Tips for Drivers Sharing The Road With The QLine

Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember a recent post discussing the new public transportation system in downtown Detroit, the QLine. The QLine is a streetcar system that runs along Woodward Ave through downtown, Wayne State University, Midtown, and Foxtown. The QLine opened in May of 2017, and while it’s a great transportation option in Detroit, it may also cause confusion for drivers in the city.

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The QLine tracks are on public roads, changing the traffic patterns drivers in the area are used to and requiring drivers to pay attention to the streetcars as well as newly posted traffic lights and signage. The QLine adds yet another element drivers need to be aware of on already busy city streets. One driver unfortunately learned this the hard way, colliding with a QLine streetcar. CBS Detroit reported that on Thursday October 5, 2017, the driver of a long-bed truck pulled out in front of the QLine at the intersection of Willis and Woodward Ave, colliding with the streetcar. The driver was found to be at fault, and will likely receive a citation. Luckily damage to the vehicle and the QLine was minor and no was injured.

M-1 Rail, the creators of the QLine, said that in the 5 months the QLine has been operating, it has been involved in about 6 minor accidents. The QLine is a large, relatively slow moving vehicle, being 66 feet long and traveling at 35 MPH. While it may be frustrating to be stuck behind the QLine, drivers need to be careful not to make any sudden movements, such as cutting out in front of the QLine at an intersection, or attempting to pass the QLine and cutting it off.m in order to avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident. The QLine released this video to suggest safety tips for drivers.

While these driving safety tips cannot guarantee that QLine car accidents won’t happen, they can help drivers be more prepared when it comes to sharing the road with the QLine. While it may take some getting used to for drivers, the QLine is a great transportation option for those who don’t want to try and navigate Detroit themselves, and an excellent alternative to drunk driving for those who have had a fun night on the town. The QLine is still a relatively new system, and likely over time drivers will be more accustomed to sharing the road with the streetcars. In the meantime, drivers should be aware of their surroundings when driving in Detroit, follow all posted signage and traffic signals, and not try to outrun the QLine, no matter how slow it seems to be moving.


Public transportation systems like the QLine that operate on public roads require some time for drivers to get used to sharing the road with them. But regardless of how much time has passed and how comfortable drivers are with the Qline, car accidents can still happen. If you have been involved in an automobile accident involving a public transportation vehicle such as a SMART Bus or the QLine, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Introducing The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus

The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog has maintained a focus on the steady development of autonomous vehicle projects and the various companies that are preparing for future autonomous vehicle production. However, cars are not the only forms of transportation that will soon become automated.

Daimler, the creator of the Mercedes-Benz luxury vehicles, is revolutionizing public city transportation by creating the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, a semi-automated bus with CityPilot. CityPilot is an autonomous driving system designed by Daimler, that allows semi-automated buses to drive safely and efficiently in a special, designated lane up to 43 mph. According to Daimler’s website, the Future Bus has been the next development following the Mercedes-Benz Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, a partially automated semi-truck that has already been driving on its own, on motorways. The CityPilot system was created based off of Highway Pilot technology, yet it has undergone more advanced developments and possesses more functions.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

CityPilot is equipped with about a dozen cameras that scan the road, while short and long radar systems monitor the route ahead. This allows the bus to recognize and communicate with traffic lights, perceive obstacles-most importantly pedestrians-operate and brake autonomously, and position itself precisely to the centimeter. The Future Bus can approach stops automatically and open its doors to let citizens in an out, drive through tunnels, includes a precise GPS navigation system, and can reach a top speed of 70 km/h (about 43 mph). For safety precautions, a human driver sits at the wheel to monitor the route, and may take control of the wheel at any moment if necessary.

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

Source:  Daimler

Source: Daimler

The interior and exterior design gives the Future Bus a unique, futuristic look, while offering passengers a state-of-the-art, comfortable ride. The exterior offers a ground-breaking design including an array of smooth contours, cutting edge door layouts, and sleek lines designed to both appeal to the aesthetic and to put the 'future' in Future Bus. The interior is designed with an open, relaxed layout made up of 3 zones based on how long the passenger plans to ride. Each zone is comprised of very modern, comfortable seating, and the ceiling lights have been arranged to resemble a leaf canopy. Passengers are also able to access information and entertainment through large monitors in the middle passenger department, and can even charge their smartphones on charging pads next to their seats.

As reported by The Verge, the Future Bus has already been put to the test as it completed a 30 km (about 12 miles) route through the Netherlands back in July, 2016. This route included challenging turns, tunnels, traffic lights, and pedestrians. The bus was successfully able to navigate itself flawlessly without the driver needing to turn the wheel, brake, or accelerate at any moment.

Source:  Diamler

Source: Diamler

According to Mashable, unlike the Actros Truck with Highway Pilot, in which Daimler plans to begin production in 2020, the company does not plan to produce Future Bus Prototypes. Instead, Daimler plans to use certain parts of the advanced technology and semi-autonomous system to implement into regular city buses for the future, as well as focusing on the improvement of its zero-emission production plans. So, it could be possible that Detroit and other major Michigan cities such as Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, and Ann Arbor, may have automated public transportation in the future!


The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is a ground-breaking innovation built with safety features that far exceed what is humanly possible. With cameras and radar systems that can detect even the smallest motions during a route, and an autonomous driving system that can force itself to brake on a dime, it is hard to imagine any safety risks that can occur. However, it is imperative to note that buses, regardless if a human is driving or not, may prove a risk to citizens and may be prone to accidents. According to The Accident Data Center, over 55,000 people are injured by buses in the US per year. If you or anyone you know has been injured by a bus, car, or been in an accident of any kind, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

Study: Commuters Want Reliability over Technology Upgrades

A new report from research group TransitCenter suggests that amenities such as free Wi-Fi and comfy seats aren’t as important to riders as previously thought. The study concludes that people don’t care about the fancy features of public transportation, they don’t think that they convince more people to ride a bus, and funding would be more useful for other system improvements. 

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Wired reports that TransitCenter surveyed more than 3,000 online respondents from 17 regions across the country about the type of upgrades they would like to see on their daily commutes. These choices included free Wi-Fi, outlets, more frequent service, faster travel times, cheaper fares, robust shelters built for bad weather, and updates on when their bus would arrive. The survey showed that features such as outlets and Wi-Fi were the least important to commuters. This survey proved that customers favor reliability and practicality over technology upgrades and flashy amenities. Earlier this year, New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) was scorned by the public for adding Wi-Fi and USB charging ports to 75 new buses, which will cost between $2,000 and $3,000 per bus, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

“Many of the young people using our system today grew up with a smartphone in one hand a tablet in the other,” MTA chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergrast said when the unveiling of the new technology systems were rolled out. “They’re demanding more Wi-Fi, more real-time information, more charging stations, connectivity, more apps, and more screens. They aren’t luxury items anymore.”

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Steven Higashide, TransitCenter’s Senior Program Analyst believes transit officials may not make the best decisions on behalf of the commuters because they aren’t the ones that are riding the bus and subway everyday. “We’re really not trying to criticize agencies for providing Wi-Fi, but it won’t improve service,” Higashide explained. Aarian Marshall from Wired believes that it’s a zero sum game, and either luxury or reliability takes precedence. “The stakes are higher for US cities where transit ridership-especially on the unglamourous but highly useful bus-is stagnant or declining. It’s new buses or a more robust, concentrated network. It’s a shelter with a countdown clock or a new tree next to the bus stop,” Marshall wrote. 


The Metro Detroit area is continuing to enhance the accessibility to public transportation for commuters so they can get to work or school on time. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an accident involving a public transportation vehicle such as a SMART Bus, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our experienced attorneys will work alongside you to get you the help you need, so that you can focus on your recovery. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

The QLINE: Detroit’s New Light Rail System

This past week it was announced that the new light rail that will take over Woodward Avenue sometime in 2017 will no longer be named the M-1Rail, but the QLINE instead. The Detroit Free Press reported that Quicken Loans, the key investor in the project, announced the change. More than the name however, citizens of Detroit, Michigan want to know what the QLINE is.

The people of Detroit may recall that there have been talks about creating something like a light rail, stretching from New Center through downtown Dertoit for years. Well, the QLINE will finally do just that. The 3.3 mile streetcar line will take pedestrians from New Center to Downtown and vice versa, something that has been difficult to do without a car since the New Center area started being built in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

Detroit’s public transit system is extremely lacking by modern standards. Other than the slow bus system, which is currently being worked on, and the Detroit People Mover, which only caters to a very small portion of downtown, Detroiters are pretty much out of luck in the public sector when it comes to transportation. The QLINE project will connect parts of Detroit that were not connected before and there are hopes that it will someday run significantly further down Woodward Avenue into the suburbs of Detroit.

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The project is estimated to cost roughly $140 million, and Quicken Loans paid an additional $5 for the rights to name the line. Currently, the fare will cost $1.50, but passes will also be available. It is estimated that somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 riders will use the line daily. These are great numbers for the City of Detroit, but what exactly does it mean for the citizens of Detroit?

The QLINE is expected to do a lot of things. It will allow Detroiters to get from New Center to Downtown and back quickly and cheaply. It has been estimated to bring in almost $3 billion in economic development, which will in turn bring more jobs to Detroit.

The QLINE will also offer a service to drivers. With more and more people being able to use competent public transportation in Detroit, there will be significantly less commuter traffic in the city, which means getting around will be quicker and easier. Not only will driving be easier, but it will also be safer. With less cars on the road, there is also less chance that any one given driver will get into an accident with another driver. Another aspect of the QLINE that is helpful to drivers, is the ability to get around in Detroit after having consumed alcoholic beverages. There are many bars, restaurants, clubs, and casinos all around Detroit and without a service such as the QLINE, it is very hard to get from one to the other especially when a patron has been drinking. With the availability that the QLINE offers, drinkers and party-goers will have a cheap, legal, and far safer alternative to drunk driving.

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Overall, the QLine will offer citizens and visitors of Detroit something new and improve the failing public transportation system Detroit currently has. It will also offer an alternative for drivers who commute to Detroit and make downtown roads safer, and will hopefully cut down on everyday traffic.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys are highly experienced in handling all types of personal injury cases, including auto accidents, bus accidents, and rail accidents. Call us today, at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.