RTA Rapid Transit

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RTA Rapid Transit
OwnerGreater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
LocaleCuyahoga County, Ohio
Transit typeRapid transit
Number of lines1 rapid transit: Red
3 light rail: Blue, Green, Waterfront[1]
Number of stations18 rapid transit
34 light rail[1]
Daily ridership10,800 (rapid transit, weekdays, Q4 2023)
2,500 (light rail, weekdays, Q4 2023)[2]
Annual ridership3,469,100 (rapid transit, 2023)
661,500 (light rail, 2023)[3]
Began operationOctober 25, 1859; 164 years ago (1859-10-25)
(first streetcar line);
December 17, 1913; 110 years ago (1913-12-17)
(current lines)
March 15, 1955; 69 years ago (1955-03-15)
(rapid transit);
October 11, 1980; 43 years ago (1980-10-11)
Ended operationOctober 30, 1981; 42 years ago (1981-10-30)
(last streetcar use)
Number of vehicles40 rapid transit cars
34 light rail cars[1]
System length19 mi (31 km) rapid transit
18 mi (29 km) light rail[1]
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
System map

RTA Rapid Transit (generally known as The Rapid) is a rapid transit and semi-metro[4] system owned and operated by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA).

The system serves Cleveland and surrounding areas in Cuyahoga County. The system currently consists of four total service lines: one rapid transit rail line and three light rail lines.

Rail Lines[edit]

The four rail lines join at Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland, on the platform level of the former Cleveland Union Terminal.

Three rail lines share their tracks at Tri-C–Campus District and East 55th stations. This sharing of one route by light and heavy rail trains is quite unusual. The shared stations have connected platforms of two heights to accommodate the two kinds of trains. And the two types of trains both use the same maintenance facility since they both use the same track gauge and same source of power (overhead catenary).

Red Line[edit]

The Red Line, a heavy-rail route, runs in both directions on fully grade-separated rights-of-way built from 1955 to 1968. It serves Cleveland's southwest suburbs, with its southwestern terminus at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Heading northeast, the Red Line serves University Circle before heading to its northeastern terminus at the Louis Stokes Station at Windermere in East Cleveland.

Blue, Green, and Waterfront Lines[edit]

The Blue and Green light-rail lines (alternatively known as the RTA Shaker Rapid) were built from 1913 to 1936 as grade-separated lines closer to downtown and surface lines along street medians in the streetcar suburb of Shaker Heights.

The two lines part ways at Shaker Square, a historic mixed-use community in Cleveland proper, just west of the Shaker Heights border. The Blue Line veers southeast along Van Aken Boulevard until reaching its terminus near the intersection of Warrensville Center Road and Chagrin Boulevard (U.S. Route 422 and State Route 8). The Green line continues due east along Shaker Boulevard (State Route 87) until reaching its terminus at the intersection of Green Road.

Light rail vehicle on the Waterfront Line

The Waterfront Line, opened in 1996, extends the Blue and Green Lines from Tower City north through The Flats. It then travels northeast along the shoreline of Lake Erie, servicing the local Amtrak station and terminates at the Lakefront Municipal lot. The Waterfront light rail line provides access from Tower City Center to the Flats, Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Great Lakes Science Center, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Burke Lakefront Airport.


Cleveland Rapid Transit, 1913–present

The RTA Rapid Transit system consists of a total of 47 stations.[5] The stations are fully or partially within the city limits of Cleveland, Shaker Heights, East Cleveland, and Brook Park.

Tower City on the Red, Blue, Green, and Waterfront Lines
Coventry on the Green Line
West 25th on the Red Line
Lee-Van Aken on the Blue Line
Settlers Landing on the Waterfront Line
Airport on the Red Line
Belvoir on the Green Line
†* Terminus and transfer stations
Terminal stations
* Transfer stations
Closed stations
Station Rapid Transit lines Jurisdiction Opened Rebuilt ADA access
Airport Red Cleveland 1968 1994 1994
Amtrak Waterfront Cleveland 1997
Ashby Blue Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Attleboro Green Shaker Heights 1913 1980
Avalon Blue Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Belvoir Green Shaker Heights 1936 1980
Brookpark Red Cleveland / Brook Park 1969 2017 2003
Buckeye–Woodhill* Blue Green Cleveland 1920 1981, 2012 2012
Cedar–University Red Cleveland 1955 2014 2002
Courtland Green Shaker Heights 1915 1980
Coventry Green Cleveland / Shaker Heights 1913 1980
Drexmore Blue Cleveland 1948 1981
East 9th–North Coast Waterfront Cleveland 1996 1996
East 55th* Red Blue Green Cleveland 1920 2011 2011
East 79th Red Cleveland 1955 2021 2021
East 79th* Blue Green Cleveland 1920 1981
East 105th–Quincy Red Cleveland 1955 2005 2005
East 116th–St. Luke's* Blue Green Cleveland 1920 1981, 2019 2019
Eaton Green Shaker Heights 1915 1980
Euclid–East 120th Red Cleveland 1955
Farnsleigh Blue Shaker Heights 1930 1981, 2019 2019
Flats East Bank Waterfront Cleveland 1996 1996
Green Road Green Shaker Heights 1936 1980, 1988 2001
Kenmore Blue Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Lee–Shaker Green Shaker Heights 1913 1980, 2017 2017
Lee–Van Aken Blue Shaker Heights 1920 1981, 2015 2015
Little Italy–University Circle Red Cleveland 2015 2015
Lynnfield Blue Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Onaway Blue Shaker Heights 1920 1980
Puritas–West 150th Red Cleveland 1968 2011 2011
Settlers Landing Waterfront Cleveland 1996 1996
Shaker Square* Blue Green Cleveland 1920 1986 2006
South Harbor Waterfront Cleveland 1996 1996
South Park Green Shaker Heights 1913 1980
South Woodland Blue Cleveland / Shaker Heights 1920 1981
Southington Blue Shaker Heights 1920 1980
Southington Green Shaker Heights 1913 1981
Superior Red East Cleveland 1955 1996 1996
Tower City†* Red Blue Green Waterfront Cleveland 1930 1990 1990
Tri-C–Campus District* Red Blue Green Cleveland 1930 2003, 2018 2018
Triskett Red Cleveland 1958 2000 2000
Warrensville–Shaker Green Shaker Heights 1928 1980, 2016 2016
Warrensville–Van Aken Blue Shaker Heights 1930 1981, 1999 1999
West 3rd Waterfront Cleveland 1999 1999
West 25th–Ohio City Red Cleveland 1955 1992 1992
West 65th–Lorain Red Cleveland 1955 2004 2004
West 117th–Madison Red Cleveland 1955 2007 2007
West Boulevard–Cudell Red Cleveland 1955 1999 1999
West Green Green Shaker Heights 1936 1980
West Park Red Cleveland 1958 1996 1996
Windermere†* Red East Cleveland 1955 1997 1997

Note: Euclid–East 120th Street station closed in 2015 and was replaced by Little Italy–University Circle station.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Overview: Facts about the Greater Cleveland RTA". Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
  2. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2023" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 4, 2024. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  3. ^ "Transit Ridership Report Fourth Quarter 2023" (PDF). American Public Transportation Association. March 4, 2024. Retrieved March 14, 2024.
  4. ^ Landgraf, Robert J. (1992). "Cleveland's Light Rail System in the 1980s: The Ongoing Revolution". Transportation Research Record (1361): 259. ISSN 0361-1981. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  5. ^ RTA system maps

External links[edit]