Delivered as a transportation solution to serve the public and create new connection, the 3.3-mile QLINE streetcar along Woodward Avenue has spurred waves of development and revitalization in downtown Detroit.

A Historic Public-Private Partnership

The route, consisting of 12 stops and 20 stations, marks the first major U.S. transit project led and funded by both private businesses and philanthropic organizations in partnership with local government, the state and the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Serving as owner’s representative, HNTB worked alongside M-1 RAIL, the QLINE Streetcar’s nonprofit owner, from conception through final delivery. The firm led a majority of day-to-day project management activities for the corridor, including federal compliance, financial reporting and grant management; risk management; CM/GC and design-build procurements; design reviews; construction oversight and safety certification. HNTB also supported negotiation and management of vehicle vendors and operations as well as maintenance contracts.

Off-Wire Technology

HNTB worked with system designers and vehicle vendors to maximize off-wire technology in the corridor to achieve the client’s goal of minimizing visual clutter from traditional catenary systems. QLINE streetcars are powered by lithium-ion batteries along 60% of the route; through Detroit’s Central Business District, the QLINE runs entirely off-wire.

Maintenance Facility – Penske Tech Center

The firm also oversaw the delivery of QLINE’s maintenance and operations facility, the Penske Tech Center. At roughly 20,000-square-feet, the facility sits at the northern end of the 3.3-mile streetcar loop and is home to M-1 RAIL’s daily administrative operations, technology systems and streetcar vehicle maintenance routines. The facility is also the nation’s first to operate completely off-wire.

Exceeding HUB Goals

HNTB collaborated with M-1 RAIL to structure opportunities for local businesses, resulting in Detroit-based, historically underutilized business to be awarded over 25% of the project’s construction contracts.

Location: Detroit, MI

Client: M-1 RAIL

Services: Owner’s representative, program management