27 new light rail vehicles (LRVs) were ordered for this project and have begun entering service on the existing METRO Blue Line. The new Type 3 LRVs include several significant changes from the Type 1 and Type 2 LRVs currently in service:
- The interior of the new LRT vehicles being used for Southwest LRT have been modified after feedback from community members as part of the design process. The new design has seats running parallel along the middle vehicle, or “C” car. This updated design will have seats facing each other across the expanded aisle. These changes were based on input that was received from the Met Council’s Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee, an advisory group who rely on transit and provide ongoing advice to transit leaders regarding issues related to people with disabilities.
- This updated middle car design increases circulation for people who use mobility devices by increasing the center aisle width from 24 inches to 40 inches.
- The new middle car design eliminates knee-to-knee seating, which promoted people putting their feet on the seats.
- The new vehicles have spray-on flooring and plastic seats, rather than fabric, which are easier to maintain and clean.
- The new light rail vehicles are easier to work on, requiring less staff time to perform routine maintenance. Harder-to-reach mechanical components have been relocated to the top and bottom of the vehicle, allowing easier access.
The Met Council's Transportation Accessibility Advisory Committee (TAAC) previewed the LRV design features that ensure accessibility for mobility-impaired and vision-impaired transit customers: