Voters + Streetcar Authority fuel streetcar expansion plans

The KC Streetcar is not only a hot topic with riders along its Downtown route seven days a week, but also at the ballot box in Kansas City, Missouri, these days – including a special election this week.

VOTE #1 – Streetcar taxing district

Voters approved the creation of a new taxing district that could eventually lead to expansion of the Downtown starter system south 51st and Brookside and the UMKC Volker campus. The Kansas City Election Board certified the election results on Friday, which confirmed a vote of 2,458 in favor of and 1,048 again the formation of an expanded streetcar district.

Eligible voters included only those who live within the boundaries of the new taxing district (roughly from the Missouri River south to 53rd Street and from State Line east to Campbell Street). Even though 30,000 people were eligible to vote, only 3,642 cast their notarized ballots, according to The Kansas City Star on Aug. 5.

“This was critical, because if this didn’t pass, the whole thing was stopped in its tracks,” said David Johnson, a member of the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA) board and chair of the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance.

This election marked the first of three steps necessary to eventually build the expanded rail system some 3.75 miles from Union Station to 51st and Brookside.

“This vote establishes the transportation development district TDD boundaries to help pay for streetcar expansion,” according to Star reporter Lynn Horsley. “Two more elections are required: to elect a streetcar district board and to approve the specific local sales and property taxes needed to help fund the expansion, which is estimated to cost about $227 million.”

 

Election results prompts action by Streetcar Authority

Spurred by the resounding vote to form a TDD to fund a southern streetcar line to UMKC, the Streetcar Authority and their partners are wasting no time jump-starting the necessary engineering and planning work to make the project a reality.

On Monday, the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA), in coordination with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) and the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) issued notice to proceed to begin planning work on the Streetcar Southern Extension project. A team led by HDR Engineering will provide the planning and engineering services with support from Burns & McDonnell, HNTB, Trekk Design Group, Hg Consult, Parson + Associates, VSM Engineering and Architectural & Historical Research.

This phase of planning, estimated at approximately $1 million, is jointly funded by the KCSA and KCATA. The planning and engineering work is estimated to take nine months.

“We are thrilled to be working hand-in-hand with our partners with the KCATA and KCMO, to detail specific plans for a southern streetcar extension and related bus improvements connecting Downtown to University of Missouri, Kansas City’s campus,” said Tom Gerend, executive director, KCSA on Monday. “This effort is a critical step towards advancing the region’s transit vision and completing the due diligence that will be required to make this vision a reality.”

As for the voters, the next vote is set for Oct. 10, when voters within the TDD boundaries will select directors. Then, a mail-in election to approve sales taxes and property tax assessments for the TDD is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 3.

If the project clears all the elections, the streetcar could begin transporting passengers in 2022, at the earliest.

To learn more about the taxing district and the mail-in election, see The Star and The Kansas City Business Journal and visit the KC Streetcar website.

VOTE # 2 – Special Election on Tuesday (Aug. 8)

KCMO voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to weigh in on three separate questions, which sparked this special election through initiative petitions. Two of the questions are related to the streetcar system extension.

Click here to see a sample ballot for the special election.

According to the Kansas City Business Journal:

  • “Question 1 would require a citywide vote on matters related to a streetcar expansion. Johnson said the measure effectively would negate the City Council’s involvement in the process.
  • “Question 2 is a proposal from transit activist Clay Chastain to build out a citywide transit network. The wording includes a caveat for the city to build what it can afford.”

The KCRTA announced on Aug. 2 its support of Question 2, along with its opposition to Question 1.

The KCTA believes the Chastain proposal “includes a scope of work that can be scaled to available resources, assuming federal funds are made available, through a ‘build what you can’ caveat that would allow progress to continue in reasonable phases.”

“The transit appliance sees Chastain’s plan as a good antidote to Question 1…,” according to The Star on Aug. 3. ”

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8

 

 

 

 

 

KC Streetcar rolls to 2 Million & $2 Billion milestones

Downtown not only celebrated the first birthday of the KC Streetcar yesterday, but also some major league milestones for performance and economic impact..

Saturday’s party celebrating the first year of operation for the KC Streetcar took on even more prominence with confirmation that a staggering 2 million rides have been reached and the economic development underway in the area has soared past $2 billion.

Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte led a host of supporters who gathered at Union Station to recognize the positive impact KC Streetcar is making in Downtown, the City communications team reported this weekend.

“We’ve said from the start that the streetcar was about more than just transit,’’ Schulte said. “Fixed rail generates economic development, and combined with the city’s investment in smart city technology, we are building a tax base that will benefit residents citywide both now and in the future.”

Kansas City has more than two billion dollars in economic development underway within the boundaries of the KC Streetcar TDD, or Transportation Development District. As of May 2017, this includes more than $2.1 billion in development projects completed, in progress or publicly announced since voters approved the streetcar in December 2012.

The Downtown Council continues to work closely with the City and the Streetcar Authority to track and report the economic impact of the streetcar.

The streetcar has been immensely popular with Downtown business owners, as well as local patrons and tourists who routinely praise the clean, smooth rides and the free Wi-Fi. Original forecasts of 2,700 for average daily rides were blown away by an actual average of 5,500 over the past 12 months.

Planners predicted Kansas City’s system would reach 1 million rides by its first anniversary. However, that mark was reached in October. Ridership naturally dipped in December and January, but April was the third busiest month behind July and August of last year.

A few noteworthy achievements so far include:

  • 97 percent of businesses surveyed along the route credit the streetcar with having a positive impact on their business
  • 2 million rides since May 6, 2016
  • Sales tax receipts in the TDD has grown 58 percent since 2014, outpacing citywide growth of 16 percent for the same period
  • Winner of 2017 American Council of Engineering Companies Award
  • Winner of 2016 Envision Platinum Sustainable Infrastructure Award
  • Winner of 2016 American Institute of Architects KC Community Impact of the Year Award

“Today we hit an amazing milestone, our 2 millionth trip in our first year of service, making the KC Streetcar system one of the most productive streetcar systems in the entire county,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority.  “Even more important than the strong ridership, the system is fueling an economic renaissance in downtown and that is incredibly exciting for all of Kansas City.”

To read more about the KC Streetcar celebration on Saturday and its impact on the City and Downtown, stop by The Kansas City Star.

 

KC Streetcar tops 1 million rides in just 5 months

In just 5 months of service, the Kansas City Streetcar completed its one millionth ride.

During the lunch hour, on Friday, Oct. 7, the KC Streetcar marked its one millionth ride.  As a sign of appreciation, Mayor Sly James, the entire Kansas City Streetcar team, the Downtown Council and other partners are saying “Thank you” to all those that made this milestone possible with a “Thanks a Million, KC!” community celebration on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 5-8 p.m. along 14th Street, between Main and Walnut streets, in the Kansas City Power & Light District.  There will be games, giveaways and live music provided by Art in the Loop performer, Amado Espinoza, local funk/rock/soul band The Phantastics and live art provided by J.T. Daniels.

“This milestone is a clear sign of the success of the KC Streetcar,” Mayor James said. “I’m incredibly grateful to the KC Streetcar Authority and its efforts to help make the starter line not only a reality, but a huge success. The KC Streetcar continues to exceed even our wildest expectations and it’s more important than ever that we keep this momentum going.”

Since opening day on May 6, streetcar ridership has steadily increased with a daily average of 6,600 passengers. The previous projected daily ridership average was 2,700. Weekends tend to be the busiest, with the highest ridership day of 15,780 being on July 16, a Saturday.  July saw the highest ridership totals with 233,683 rides during that month. Since May 2016, the Kansas City Streetcar fleet has traveled a combined 64,796 miles.

“The Kansas City community is riding the streetcar in far greater numbers than anyone ever imagined and today we say “thank you” for the amazing support. It is our hope this is just the beginning and a sign of even better things to come,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

Streetcar ridership, otherwise known as Unlinked Passenger Trips, is calculated by Automated Passenger Counters (APC) located over each door of each streetcar. Passengers are counted as they board and exit the streetcars, and the data collected shows which stops are the most used and which hours of the day are the busiest.  The ridership data is downloaded daily and reviewed by a third-party for accuracy. During July, members from the Ride KC team performed thirty manual passenger checks in order to check for accuracy. The conclusion of that activity was that the APC counts are within 1.4% accuracy of the manual counts.

To follow the project of the KC Streetcar,  go online at kcstreetcar.org and on Twitter (@kcstreetcar), Facebook (@kcstreetcar) and Instagram.

KC Streetcar to mark its 1 millionth ride today

 

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Thanks A Million, Kansas City! 

With that theme, the Kansas City Streetcar is expected to crest 1 million rides today – just five months after the two-mile starter route began service exclusively in Downtown KC. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect this afternoon:

WHAT: After 5 months of service, the Kansas City Streetcar will log its one millionth ride.

WHEN: According to trip count estimations, at approximately 12 p.m. today (Friday, October 7, 2016), the KC Streetcar will complete its one millionth ride.

WHO: To mark this milestone, members from the Kansas City Streetcar Authority, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, the Downtown Council, the Community Improvement Districts, and the UMKC Athletics Men’s Basketball team will be hand delivering thank you notes to the riders on board the streetcars the afternoon of October 7.

Since May 6, streetcar ridership has steadily increased with daily averages of 6,600 passengers. The projected daily ridership average was 2,700.  Streetcar ridership, otherwise known as Unlinked Passenger Trips, is calculated by Automated Passenger Counters (APC) located over each door of each streetcar. Passengers are counted as they board and exit the streetcars.

WHAT’S NEXT? A public celebration of this milestone is planned for 5-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Power & Light District. More details to come.

MEDIA: For media interested in interviews, members from the Kansas City Streetcar Authority and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, will be available at 12:00 p.m. at the Power & Light District Northbound stop at 14th and Main Street.

For KC Streetcar inquiries, contact Donna Mandelbaum with the KC Streetcar Authority at 816.627.2526 (office), 816.877.3219 (cell) or by email at dmandelbaum@kcstreetcar.org.

For City of Kansas City inquiries, contact Chris Hernandez, Director of City Communications, at 816.513.3474 (office), 816.787.1507 (cell) or email at Chris.Hernandez@kcmo.org.

The KC Streetcar is also online at kcstreetcar.org and on Twitter (@kcstreetcar), Facebook (@kcstreetcar) and Instagram.

KC Streetcar earns rave reviews from national pub

The KC Streetcar received kudos from a national online magazine this week, as ridership continues to soar on the streets of Downtown KC.

The KC Streetcar received kudos from a national online magazine this week, as ridership continues to soar on the streets of Downtown KC.

The Downtown KC Streetcar is getting some love from a national online magazine.

Although streetcars have been popping up all over the nation during the last two decades, there’s one that stands out, according to Slate magazine.

Slate is a national, online magazine of news, politics, technology, and culture. It combines humor and insight in thoughtful analyses of current events and political news. The streetcar article appears under the headline:

Did an American city finally build a good streetcar?

Just when we were all set to consign the 21st-century American streetcar to the scrap heap, Kansas City comes along and injects a sliver of uncertainty into the debate.

Streetcars have been popping up all over the U.S. in the past couple decades, in cities like Salt Lake City, Tampa, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C. Critics say they’re badly designed as short spurs of track, with streetcars stuck in traffic, and shoddily managed, with poor service that discourages riders from the get-go.

The proof has been in the ridership. Salt Lake’s S-Line counted about 1,000 passengers per day along its two-mile route in 2015. Atlanta’s 2.7-mile streetcar was counting just 1,000 riders a day during the first months of 2016. In June, Tampa’s TECO line counted just 600 passengers a day!

And then there is the new streetcar route in Kansas City, Missouri, which is getting6,660 riders a day over the first three months of operation—and rising. Total ridership is 550,000 riders in just 84 days of operation. That’s an order of magnitude above its counterparts in Atlanta and Salt Lake City, and more than double ridership on the H Street Streetcar in D.C., which runs in a densely populated urban area.

Per mile, Kansas City ridership is double Phoenix’s exemplary, set-apart light rail, and on par with the Los Angeles Blue Line, one of the country’s most successful transit projects of the past few decades.

This is … surprising. Kansas City’s streetcar runs in traffic, so it can’t save riders any time over driving. It runs in a downtown whose residential population was just 20,000 at the time of the 2010 census. And—here’s the craziest part—there are more than 12,000 off-street parking spots within one block of its route. That doesn’t count on-street parking, or parking that might be two or three block away.

All that said: It’s been a runaway success.

Time to revisit the in-traffic streetcar as an effective way to move people around the city? Not just yet. The KC Streetcar is definitely benefiting from a novelty boost in a city that hasn’t had rail transit in half a century. The warm weather is also pumping up the numbers—June, July, and August were the best months for the Atlanta Streetcar last year, which peaked in July.

Finally, the KC Streetcar is free. Unlike Atlanta, which saw ridership drop when a $1 fare was implemented at the start of this year, KC has no plans to charge riders. But that makes it tough to compare with similar operations elsewhere, which must take in revenue at the farebox to support operating costs. (In a way, riders are paying for the streetcar anyway, via a 1 cent sales tax within the “Transit Development District” around the line. Property owners are also paying a small special assessment.)

Rail boosters in KC don’t want to wait and see if the starter line’s popularity holds—they’ve already got plans ready for a second phase. Best to strike while the rail is hot.

To comment directly with Slate, click here.

Streetcar overhead wires to go ‘HOT’ on Wednesday

KCSA_SocialMedia_Facebook

The KC Streetcar overhead wires are going HOT beginning Wednesday morning all along the streetcar route.

“This week marks another major milestone on the KC Streetcar project, as crews electrify the wires that will power the streetcar,” according to Donna Mandelbaum, streetcar communications manager.

“Once testing of the overhead, or catenary wires, begins, all wires are considered ‘hot’ and electrified at all times. The testing of the overhead wires also symbolizes the transfer of streetcar activity from construction to operations and testing.”

The KC Streetcar project includes more than 24,000 feet of both overhead and underground wire. These wires power the streetcar, carrying 750 volts of direct current power through them and into the track. This power, provided by Kansas City Power & Light, is supplied through 4 sub-stations that are strategically placed along the streetcar route.

Those locations include the Main Street Viaduct near Union Station; Truman Road South at Main Street; the 6th Street and Main Street overpass; and the Singleton Yard Vehicle Maintenance Facility located at 3rd Street and Holmes Road.

“This latest round of streetcar activity signifies the intense progress being made on this project as we prepare the infrastructure for the arrival of the first streetcar vehicle,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority. “These wires are now electrified and considered extremely dangerous if touched. The public and surrounding properties should use caution when around these wires.”

Property owners/managers, developers, and contractors that perform construction, building maintenance or any exterior work along the streetcar route will now have to follow a new track access process, which is managed by the City of Kansas City’s permitting department. Track Access Training and a Track Access Permit are required prior to performing any work that is within four feet of the nearest streetcar track and within 10 feet of the overhead wires.

To apply for a Track Access Permit, applicants can call the City of Kansas City, MO., directly at 816-513-2760. To sign up for Track Access Training, interested parties can call the KC Streetcar Operations Team at 816-804-8882.

The Track Access Permit also applies to community organizations, businesses and neighborhood associations that may be working or hosting an event within four feet of the closest streetcar track and within 10 feet of the overhead wires. An example of this would be the erecting of a large tent, washing windows, or the hanging of banners/signage from a building or pedestrian light poles.

This Track Access process applies to all work or activities that may take place on: − Main Street from Union Station to the River Market − 5th Street from Delaware – Grand − Grand from 3rd Street – 5th Street − 3rd Street from Grand – Delaware − Delaware from 3rd Street – Independence Ave. As Kansas City prepares for the arrival of the first streetcar vehicle, the KC Streetcar Constructors are busy testing the track, facilities, power infrastructure and communication systems associated with the streetcar project.

These stand alone tests are being performed now prior to the arrival of the streetcar vehicle. Once the first streetcar vehicle arrives, integrated testing can begin.

For additional information, visit the KC Streetcar website or contact Mandelbaum at 816.627.2526/816.877.3219 or email at dmandelbaum@kcstreetcar.org.

‘Be Smart, Be Ready’: Streetcar safety campaign

The new Downtown streetcar starter route will begin its test phase as early as October, before the two-mile route becomes fully operational in early 2016.

The new Downtown streetcar starter route is expected to begin a test phase in October, a few months before the two-mile route becomes fully operational in early 2016.

 

Safety first! The Kansas City Streetcar Authority shared a sneak preview of its new streetcar safety campaign at its monthly board meeting on Thursday.

Bearing the theme of “Respect the Rail. Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Ready,” the campaign is designed to teach pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists to be alert to the new modern streetcar system. The two-mile, Downtown streetcar route will begin testing the new streetcar system as early as October.

The safety messaging and related imagery are informative, energetic and friendly, according to Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar. The campaign is designed to speak to riders, potential riders and the surrounding community, as well as pedestrians, motorists and cyclists.

“The safety messages are clear, easy to understand and put a positive spin on safety,” Gerend said.

The Streetcar Safety Campaign will roll out in phases over the next several weeks and months, adding detail to the messages as well as including other forms such as scooters, wheelchairs and strollers.

To see more of the safety images and messages, follow the links below:

KC Streetcar Safety Campaign

KC Streetcar Safety Campaign Page 2

To learn more about the KC Streetcar, visit www.kcstreetcar.org.

City to review ‘Smart City’ plan on streetcar line

 

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Kansas City and its partners plan to spend more than $15 million during the next decade on a “smart city” project that is organized around the Downtown Streetcar line, The Kansas City Business Journal reported over the weekend.

City officials announced in May that Cisco Systems Inc. would make Kansas City its latest smart city, with the use of advanced technology to boost the efficiency of a range of services. On Thursday, Mayor Sly James introduced an ordinance authorizing City Manager Troy Schulte to enter into an agreement with the San Jose-based networking technology company, The Business Journal reported. The story continued:

The ordinance, which will be taken up by the City Council’s Finance, Governance & Ethics Committee on Wednesday, April 22, also authorizes Schulte and Finance Director Randall Landes to execute various agreements regarding the project and its financing.

An ordinance fact sheet prepared by city Chief Innovation Officer Ashley Hand indicates that Kansas City will spend $3.8 million on the project over the next decade and that the amount will be “matched and exceeded by nearly $12 million in private investment by Cisco … and its growing list of partners.”

The ordinance indicates the “Smart + Connected Communities” project will be organized around the city’s 2.2-mile Downtown Streetcar line and may include a public Wi-Fi network.

“This program will also bring new economic development by attracting technology start-ups from across the globe to test their concepts,” the document said.

The Smart + Connected Communities program will include installation of a public Wi-Fi network and “community kiosks” that will allow citizens to call upon city services or make digital transactions. City documents said New York City-based KCity Post plans to open a local office to manage content and maintain the kiosks. The plan also includes installation of “video as a sensor and smart lighting,” that will be integrated with street lighting and be used to “capture data as needed for any future smart city application.” The video component also may be used for monitoring the streetcar line.

The Business Journal continued:

The kiosks are slated to come online when the streetcar begins operating, likely sometime in 2016, according to Michael Grimaldi, a spokesman for the mayor. Construction correlated to the smart city project will begin two to three months after the ordinance is passed and contracts are finalized, he said.

A Living Lab component is a joint proposal by Cisco and Kansas City-based startup incubator Think Big Partners LLC. It will allow emerging network technology to be deployed, tested and validated in Kansas City.

“The Living Lab will create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to build high-growth companies, partner with large companies needing assistance and allow (Kansas City) the ability to reap the financial and social benefits while improving the quality of life and reducing long terms costs,” the document said. “While the smart city concept is not new, the proposal for the Living Lab creates an unique opportunity to make a significant, sustainable impact in this growing sector while benefiting our residents, businesses and visitors with better infrastructure.”

To read the complete story, click here.

 

Streetcar to operate on 10-minute schedule

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority (KCSA) Board of Directors approved the preliminary operating schedule for the KC Streetcar system at their October Board meeting on Thursday.

“The streetcar operations plan approved by the board on Thursday reinforces our commitment to provide high quality, frequent streetcar service to support downtown businesses, visitors, and residents”, said Tom Gerend, KCSA Executive Director.

The Downtown KC Streetcar will operate from Union Station to the River Market beginning in early next year.

The KC Streetcar will operate from Union Station to the River Market beginning early next year.

 

The KC Streetcar system will be operated seven days a week, with service running from:

  • 6 a.m. to midnight on Mondays through Thursdays
  • 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays;
  • 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays;
  • and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

The service will be the most frequent transit service in the region with streetcars running every 10 minutes in the peak weekday periods Mondays through Fridays and every 12 to 18 minutes the remainder of the week. Detailed route schedules will be finalized at the conclusion of service and operations testing.

“This operating schedule keeps the promises made toDowntown voters paying into the streetcar TDD -frequent service so you don’t have to check a schedule, and late night runs on the weekends”, said David Johnson, KCSA Board member and Operations Committee Chair.

The KC Streetcar is a modern-streetcar system currently under construction in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The system will be free to ride and will feature real-time arrival signage, level-boarding, on-board bicycle accommodations, and enhanced transit stop shelters and signage. KC Streetcar is anticipated to open to the public in early 2016.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Tom Gerend, Executive Director of KC Streetcar Authority at 816-859-7040 or email at tgerend@kcstreetcar.org.

Streetcar app to promote retailers on the line

A new KC Streetcar app is Open for Business. The app is being launched today in an effort to support and promote retail businesses during the next year of construction along the Downtown streetcar route.

The KC Streetcar app is free and available for download onto Android (j.mp/kcstreetcarandroid) and Apple (j.mp/kcstreetcarios)smart phones and tablets. It features shops, restaurants, bars, attractions and other retail businesses on the streetcar line – from Union Station to the River Market.

Downtown-KC_Open-For-Business

Participating businesses, featuring a Downtown KC – Open for Business window stickers  on their front doors, are located on or adjacent to the streetcar route, along Main Street from Pershing Road to the River Market.

“The App features a loyalty rewards system,” said Mike Hurd, marketing director for the Downtown Council. “You earn points for checking in at retailers along the route. The points make you eligible to win a monthly prize, as well as a grand prize drawing.”

Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP, a Downtown law firm, has donated $5,000 to serve as the grand prize that will be awarded once the streetcar construction has been completed in about one year, Hurd explained. A minimum of 10,000 points over the next 12 months will be necessary to compete for the grand prize.

“We’re thrilled to be the sponsor of the Downtown Council’s grand prize reward,” said Spencer Fane’s Nate Orr. “This App is a fun and innovative way for us, as Downtown residents, to support and promote our neighbors, clients and friends, while we watch the future of Downtown Kansas City take shape.”

The App is the latest element of a new Open for Business campaign that is spearheaded by the Downtown Council and the KC Streetcar Constructors. The App was developed by Kansas City App Development Platform Moblico.

“We are sympathetic with the local businesses who deal with the daily construction and traffic impacts and we are committed to minimizing the impacts felt during the streetcar construction,” Hurd said. “Just as Main Street will remain open during construction, so will Downtown businesses.”

Retailers located on or adjacent to the route were invited to participate in the Open for Business – KC Streetcar App at no charge.

“Go ahead and download the App today,” Hurd said. “Then, you can get busy earning points while also helping the retailers stay strong during the months of streetcar construction this year and next.”

For more information, visit the KC Streetcar website at www.kcstreetcar.org.

 

Name, brand ID selected for KC Streetcar

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority has revealed the name and branding for the new Downtown streetcar line, selecting a classic look and feel that is immediately recognizable and achieves world class standards for transit branding.

Streetcar Authority board members approved the branding package during its monthly public meeting on Thursday afternoon.

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“The name, ‘KC Streetcar’, is simple, intuitive and universal, giving Kansas City a place among the best transit systems in the world,” said Streetcar Authority Board Chairman Tom Trabon.

Following an intensive research and design exploration process, Willoughby Design, Inc. presented the final recommendation for the streetcar identity, including the name, KC Streetcar, an original brand icon, word mark, favicon, design system and color palette.

The brand gives the recognizable international streetcar icon a uniquely Kansas City twist with an open, friendly feel. It also gives a nod to the sleek, modern look of the streetcar vehicles Kansas City has ordered.

The streetcar brand identity is also designed to seamlessly integrate with proposed regional branding that will soon unify all transportation in the Greater Kansas City Area under one umbrella. Under the regional branding, the name “KC Streetcar” pairs with the regional name, “Ride KC” to become: “Ride KC Streetcar”.

“This branding and name allows us to move forward with regional collaboration, while also keeping the focus on the downtown streetcar line as a catalyst for economic development and improved linkage of downtown neighborhoods and job centers,” said Tom Gerend, KCSA Executive Director.

The approach for the streetcar name and identity was inspired by a global audit of regional transit and streetcar identity best practices, notably the Utah Transit Authority, RATP in Paris, Transport for London and GVB in Amsterdam.

Willoughby described each of these system identities as “simple, functional, universal, intuitive and cohesive.” Willoughby also presented test applications of the KC Streetcar’s core brand identity to the current website, collateral, social media, web banners, way-finding signage, conceptual promotional campaigns and the vehicle design.

The interior color palette, cobalt blue and silver, and the exterior color palette, pearl, silver and graphite, were approved by the KCSA Board on May 29.

The palette was described as “a timeless, sophisticated, progressive, confident canvas for the future of our city.” To see images of the approved brand identity, visit the KC Streetcar website (kcstreetcar.org) or visit kcmo.gov.