December 27, 2008 marked the grand opening of METRO Light Rail transit service linking the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa, Arizona. In Phoenix, this event harkened back to an era with similar streetcar service that ceased operations in 1948. After a 55 year absence, final design of the modern system commenced in 2003, and the acute need to address safety concerns with a new generation of valley residents began. This 20.4 mile (32.6 km) system contains 28 stations, runs on reserved rights of way, >95% in city streets, and contains over 149 street traffic intersections, highway ramps and slip-ramps. In an effort to lessen injuries and damage to the public, train crew and light rail equipment, the Agency’s consultant recommended several key changes to the typical North American light rail system design. Included was an unprecedented change to the front end of the light rail vehicles with an industry first, crash energy management (CEM) bumper. This report discusses the design and functionality of the Phoenix LRV front end and bumper from concept through revenue service.

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