Siemens Mobility was awarded a contract from Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) for 14 light rail vehicles. The contract marks Houston METRO’s third order for Siemens Mobility vehicles, which will bring the total number in Houston to 51.
The S70 low-floor light rail vehicles will supplement the vehicles currently servicing the city’s three light-rail lines, which account for nearly two million trips per month. This will ensure the system’s reliability, efficiency, and passenger experience.
The S70 will have a new and improved modern design, with a centralized low-floor configuration offering full low-floor access between all doors along the length of the vehicle, allowing for more accessibility, particularly for wheelchairs and strollers. It widens aisles, which will optimize passenger flow throughout the vehicles. In addition, drivers will experience an increased field of vision on the sides of the vehicles. The features improve safety and efficiency, making it one of the most accessible vehicles of its kind in the market today, according to Siemens.
Houston was the first to select the S70 low-floor vehicle design, which was successfully inaugurated on its first 12-mile line in January 2004, just in time to transport more than 64,000 fans to and from Super Bowl XXXVIII. Since then, more than 600 S70 vehicles have been ordered by 11 cities throughout the U.S.
The light rail vehicles will be Buy America-compliant and built by the more than 1,300 employees at Siemens Mobility’s solar-powered manufacturing facility in Sacramento, California.