Washington, DC - This week the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) permanently moved four streetcar vehicles to the H Street and Benning Road, NE streetcar corridor. At no time prior have four vehicles been on the corridor at once. These vehicles will now continue System Integration Testing (SIT) and operator training in advance of passenger service, which is expected later this year. The District’s two other streetcar vehicles will join them in the coming months.
SIT includes the integration of vehicles, power, communications and traffic and train signal controls to ensure that all components are safe and working properly. Elements that are tested include radio communications, overhead contact system (OCS) interface, track switch interface, traction power emergency trip, braking, signal and sign visibility and streetcar control center communications. These tests will occur in live traffic conditions on the corridor.
In-traffic operator training is also beginning, building on the training and pre-qualification operators already received at the DC Streetcar Testing & Commissioning Site. Each operator will train with supervisors along the corridor under various traffic scenarios in order to be certified to carry passengers on the H/Benning Line.
Pre-revenue operations, in which service is simulated without passengers, will follow SIT and operator training. These elements are required for DDOT to certify its system and be accepted by the State Safety Oversight Agency (SSOA). The safety certification process involves several critical steps and is intended to ensure that the system meets safety standards and is ready to carry passengers.
Pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists are advised to use caution as they travel through the corridor during testing and training activities. Remember to “Look, Listen, Be Safe!” around streetcar vehicles at all times – look both ways and listen for the streetcar before stepping into the crosswalk, and never walk in front of a moving streetcar.
Drivers should also be aware that the Department of Public Works (DPW) is now ticketing cars that are parked in such a way as to impede the path of the streetcar, including cars parked outside of the white lines and illegally double-parked vehicles. The fine for vehicles blocking the path of the streetcar will be $100. At DPW's discretion, vehicles may also be towed to clear the streetcar's path and then relocated within the immediate neighborhood. Ticketing will be an ongoing occurrence along the corridor and is not expected to cease.
For more information about DC Streetcar, please visit dcstreetcar.com.