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Okay, here is where it gets absolute.

The mainline railways - CN, CP, VIA, GO and the like - are all considered heavy railways. And there are legal and regulatory definitions that reinforce this.

And thus, anything rail-based that can't intermingle with them - subways, streetcars, etc. - are considered light rail.
Not sure why regulations in North America are so different than in Europe, but in Europe subway cars can and do intermingle with (freight) rail (not in revenue service, to be sure, but when they need to be transported to/from the city they're being used in), but trams most definitely don't (some tram-trains can operate on a section of mainline track, but I've never seen / heard of a tram coupled in a freight consist, quite unlike subway cars), so at least in Europe it makes sense to call subways heavy rail and trams light rail in absolute terms, even though subway cars there aren't necessarily built more heavily than here. In any case, mainline rail is simply the next logical step above subways, the relative use of "light" vs "heavy" doesn't preclude the existence of an absolute hierarchy (mainline rail > subway > light metro > LRT).
 
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Not sure why regulations in North America are so different than in Europe, but in Europe subway cars can and do intermingle with (freight) rail, but trams most definitely don't (some tram-trains can operate on a section of mainline track, but I've never seen / heard of a tram coupled in a freight consist, quite unlike subway cars), so at least in Europe it makes sense to call subways heavy rail and trams light rail in absolute terms, even though subway cars there aren't necessarily built more heavily than here.
While there are a lot of historical factors as to why it was or wasn't the case, today the reasoning is because freight trains there aren't 10,000+ feet long and weigh 20,000 tonnes, and require multiple miles to come to a stop. They do here, and with regularity.

And because the size, weight and speed of the freight trains in Europe are much closer in scale to their passenger equipment, it is much easier to mix them all together.

Another reason is that there is a far, far larger spread of wayside oversight systems in place to protect trains against each other in Europe than there is in North America. PTC is a very, very recent innovation here, and while yes there were some systems in place since the 1930s, they were far more limited in scope and installation. In Europe, there are entire regions that have had systems in place since the 1960s.

Dan
 
The TTC's 5-year Service Plan is going through 1 final public consultation series.

There's a great deal in it, and rather than explain it all here by duplicating Steve Munro's efforts, I will link you to those instead:


As with all plans, the above is aspirational more than specific, timed commitments; but does touch on multiple good ideas, including:

Raising the minimum headway to 20M from 30M on all services when operating (not all routes are 24 hours).

Reducing crowding

Growing the every 10M network

Considering an every 15M network

Expanding Blue Night Service with additional routes.

Adding more amenities to stations, notably retail and water-bottle filling stations.

There are lots of opportunities to add input in the 'did we miss anything' boxes.

The survey itself, will take a few minutes and is linked here:

 
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Nice to see them considering a Blue Night route on Markham Road. I remember suggesting like a year ago that if the route existed it should have the number 302. The current;y 302 Danforth would be renumbered to 316 since it parallels the 16 McCowan.
 
During the meeting, it was mentioned that if it wasn't for all the construction on subways and streetcars routes, the subway and streetcar lines would be making a profit. Helping to support the money losing bus routes. Also mentioned that replacing the streetcars with buses during the construction results in losing money.

Think the streetcar lines would make more money for the city gave better priority to streetcars (and buses) over the single-occupant automobile. Like on King Street.
 
During the meeting, it was mentioned that if it wasn't for all the construction on subways and streetcars routes, the subway and streetcar lines would be making a profit. Helping to support the money losing bus routes. Also mentioned that replacing the streetcars with buses during the construction results in losing money.

Think the streetcar lines would make more money for the city gave better priority to streetcars (and buses) over the single-occupant automobile. Like on King Street.
I doubt anyone said the streetcar lines would be 'making a profit'. They might well have been more used and faster so the subsidy would have been smaller but public transit is all subsidised at varying levels. This table from today's 2024 Service Plan shows the per/passenger subsidy on the 'worst' routes:

1700685822084.png
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From Steve Munro article on...

TTC Five Year Service and Customer Experience Action Plan 2024-2028: Final Consultation Round

1700698500937.png

...map about a 20 minute network needs to be refined because it implies that effectively the entire network does not meet a 20 minute standard today. In fact, many routes have 20 minute or better service during most periods of operation, and some streets have the combined service of multiple routes yielding better service than implied by the map. To be meaningful, this map needs to be subdivided by time of day and by route segment.
Actually, one of the bus routes I use doesn't have a 20 minute headway. The 27 DUPONT is 30 minutes at the moment, so a 20 minute headway would be an improvement. Just hope we don't have to wait till 2028 to get it.
 
Actually, one of the bus routes I use doesn't have a 20 minute headway. The 27 DUPONT is 30 minutes at the moment, so a 20 minute headway would be an improvement. Just hope we don't have to wait till 2028 to get it.
Based on the table above, I'd think the 26 Dupont is likely to become even less frequent, or disappear altogether.
 
Based on the table above, I'd think the 26 Dupont is likely to become even less frequent, or disappear altogether.
The problem with Dupont St is all the condo and road work are popping up creating lane closures making the road very difficult to transverse. Buses are often late and large gaps are created driving riders to opt for a direct connect to the subway instead.

It also makes less sense to use such a service as those trips are mainly to local shops in which the online shopping has replaced.

Back in 2008 they tried all day every day 30 minute service. That didn't go well for all routes and ended up being cut in the RoFo era.

All these service improvements are also meaningless if operators drive as they please. Till that day we can transition to driverless bus with the operators being simply a service ambassador, it's not going to get any better. Humans at the TTC can not simply manage a line.
 
Nice to see them considering a Blue Night route on Markham Road. I remember suggesting like a year ago that if the route existed it should have the number 302. The current;y 302 Danforth would be renumbered to 316 since it parallels the 16 McCowan.
TTC route numbering - which started as A-Z - now has no real rationale and a new route just gets the next available number. See https://www.blogto.com/city/2015/11/whats_the_meaning_behind_ttc_route_numbers/ for more discussion.
 
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The problem with Dupont St is all the condo and road work are popping up creating lane closures making the road very difficult to transverse. Buses are often late and large gaps are created driving riders to opt for a direct connect to the subway instead.

It also makes less sense to use such a service as those trips are mainly to local shops in which the online shopping has replaced.

Back in 2008 they tried all day every day 30 minute service. That didn't go well for all routes and ended up being cut in the RoFo era.

All these service improvements are also meaningless if operators drive as they please. Till that day we can transition to driverless bus with the operators being simply a service ambassador, it's not going to get any better. Humans at the TTC can not simply manage a line.
Today's 26 DUPONT bus was yesteryear's 4 ANNETTE trolley bus.

The Annette trolley bus, in 1947, was supposed to be an extension of the DUPONT streetcar going west from Christie Street. It also replaced portions of the DOVERCOURT and HARBORD streetcar lines. In 1963, the 4 ANNETTE replaced the DUPONT streetcar east of Christie Street, along Dupont Street, Davenport Road, and Bedford Avenue to the St. George Station.

By 1959, at least 16 trolley buses on the 4 ANNETTE trolley bus route, provided 3 minute rush hour service (7 minute 30 second service in the evenings), but today the 26 DUPONT diesel bus provides 30 minute service (allegedly).

1700761928829.png
 
At least today, the 26 DUPONT comes every 30 minutes (allegedly). In the 1950's, the 35 JANE bus only came every 30 minutes, during the RUSH hours only. AND the 35 JANE was in a different fare zone, so many people walked the several blocks to the 4 ANNETTE trolley bus, in the west end, to avoid paying double fare.
1700770741495.png

BTW, The Gilbert loop transfer to the OAKWOOD streetcar on Eglinton Avenue West is close to the future CALEDONIA Line 5 Station. No double fares thankfully.
 

Getting bus priority right. Lessons from Bologna

Why our buses are slow and what need to be done to make them fast.
(Applies to streetcars as well.)

Transit users in North America learn through their everyday experience that there is a implicit but clear hierarchy of transit modes. And street-running transit, whether it runs on rubber or steel wheels, is the Cinderella of them all (with no Prince Charming in sight): slow, unreliable, often infrequent, and supported by minimal infrastructure, often nothing more than a curbside stop signal hung on a pole at an intersection. Even people that are strong supporters of bus-based transit tend to think that the current state of things is how “non-rapid” transit is and will always be. Some even argue that slow is, actually, good. Thus, if one wants better performances, expensive investments such as BRT- or LRT-like infrastructure are needed. In policy-makers minds, nothing exists in between the shiny BRT and “normal” buses
My home town of Bologna has no light rail (yet) and apparently no sophisticated heavy surface transit infrastructure such as street segments with BRT features. It’s just an entire transit system based on what appears to be “regular” buses. Yet, trunk bus lines in Bologna are not only more frequent, but they are also, on average, faster than the urban frequent lines of Montréal’s Réseau 10 max, the (in theory) frequent network of the city I now call home. On average, the ten routes of Montréal frequent all-day network run at a scheduled 11.9 km/h during peak morning rush (7-8:30 AM), while Bologna’s ones have a scheduled commercial speed of 14.3 km/h, which is 20% faster. Inner-city routes in Montréal, like the 24, the 80 and the 105 are even slower, running at less than 11 km/h. And the real running times are probably even worse, as the STM has effectively admitted that their schedule tends to be “optimistic” for some routes, especially at rush hour as punctuality is dropping well below 80% lately. The only route in Montréal that stands out for its higher-than-average commercial speed is the recently (almost) finished BRT along Pie-IX boulevard. Bus 439 zips along it at 17.5 km/h on average, despite a detour around a still unfinished section. But it took ten years and $650 million to get there. That’s not a recipe that can be applied to every bus corridor.
Slow mixed traffic bus or streetcar routes are not a problem exclusive to Montréal. On the contrary. Toronto’s streetcars have similarly sluggish average timetabled commercial speed, with most of the 500s routes scheduled to run at an average of 10.9 km/h during AM peak. New York has even worse performances. And this is not an exclusively North American problem. Milan’s tramways, for example, despite having long sections on reserved right-of-ways in boulevard medians, crawl at an average of 10.6 km/h between 7 – 9 AM.
However, in many other cities surface mixed-traffic transit is not so irredeemably slow. Vienna’s tramway lines boast a respectable 15.1 km/h speed during morning rush. Zurich’s tramway network averages 15.7 km/h during AM peak. So why some cities seem to have mixed-traffic transit sensibly faster than others?
Mixed-traffic transit can be slowed down by long waits at traffic lights or controlled intersections in general. By congestion along their routes. By people queuing to enter through the front door and validating/paying their fare to or in front of the driver. By stops that are too closely spaced. By exiting and merging again into the main vehicular flow after stopping. Sometimes one simple vehicle blocked in the middle of an intersection can cause many minutes of delay in a single run, with delays cascading down the whole route because of the well known bus bunching phenomenon. Something as trivial as a person searching for their pocket change to pay the fare in front of the driver can make them miss a whole traffic light cycle, losing dozens of seconds. They are all trivial facts, you may say, but second add to second, making the trip longer and running times more inconsistent, pushing agencies to overpad their schedules, as the STM currently does for most of its bus routes adding 2-3 minutes between the second-last and the last stop of each trip.

One may argue that Montréal, Toronto and Milan just needs more reserved lanes and traffic light priority to make buses faster. Let’s roll out the red carpet for those buses and streetcars! However, during rush hour, many of the busiest bus lines in Montréal already mostly run along reserved bus lanes. Three of them, 165, 67 and 105, have around 4/5th or more of their route “on a red carpet”. The 121 recently got the red carpet treatment as red concrete bus lanes have been rolled out on a section of Sauvé, and the STM pompously called that an SRB (BRT in French). Yet, these buses on a red carpet are not the fastest, by far.

Traffic light priority: a city-wide approach.​

On top of this three-layer strategy, since the late 1990s Bologna has implemented a centralized traffic light management system covering 75% of the controlled intersections in the city. The system, emphatically called UTOPIA, was modelled after the perimeter control scheme rolled out in Zurich. Thanks to more than 1,000 traffic detectors and real-time GPS data of the bus fleet shared by the transit agency, UTOPIA gets real time information of traffic volumes and can modulate the length of traffic light phases using a predictive dynamic traffic model in order to delay private traffic upstream of congested areas until they are cleared, while also giving priority to transit, especially when buses are running late. This system has received the "Bangemann Challenge Award" in 1999 and is estimated to have reduced travelling times by 12-15%.
In conclusion, what really stands out from Bologna’s 1980s traffic plan as a striking difference compared to most North American cases is the comprehensive approach the city has taken, thanks to political leadership, an institutional setting that puts the municipal government at the center of the decision-making process, and the existence of a dedicated planning tool to achieve that, the Comprehensive Urban Traffic Plan (PGTU – Piano Generale del Traffico Urbano).

Fundamentally, I think that the main takeaway for North America is that a bus redesign plan that doesn’t go hand in hand with a coordinated general redesign of vehicular traffic flows at the city level, at least in its core, will always be a half-baked solution. In my opinion, corridor-by-corridor approaches are bound to fail or, at least, underperform and to be extremely time-consuming for planning departments. A comprehensive traffic plan that takes into account the interaction of private traffic and transit is, I believe, the best way to approach transit priority in an effective way.

To conclude, I think that real-life examples such as Zurich and Bologna show that there is an enormous space for improving the quality and speed of our mixed-traffic transit service with minimal capital investment for a very high return on both ridership and lower operating costs. And this is very good news, as these are mostly low-hanging fruits in terms of capital costs. The bad news is that these interventions, that will profoundly affect how drivers experience the city, require a lot of political will, especially in the fragmented institutional framework and veto-burdened decision-making process typical of transit governance in North America. And God knows how scarce political courage is when drivers need to be inconvenienced, even if it’s for the greater common good.

Best to go to this link to read the entire article.
 

Getting bus priority right. Lessons from Bologna

Why our buses are slow and what need to be done to make them fast.
(Applies to streetcars as well.)











Best to go to this link to read the entire article.
This is an amazing article, I've had it bookmarked for like 2 years. Really is the bible in terms of what is needed for transit priority. Also really shows you how fundementally different the european context is - our car-oriented street design and frequent use of signalized intersections means that you are constantly running up against practical limitations to implementing BRT that simply aren't present in other parts of the world.
 

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