It is widely asserted that cars have an advantage over trains/trams because they take you directly where you want to go. But if we have a grid, with traffic lights on the corners, and sufficient population density for trams to work well (say 10 people per acre - much lower than say San Jose), there is no advantage for cars, as they have to stop and start at the lights roughly the same as trams have to stop at stations. Trams in such a situation have a massive energy advantage (a factor of 10 or more).
A grid network of trams with a 6 minute headway will give about the same travel times as cars, without the endless externalities of cars. Dresden has a 3 minute headway, and unsurprisingly, the roads are quite car free, even in the suburbs.