he development of modern trams in Chinese cities has been garnering increasing attention in recent years, and development focused on clustered cities is the most recent trend in China. However, there is a lack of specialized research in the development of modern trams in clustered cities. First, this study identifies the main functions of modern trams in clustered cities and its influencing factors, considering the role it plays in supplying and connecting the main public transportation system in the central areas of the city, and its role as the backbone of the public transportation system in the city. On this basis, five factors, including the fit between the modern tram and master plan of city development, connection with the subway and other mass transit, recent develpment of tram lines in the clusters, passenger flow demand, and implementation conditions of the line, are used as decision indicators. Then, the Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) is used to study the construction timing approach. One of the latest tram network planning schemes of a first-tier city in China is provided as an example, to validate the proposed method.