible to get from the city center to the outlying suburbs without a vehicle.

But that may change sometime soon. The attitude has shifted in The D, and urban planners and business leaders are working together with a grassroots surge to get help people get where they need to go in a safe, timely and economical manner.

From light-rail proposals to efforts like the private Detroit Bus Company, Detroit is on the verge of re-imagining its public transportation infrastructure. Translogic took the time to get a feel for where Detroit is now and where it's headed in the near future. Watch the video below to check it out for yourself.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 53 Comments
      vince
      • 2 Years Ago
      Might be a good idea if they had money. They should worry about finishing up that project to demolish abandoned buildings and homes, and shrink the city's footprint first.
      Chris
      • 2 Years Ago
      I want to see the city turn around as much as the next guy, but it seems a lot on here are in denial if they think trains alone are going to turn it around. It's only part of the equation. My guess is that most of you folks have never even set foot there.
      whofan
      • 2 Years Ago
      Our Governer has his billon dollar bridge to Canada to build first, as he chips away at the states finacial mess. The "build it and they will come" doesn`t always work. My small city of about 14,500 built a 6 millon dollar parking garage. Now is oh no we have to pay for it and my God it cost money to maintain it. The ticket revenues aren`t paying the bills. All the politicans these days want to build monuments so they have that bronze plaque to put their name on to say "see look what I did!" The Employees take the pay cuts and the lay offs.
        Skicat
        • 2 Years Ago
        @whofan
        What an incredibly uninformed comment (as are the pluses given to it). I worked on the Gateway Project that will (finally) link the Ambassador Bridge directly to area expressways, an effort the Detroit International Bridge Co. (DIBC, owners of the Ambassador Bridge, the only privately held U.S. border crossing) have been running a massive campaign of distortion and outright lies to smear the idea of a second bridge while holding opening of the Gateway Project ramps hostage as a bargaining chip to build THEIR OWN second span, not to mention $$$$ to state legislators to block the idea. DIBC even seized land illegally and built a second span approach on the Detroit side of the river, despite having NO agreement with the Canadian Govt. to finish that span on the opposite shore. The Detroit-Windsor border and Bluewater Bridge, both in Michigan, transit more trade in tonnage and dollars than any other U.S.-Canada transit points. Both are now at capacity, and if capacity is not increased in Michigan, U.S.-Canada businesses will go elsewhere (Buffalo anyone?) to get the flow increased, taking jobs that would be created to support that trade with them. DIBC WANTS another span, but only if they own it.
      NevSpeed
      • 2 Years Ago
      No no no, what they need is a MonoRail!!! Yes a bright and shinny MonoRail that will get the people from "A" to "B" and back again. If you like this idea, u don't watch the Simpsons. Streetcars, lightrail, or monorail, they're all super expensive and are all essentially a bus on a dedicated lane. Buy a bus - roughly $500,000 to $750,000 (the more expensive being hybrid) Buy a streetcar - roughly $3,000,000 + dedicated track infrastructure + overhead wire infrastructure + dedicated passenger pick up points + dedicated repair and maintenance infrastructure + system design,, we could go on.
      turbomonkey2k
      • 2 Years Ago
      Did that d00d really say intragul at the end?WTF?
      design eye
      • 2 Years Ago
      Another frustrating review of Detroit, complete with front-line footage, but with no real insight into the depth of the subject matter. Why not interview the "go-to" guy or woman who can inspire us with a potential solution or two that addresses the real needs of the city and suburbs. Break it down into digestable sections, and explain how solving 20% of the issues will relieve 80% of the pain. Some cost/value analysis should legitimize the decision making. I want to know how you coordinate disparate systems, where you put new systems, and how you prioritize money spent in a step by step fashion. I want to know how the light rail segment fits into the big picture.
        design eye
        • 2 Years Ago
        @design eye
        It's obviously more important to produce a beautifully made film than it is to dig up useful content....Marshall McLuhan was right..."the medium is the message"!
      Car Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      These train projects that Obama et al. are pushing are especially stupid for a city like Detroit where everyone drives. Trains make sense along the east coast and in other highly populated areas. Areas, I will add, that already have these systems. Beyond that, people either drive or take the airplane. Besides, we already have enough trouble keeping a road infrastructure funded let alone a whole new train infrastructure that our broke government can't afford.
        Quen47
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        Except... there are plenty of places were that has changed, thanks to effective light rail. Take the Portland MAX for example (a project that launched during the Reagan administration btw). A massive success that people actually use, and it has helped change the path of urban development for the better. The money was obtained by taking federal highway funds originally earmarked to build more freeways and instead used to give light rail a dedicated right-of-way. This idea that somehow what we do now is what we will do in 30, 50, or 100 years, and therefore we shouldn't invest in the future is short sighted. I have to think every city regrets ripping up their trolley tracks in the 50's for diesel buses. You would be surprised I think at how much less it costs to maintain a road system when far fewer people are using it.
          icon149
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Quen47
          Wow, that was intelligent! thank you for thinking beyond today for once! it seems far to many people are too stuck in... "that won't work here cause we do it this way"... That no one will get behind the things that will actual keep the US relevant and competitive. sitting in traffic 2 or 3 hours a day on your commute is not productive. doing work on a train or a bus for 45 minutes a day... is.
        twofingersneak
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        just because it's an automobile-centric infrastructure doesn't mean that it always has to be, which is kind of the point. most cities here on the east coast do well because of the public transportation system, not necessarily in spite of it. perhaps there's a correlation that large cities like Detroit can use modern public transportation to their advantage to further sustain development? driving in and around detroit sucks. providing a light rail or other public transport system to connect downtown with the north and west suburbs (DTW in particular) could make downtown a viable trip again.
      Evan
      • 2 Years Ago
      If you look real close at that artist's rendering you can see someone getting murdered in the background. Now that's realism!
      ken
      • 2 Years Ago
      They should consider improving the law enforcement and social infrastructure first.
      ctsmith1066
      • 2 Years Ago
      Public transportation would probably benefit Detroit immensely. Let's face it--people who live in Detroit tend to be severely poor compared to those living in the suburbs, and they can't afford reliable car transportation to get to work. Car-biased city planning is immensely inefficient, in the economic sense, and exacerbates economic hardship. Get more people to work, help them keep on to their jobs, and the situation should improve immensely.
        Chris
        • 2 Years Ago
        @ctsmith1066
        The city can barely afford to maintain the infrastructure it already has, or even police, and fire protection. The public transit they do have barely gets used. I would like to see more public transit there, but they need to get more people to live and work there in order to make it sensible. It ain't gonna happen in the suburbs. That much I can almost guarantee.
      Ken
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wasn't this the promise of the people-mover? Ridiculous solution to the wrong problem - again. Detroit doesn't have a traffic problem (not a real one, anyway). Heck, in the city center, traffic is near non-existent most of the time. The suburbs of Detroit, whether Novi, Birmingham, Grosse Pointe, Ferndale, Royal Oak, etc. Have a lot going for them. Its just within the city limits that things are broke - fix it by building around what the Illitch family has already started - consolidate 1 area and build around it.
      Ducman69
      • 2 Years Ago
      Death of Detroit is actually really simple: 1) Shift of manufacturing jobs overseas 2) White flight So you don't need trains, you need to kill the labor unions, offer tax incentives for businesses, and put out fine cheeses and wine platters to get the white people to move back.
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