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6 Top Transit Projects for 2018

Ray Charabaty

What does 2018 have in store for Canadian transit? We’ve got you covered!

Here are the top transit projects that Canadian transit systems and municipalities are working on in 2018, building on last year’s successes and laying down the tracks (literally) for a brighter, well-connected future:

WINNIPEG: Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor

The Southwest Rapid Transit Corridor is the largest infrastructure project in Winnipeg’s history. 2017 saw the successful opening of Stadium Station, a part of the Southwest Transitway project that allows for more efficient service to Investors Group Stadium located on the University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus. This development cut commuting time in half for masses attending events at the stadium and for students going to university from other parts of the city.

Alissa Clark from Winnipeg Transit tells us, “This station can accommodate up to 150 buses and allows for post event service to be completed in under 30 minutes, down from 65 minutes before the opening of the station.”

As 2018 rolls in, construction on four overpass and two underpass structures will eventually connect the 7.6 km Stage 2 project to the 3.6 km Stage 1 project, linking downtown Winnipeg to southwest Winnipeg via dedicated transit infrastructure.

EDMONTON: Edmonton LRT

Edmonton Transit Service has a lot on the way in 2018.

“Thanks to the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF), the City of Edmonton has been able to put forward 46 infrastructure projects across Edmonton to improve the user experience when using Edmonton Transit Service and the LRT,” says Jas Badesha from the City of Edmonton. “LRT improvements include installing LED lighting, ceiling and floor tile replacements and floor warning tile upgrades at various LRT stations.”

Valley Line Train rendering

The upcoming Edmonton LRT will include an urban style, low-floor Valley Line Southeast LRT meant to provide a convenient 11-stop service from downtown all the way to Mill Woods. On January 22, 2018, the selected artists and public art proposals for the new line were announced. In February, the public was able to view a mock-up display of a light rail vehicle (LRV) for the Valley Line. 

Construction on the line began in spring of 2017 and will continue throughout the coming year.

Artist rendering of Davies Station

In addition to the above, the City of Edmonton is planning some other great changes to its public transit service as part of its ten-year Transit Strategy. Some of the most exciting projects enhancing the transit rider experience include:

  • A redesigned bus network that matches transit service to the needs of Edmontonians
  • An electronic Smart Fare  “tap and go” payment system will make paying to travel across the Edmonton Metropolitan Region easier
  • The new Valley Line LRT will provide convenient service, connecting users to various parts of the city
  • The proposed Regional Transit Services Commission will provide intercity transit service that is fast, convenient and seamlessly integrated with other modes of transportation, e.g., train and plane
  • An increasing fleet of electric buses and expanding bicycle networks will provide more sustainable forms of transportation

LONDON: Bus-Rapid-Transit System/ Shift

The city of London is planning for a Bus Rapid Transit system to enhance the commute of Londoners. Detailed maps and renderings of the recommended preliminary designs were released during five Open House events that the city put on between February 28 and March 3rd of this year.

On January 15, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca and MPP for London North centre Deb Mathews announced that the project is receiving a $170 million investment from the province of Ontario. Following a series of public consultations and thanks to this commitment in funding, the City of London and the London Transit Commission will be able to start implementing intelligent traffic signals and potentially a prototype BRT stop this year.

London’s rapid transportation initiative, Shift, defines Rapid Transit as more than just trains and buses: “Rapid Transit is a combination of elements including vehicles, stations, rights-of-way, fare collection systems and smart technologies. They make the system faster to access and more enjoyable to ride. It’s about a complete system that offers a modern or state of the art service to passengers.

OTTAWA: Light-Rail-Transit System (Confederation & Trillium Extension)

By 2031, Ottawa will see at least a 30% increase in population. With OC Transpo’s downtown stations at near capacity, the tricky solution of adding more buses and bus routes comes at the expense of slowing down existing buses.

Ottawa’s brand new Light Rail Transit system will see the opening of Phase 1 in 2018. The Confederation Line will begin its first full revenue service this year after going through an extended testing period.

A state-of-the-art LRT system, the Confederation Line is Ottawa’s largest transportation infrastructure system since the building of the Rideau Canal.

“The Confederation Line will be a significant part of OC Transpo’s integrated transit network. It will connect to the existing Bus Rapid Transitway at Tunney’s Pasture Station in the west and Blair Road in the east, and to the O-Train at Bayview Station. Together with a 2.5-km downtown tunnel, this light rail system will move Ottawa faster and more comfortably than ever before.” – Confederation Line official website

Construction on Highway 417 began in April 2013.

Click on image to view the full map

Whats next? Phase 2 of the LRT plan will extend the existing O-Train Trillium Line to Riverside South, and link both Walkley and Gladstone, as well as Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. The Confederation line will go west all the way to Moodie and Baseline, and East all the way to Trim road. This Phase will add 23 new stations to the system. With construction aimed to begin in 2013, the Phase 2 extension of the LRT will bring “70% of Ottawa’s residents within five kilometres of rail.”

TORONTO: Eglinton Crosstown LRT

Crossing through the heart of midtown, Toronto’s Metrolinx is working hard at laying down the 19-kilometre track for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. With a budget of $9.1 billion, the Government of Ontario is seeking to transport 15,000 passengers per hour, per direction at maximum capacity (5,400 passengers during average peak times by 2031) in light rail transit plan. Cars can be added or removed to accommodate fluctuating demand.

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT will run 11-kilometres underground between Keele Street and Laird Drive, and will link to three TTC subway stations, several GO Transit stops, and at least 54 bus routes.

While the first piece of track was laid out in August of 2017, this year will see Mount Dennis station connect to the main storage and maintenance facility which makes up a significant portion of this project. Construction on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is scheduled to be complete by 2021.

SASKATOON: Bus-Rapid-Transit System

The stations in mind for the BRT system could house 12 to 20 people. (City of Saskatoon)

City councillors have recently approved a massive revamp of Saskatoon Transit. A $120 million bus-rapid-transit (BRT) plan will see sections of dedicated bus lanes appear on 3rd Avenue and Broadway Avenue, with the new line reaching new suburban centres. The BRT will play an important role in transit-oriented areas in “both redeveloped and greenfield sites,” says Lesley Anderson, Director of planning and development at the city of Saskatoon. These improvements intend to change the central transit hub model in downtown Saskatoon and allow for other developing high-density housing to have solid access to public transit.

The contractor, HDR Corporation, has announced that the BRT will also feature “transit signal priority measures”, a system of interpreting existing traffic signal infrastructure, bus arrival detection and software logic “to determine the optimum wat to limit bus delay at traffic signals.”

Construction on the line is set to begin in 2019.

BONUS: QUEBEC CITY – Montreal Light-Rail-Transit System

Although too early to confirm any definitive plans, Quebec City deserves an honorable mention for a project still in its very early stages: a new rapid transit line between Quebec City and Montreal.

On November 26, 2017, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard addressed transit as a fundamental infrastructure issue, saying, “We will get Quebec out of this unsustainable logic of always more roads for more cars."

"I want a modern, new, comfortable, revolutionary way of going between Quebec and Montreal that will generate the envy of other people on the planet."

While talks of whether this line would be a light-rail transit system, a high-speed monorail, or another form of rapid transit, this is one interesting conversation for Canadian transit to keep an eye out for.

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