History

Transportation Methods


Through the years the methods of transportation have changed in Knoxville. Please read through our history to see where we began, the many transitions, and where we are today.
  • 1876: Horse-drawn streetcar service begins in Knoxville.
  • 1890: Knoxville Streetcars are converted from animal to electric power. The first electric streetcar ran from Gay Street to Lake Ottosee (now Chilhowee Park).
  • 1895: Knoxville Electric Streetcar Company changes its name to the Knoxville Traction Company.
  • 1902: Knoxville Traction Company is sold to United Railway and Light Company of America.
  • 1904: Knoxville Traction Company changes its name to the Knoxville Railway and Light Company.
  • 1910: Knoxville had 42 miles of track and was carrying 11 million passengers per year.
  • 1921: National Power and Light Company purchases the streetcar system and changes its name to Knoxville Power and Light Company.
  • 1929: The first buses were used, serving on feeder routes for the streetcar system.
  • 1930: Knoxville Power and Light Company changes its name to the Tennessee Public Service Company.
    • Knoxville's first and only electric rubber-tired coaches begin service.
  • 1938: The Tennessee Coach Company buys Knoxville's public transportation system and changes its name to Knoxville Transit Lines (KTL).
  • 1947: Electric streetcars made their last run in Knoxville on August 1.
  • 1958: Bus service was first added to the University of Tennessee.
  • 1967: Knoxville Transit Lines is sold to the City of Knoxville.
    • Knoxville Transit Lines (KTL) changes its name to the Knoxville Transit Corporation (KTC).
    • The Knoxville Transit Authority is established.
  • 1972: The first air-conditioned GMC buses arrived in Knoxville.
  • 1975: KTC moves to Jessamine Street.
  • 1978: The Knoxville Transit Authority is renamed the Knoxville Transportation Authority.
    • KTC changes its name to K-Trans.
  • 1989: K-Trans moved into a new facility on Magnolia Avenue.
    • The downtown transfer point is moved to Summer Place and Walnut Avenue.
  • 1990: The new office and maintenance facility is dedicated to Reverend W T. Crutcher, chairman and long-time member of the KTA.
  • 1995: K-Trans became Knoxville Area Transit (KAT).
  • 1997: KAT begins neighborhood service using minibuses in Sequoyah Hills and Lincoln Park.
    • The KTA and Trolley Board consolidate functions.
  • 2001: The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) was created by city ordinance.
  • 2003: KAT begins Clean Fuels Program with propane-powered vehicles.
  • 2004: KAT is named APTA's North American Transit System of the Year.
  • 2010: KAT begins operating out of the John J. Duncan, Jr. Knoxville Station, a brand-new, state-of-the-art, LEED-certified transit center.
    • KAT implements a complete fixed-route system restructure (KATamorphosis) - ridership increases every month for several years.
  • 2011: Automated Vehicle Locator (AVL) system is implemented improving system efficiency.
  • 2013: KAT installs the first of several SuperStops to enhance passenger experience at outlying transfer points.
    • KAT improves frequencies on major routes to every 15 minutes during peak hours.
  • 2014: KAT begins operating Hybrid Electric vehicles.
    • KAT implements a Semester Pass Program.
    • City established Director of Transit position.
  • 2015: KAT restructures Trolley routing with Green Line, Blue Line and Orange Line.
    • KAT receives the "Shining Star" award from the Federal Transit Administration.
  • 2016: KAT Implemented Google Transit, a trip planning feature on the website.
    • Awarded contract to develop a new website.
    • The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) is dissolved by city ordinance.
  • 2017: All vehicles equipped with Wi-Fi access for passengers - a free amenity.
    • New distinctive Trolley signage and shelters installed.