Staff Report #1
To All Commissioners
Re: Industrial Service Strategy Update
That the Commission ENDORSE the following service delivery models as options for discussion at the May 15, 2018 meeting with Industrial Service stakeholders:
- Fixed Route
- Branch Route
- Employment/Industrial Shuttle
- On-Demand Service
- Dynamic Service Delivery Options including:
- First Mile / Last Mile
- Micro Transit
- Flex Routes
- Specialized Integration
- Guaranteed Ride Home
- Trip Planning Integration
At the January 25, 2017 meeting, the Commission requested a review and update of the data used to inform the Industrial Service Strategy, including an assessment of the areas where Londoners currently are unable to access employment opportunities in industrial areas via regular public transit due to gaps in either service coverage or time of day. Further, the request was to involve the London Economic Development Corporation as well as the London Chamber of Commerce in the review, noting opportunities for new delivery models may be identified, including but not limited to partnering with businesses in the area to cost-share the service delivery.
The focus of the industrial service review are lands zoned industrial, which currently have transit service provided during limited times of the day or are without nearby transit service. The areas identified are: the Airport Industrial area, Sovereign Road, Veteran’s Memorial Parkway (VMP/401), Wilton Grove and Exeter/White Oaks Road.
Transit services to modern industrial areas are a complex issue influenced by a number of challenges, many of which are competing in nature. The complexities and challenges associated with providing transit service to industrial areas are not limited or unique to London. Many municipalities struggle to provide transit services to industrial areas whether it is limited service (i.e. peak only – Monday to Friday) or full service (full service day – Monday to Sunday). The challenges include:
- Land use patterns/policies
- Nature of employment i.e. various operating shifts
- Economics of service delivery
- Revenue recovery of industrial services
- Cost of service and source of funding
- Development Charge Act issues and City’s economic policies respecting industrial areas
With respect to economics of servicing industrial service areas, there are a number of factors which impact the operating economics, including:
- the location of modern industrial sites (periphery of city)
- design – large buildings, significant set-backs, limited pedestrian amenities
- nature of employment – multiple shifts 24/7
- source of employment – travel from all areas of the city (creating the need for passenger transfers which impacts service routing and scheduling i.e. reconciled with other routes in the system)
LTC currently operates three routes classified as industrial routes: Route 30, 36 and 37, all operating on weekdays only. Route 30 (Wilton Grove area) provides extended peak period service. Route 36 operates during peak and base periods, with two late evening trips. Route 37 operates modified peak periods only. Currently all three routes are exceeding the minimum boardings per revenue vehicle hour for Industrial routes (15) as set out in the Route Structure and Service Guideline Review.
In order to gain insight into the number of employees, types of businesses and operating hours in both the Industrial areas with existing transit service, and those that are not currently within 400 meters of a transit route, the London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) and London Transit conducted employer surveys. Of the 750 total businesses in the defined Industrial areas, 197 responses were received.
Generally the survey found:
- 42% of respondents indicated limited or no access to London Transit, specifically in the Meadowbrook Drive, Exeter Road and White Oaks Road areas
- of the respondents, it is anticipated that the current workforce will increase by 37% over the next three years (from 7,741 currently to 10,639 in 2021)
- on average 49% of respondents indicated that at least some of their current employees use transit
- 25% of respondents state the long walk from the closest transit stop to the business is a deterrent for taking transit
- 20% of respondents state the current bus schedules do not coordinate with shift times
- shift start and end times are not consistent among businesses in the same area
In addition to the employer surveys, London Transit contracted Dillon Consulting to perform a peer review of transit properties to determine alternative service models that are currently being used by other transit properties to deliver Industrial service and/or solve the first mile, last mile issues. The draft Industrial Service Industry Review is set out in Enclosure I.
The peer review consisted of two phases with Phase I involving a short online survey to gather preliminary information on industrial route service and/or other on demand models that would be applicable to industrial park areas that are currently provided by transit systems across Canada. 34 responses were received to the preliminary industry scan.
The second phase of the review involved more detailed telephone surveys with seven agencies that are currently using models considered to be of potential interest to LTC for consideration in the updated industrial service strategy. The seven agencies include:
- Bancroft Community Transit- Specialized Transit Integration
- Brampton Transit- Fixed Route and Branch Route
- Lindsay Transit- Fixed Route using Specialized Transit Vehicles
- Winnipeg Transit- Fixed Route, Dial-a-Ride
- York Region Transit- Fixed Route, Dial-a-Ride
- Quinte Access Transportation
- Grand River Transit
It should be noted that responses from Quinte Access Transportation and Grand River Transit are not included in the draft report, but will be provided in the final document.
The industry scan of industrial area transit service suggest that there are a variety of models that are currently being used successfully across Canada, including variations of fixed route services as well as other dynamic transit models. Brief description and commentary regarding each of the options is set out below.
The standard fixed-route approach is a regular route that operates on a fixed schedule and serves the Industrial areas. A fixed-route service to an industrial area is a traditional, standard transit service approach.
The tripper model is an extension of the general fixed-route service. Additional buses are sent out to supplement the fixed route service during short term peak demand periods (such as same shift start or end time for multiple employers) to protect against overcrowding. Sufficient demand must warrant an operation of a tripper before it is added to the schedule. For industrial area service, trippers would generally be focused on employee shift times.
Branch routes are a variant of a fixed-route service. Branch routes are a pattern of a regular route that deviates from the main route serving a different area and/or terminal point. These branch routes often have less frequent service than the main route and are more suitable to lower demand destinations such as industrial park areas.
This model is usually adopted in partnership with the employers who will request pick-up and drop-off transit service for their workers during peak shift periods. The shuttles would service only employees of the partnering employers, picking them up at either pre-determined ‘stops’ or at their homes, and dropping them off at the entrance to their place of employment (with the reverse trip being complete at the end of a shift). Employment or industrial shuttles do not run outside of the shift start and end times and do not typically serve the general public.
On-Demand Service is a traditional form of mobility that is experiencing resurgence with the help of technology. Dynamic transit is the larger umbrella term encompassing several different service models, and is generally characterized by four components that differentiate it from conventional fixed-route transit including, flexible routing and/or scheduling designed to suit customer demand, newly-emerged ‘mobility brokers’ who use mobile apps to connect supply and demand, use of smaller, more flexible vehicles and integration of multiple transportation services to complete a trip (using a mobile app).
Within dynamic transit there are six service delivery models including;
- First Mile/Last Mile – provides transit to customers in lower demand areas with connectivity to/from major destinations such as rapid transit stations, transit terminals, downtown core, etc.
- Microtransit – generally defined as a privately operated transit system, generally operating in the same space or along similar routes at public transit
- Flex-Routes – operate on a fixed route and fixed schedule for certain portions of the route. At the request of a passenger, the driver has the ability to ‘flex’ off the route to pre-designated areas to pick-up or drop-off a passenger.
- Specialized Transit Integration – a variation of first mile/last mile dynamic transit, utilizing additional capacity on specialized transit vehicles in low-demand areas
- Guaranteed Ride Home – dynamic transit can be used as a ‘guaranteed ride home’ these programs are often funded by the employers to encourage their employees to take alternative modes to the private automobile or to support employees who do not have access to one
- Trip Planning Integration – informs the customer of which options exist for their trip during the trip planning phase
As set out in Staff Report #9 dated March 28, 2018, London Transit will be hosting a meeting on May 15, 2018. All stakeholders, including employers, agencies representing job seekers, Councillors, etc. will participate in the session which will discuss the results of the peer review conducted by Dillon and look at opportunities to work collaboratively to address industrial service issues. The input gathered at the meeting will be utilized as input into the updated Industrial Service Strategy, which will be presented to the Commission at the June 2018 meeting.
Katie Burns, Director of Planning
Concurred in by:
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager