Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > Detroit > DPM

Detroit, Michigan: Downtown People Mover (DPM)


Detroit's Downtown People Mover (DPM) is one of five urban "people mover" systems that were built in the U.S. beginning in the 1970s. (The other four are in Miami, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, Irving, Texas, and Morgantown, West Virginia.)

It is an automated system that uses two-car trains running on an elevated guideway. The technology is steel wheels on standard-gauge steel-rails, but with linear induction motors instead of normal traction motors. (This is similar to Vancouver BC's Skytrain system.) The route is a one-way loop 2.9 miles (4.7 km) long, with thirteen stations. A complete circuit takes about fifteen minutes, and trains run every three to five minutes. The cash fare is $0.50.

The DPM opened in June 1987. Ridership has been rather light, approximately 5-10,000 per day. It was originally intended to be the downtown distributor for a rapid-transit system which was not built.

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[picture] The guideway runs alongside Beaubien Street between the Renaissance Center and Greektown. (June 2000)

[picture] All stations have some kind of artwork. The exterior of the Greektown station has colored abstract figures with neon lights. (June 2000)

[picture] Near the Cadillac Square station, the guideway runs next to a big hole in the ground which was once the site of Hudson's department store. When the abandoned building was demolished by implosion in October 1998, falling debris damaged the guideway so that this section had to be shut down for several months for repairs. In the meantime, trains operated in a back-and-forth shuttle mode over the rest of the route. (June 2000)

[picture] The Grand Circus Park station was temporarily closed while the building that it is attached to was being renovated. (June 2000)

[picture] Approaching the Times Square station, we see the diverging track for the storage and maintainance facility, in a view from the front window of a train. Unlike other people-mover systems in the U.S., this one uses steel wheels on steel rails. The center plate between the rails is the reaction rail for the linear induction motors that propel the trains. (June 2000)

[picture] The platform of the Financial Center station. (June 2000)

[picture] At the Financial Center station, the major artwork is an intricately patterned tile wall next to the escalators. (June 2000)

[picture] A train crosses above Jefferson Avenue near Cobo Hall, with the Renaissance Center in the background. (June 2000)

[picture] The guideway runs through a corner of the Millender Center building, which contains a station. No, the people-mover does not go to Canada! The signs mark the entrance to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel at this intersection. The tracks and overhead wire are for the Downtown Trolley, which ends here. (June 2000)

[picture] The platform at Millender Center is separated by glass walls from the rest of the building.

This page was last updated on 24 January 2008.

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