Though no physical streetcar design has yet been chosen, the LA streetcar’s intention is to follow the modern streetcar design found in Portland and Seattle. This streetcar design is a preferred alternative over the historical streetcar or cable car design because it contains additional rider comforts and there are no cumbersome steps to climb. Accessibility for wheelchairs and strollers is exceptionally easy, which is not true of a historical streetcar.
Besides the comfort and atheistic factors, modern streetcars are more desirable than standard bus transit options because they run on electricity instead of a combustion engine for their propulsion. An electric motor is nearly silent and has no local environmental emissions. Both of these two benefits are especially beneficial to Downtown L.A. residents, businesses, and visitors that often have to deal with the environmental and noise pollution that standard buses create.
One of the most consumer friendly technological breakthroughs is the ability to install accurate arrival/departure information kiosks. Since the stations and routes are fixed it is possible to install information kiosks that work in concert with on-board global position systems to give accurate arrival/departure information. This information can be viewed through internet devices (i.e. iPhone, Blackberry, etc.) and mobile text-messaging systems, empowering riders to accurately judge when the next streetcar will arrive/depart. This system is being used on the Portland streetcar and many riders consider it to be convenient and reliable.