Toronto’s King St. pilot project data shows improvement of afternoon streetcar travel times

Commuters board an eastbound King St. streetcar at Yonge St. on Dec 8 2014. The Canadian Press via Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

The City of Toronto says they have seen afternoon rush hour travel times for streetcars improve by a couple of minutes during the first two weeks of the King Street pilot project.

The first set of data was released on Tuesday following the pilot project’s launch on Nov. 12. The project aims to give priority to streetcars along what is the busiest surface transit route in the city on King Street from Bathurst to Jarvis streets.

Preliminary findings for the first two weeks showed the upper range of streetcar travel times improved by three minutes to 22 minutes on the eastbound route and by 4.3 minutes to 19.7 minutes going westbound.

As well, the data found that average streetcar travel times improved during the afternoon rush hours. The most significant improvement was on the westbound route, with a 2.6-minute improvement through the pilot area.

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Findings also showed the reliability of the streetcar travel times has improved for both the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The data did not detail streetcar travel times during the morning rush.

LISTEN: Transit advocate Steve Munro on the King Street Pilot

Drivers that travel along the pilot project route have not seen much of an impact, according to the data.

The average vehicle travel time on most streets in the area have been either sped up or slowed down by around a minute or less compared to before the pilot project.

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“The initial set of data shows improvements in the reliability and travel times of the streetcar, with minimal impacts on travel times for vehicles on other routes in the downtown,” said Transportation Services General Manager Barbara Gray in a press release.

The city said they will continue to monitor the pilot project through data collection and public feedback.

The data aims to collect information on the impact it has on transit service, traffic flow on parallel streets and effects on cyclists, pedestrians and local businesses.

“We also appreciate the feedback of local businesses, transit users and the taxi industry, and will continue to address any concerns as quickly as possible,” stated Mayor John Tory.

Traffic data is being collected through a city partnership with Miovision, as well as monitored through the use of Bluetooth and GPS technology.

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