Even Ford Motor Company wasn’t beyond fantasizing about regional rapid transit and recognized the crucial role for rail rapid transit in the growing metro Detroit region. In the 1970 report, “Master Plan for Ford Properties” by William L. Pereira & Associates, an 81-mile rapid transit plan is laid out according to the TALUS study. At this time, supposedly a commuter line (2 trains per day) was already running between Pontiac and Detroit. The main lines important for Ford were:
Grand River-Schoolcraft Line
“[…] conveniently located for the low-income low-auto-ownership residents of the area. Six more stations serve an estensive residential corridor of about eight miles lying directly north of the site. In a second phase, the line would continue to Merriman Road […]”
“[…] this line on the system originates in the Central Business District running in subway under Michigan Avenue to the Lodge Freeway and sharing some stations with the Grand River-Schoolcraft line in the CBD. […] In a second phase, the Michigan-Airport line continues along the Penn Central right-of-way, wit stations in West Dearborn and Inkster.”
The planners recognized that the feasibility and funding weren’t there for the comprehensive rapid transit system and so proposed an interim system that connected Downtown to the Metro Airport due to the expected population increase in that general area of Wayne County. This sounds much like the commuter rail development that SEMCOG is trying to establish between Ann Arbor and Detroit, over 40 years in the making.
The report closes, noting that “[…] all large scale development in the future must take into account the possibility of rapid transit.”