As the city’s first embedded-track streetcar, The Hop has transformed downtown mobility, providing Milwaukee residents easy connection between neighborhoods, jobs, educational institutions, local attractions and more.

Transit Planning - The Milwaukee Connector Study

HNTB worked alongside the City of Milwaukee since the streetcar’s initial conception. In support of the City’s goal to provide accessible transportation that would enhance ongoing economic development, HNTB first led an in-depth transit planning study, coined the Milwaukee Connector Study.

This analysis was coupled with a comprehensive public involvement program led by HNTB, and, in less than a year, these efforts became the first foundations for the Milwaukee Streetcar project.

Delivering The Hop

The firm led the preliminary engineering, environmental documentation and final design for the streetcar’s initial 2.1-mile, 18-station route. Additional support for the project included Federal Transit Administration coordination, financial planning, development of a systemwide fare policy, ridership projections and extensive public involvement. During construction, HNTB also served as design liaison, assisting the City and contractor with design-related items.

Fleet and Facilities

To ensure The Hop became a reliable and sustainable source of transportation, HNTB played a critical role in establishing the streetcar system’s fleet and facilities. The firm provided vehicle procurement support, advising the City of Milwaukee on the project’s vehicle selection committee, and was responsible for the design and coordination of the streetcar’s maintenance facility. The 17,000-square-foot facility includes equipment maintenance bays, a dispatch operations center, office space, a wash station and storage space. It currently services five modern streetcars with future expansion of up to 12 vehicles. The facility also has two service bays and a preventative maintenance bay with access to the vehicle from below and above as well as a pit for repairs.

A First in Streetcar Technology

The Hop is the first system in the U.S. to use wireless switch technology via GPS and also utilizes GPA and wireless communication with active signals to enhance safety and efficiency. The off-wire technology makes the Milwaukee Streetcar one of the only rail systems to operate completely on lithium-ion batteries, promoting greater environmental sustainability and.

Extending Connection – Lakefront Line

Continuing collaboration with the City of Milwaukee, HNTB completed final design for the new 0.8-mile Lakefront Line (L-Line) extension. The project was made possible with an HNTB-written Federal TIGER grant award and provides further connection to Milwaukee’s most-visited destinations.

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Client: City of Milwaukee

Services: Preliminary and final engineering

Awards: 2019 Best Project, ENR Midwest