Staff Report #1 – Re: Post-2019 Rapid Transit Integration Framework Update

Staff Report #1

October 31, 2018

To All Commissioners

Re: Post-2019 Rapid Transit Integration Framework Update


That the Commission:

  1. APPROVE the Transit Network Rapid Transit Integration Framework as the framework for progressive development of the overall transit service network including the Rapid Transit corridors;
  2. APPROVE the Financial Plan Summary – noting same will be used in the development of the Commission’s overall Financial Plan, the City’s multiyear operating and capital program specific to public transit operations and rapid transit; and
  3. DIRECT administration forward the Transit Network Rapid Transit Integration Framework to the Rapid Transit Implementation Working Group for information purposes.


As set out in Staff Report #1, dated September 26, 2018, Dillon Consulting was retained to update the Post-2019 Framework to include consideration of the service changes that have been implemented as well as the decisions that have been made with respect to the Bus Rapid Transit design subsequent to the first framework being completed in 2016.

The Transit Network Rapid Transit Integration Framework (Integration Strategy), as set out in Enclosure I, provides commentary with respect to the parameters utilized for the update as well as specific route by route recommendations. A number of the recommendations included in the Draft Rapid Transit Framework report have been amended given further consideration of stakeholder feedback.

The parameters utilized in the update of the Strategy include the following key considerations:

  • Connectivity (between regular transit routes and rapid transit routes)
  • Frequency of service
  • Directness of travel
  • Duplication of service
  • Operations

In terms of network design, the use of a connection-based network outside of the downtown and through-routing network within the downtown area (bounded by Oxford Street to the north, Waterloo Street to the east, York Street to the south and Wharncliffe Road to the west) is utilized in the creation of the Integration Strategy. Based on this network philosophy, the following “policies” were applied when determining potential modifications to the initial Post-2019 network to better connect to the proposed Rapid Transit corridors:

  • Within specific areas (i.e. downtown and White Oaks Mall stop), bus routes are permitted to operate on exclusive Rapid Transit lanes; however, they will only be permitted to stop at designated Rapid Transit stations.
  • Outside of the downtown area, buses will (where deemed appropriate) connect to a Rapid Transit station to allow passengers to complete their trip on Rapid Transit.
  • On six-lane roadways that include an exclusive Rapid Transit lane, buses will be permitted in the mixed traffic lane to provide a more local service while Rapid Transit vehicles would operate in a dedicated right-of-way. This allows greater stop spacing for Rapid Transit and allows better access to transit stops using a parallel local route.
  • On four-lane roadways that include an exclusive Rapid Transit lane outside of the downtown, local buses will be permitted to use short sections of the rapid transit corridors where no other roadway option exists. When this occurs, the assumption is that local buses will only stop to pick-up/drop-off passengers where bus bays have been created or at a designated Rapid Transit station.

The Integration Strategy builds on the 2019 service plan tabled for consideration in Staff Report #2, dated October 31, 2018 and identifies:

  • Routes that duplicate the Rapid Transit corridors that can be eliminated
  • Routes that need to be restructured to fit within the “connection-based” network design concept assumed for Rapid Transit
  • Potential strategic corridors or secondary routes that will help increase transit mode share
  • Service level enhancements to the proposed 2019 network that will improve connectivity with the rapid transit corridors.

Five primary service design principles have been established to guide the overall assessment of routes and their interaction with rapid transit services. These principles are important in that they ensure that the resulting system will be effective and focused on the customer. The five primary service design principles are as follows:

  • Ability to maintain connections
  • Ability to meet policy-based headways
  • Directness of service (travel time)
  • Minimize duplication with Rapid Transit
  • Ability to maintain effective operations
  • Explore Alternative Service Delivery Models

Stakeholder consultation included questions specific to these principles, asking respondents to both comment on the principles but also to rank the most important. As set out in the report, stakeholder feedback indicated overwhelming support for the principle requiring any changes being considered to be looked at from a “system-wide” perspective, ensuring all routes work together from both an operational and customer perspective.

The six principles identified above were applied to each of the current routes and the report sets out recommendations for each route as well as recommendations for any new routes going forward. It should be noted that this framework does not represent a full assessment of other potential modifications that may be required in the fullness of time to the transit network, but rather this document will provide the framework for consideration going forward. The next step in the process is to develop the next Five Year Service Plan, which will cover the years 2020 through 2024. In cases where ridership levels have not reached the anticipated thresholds, frequency recommendations in the Integration Strategy will be modified accordingly. The Five Year Service Plan will be utilized to establish annual service plans consistent with the current service planning process. In each of these years, detailed assessments of past changes, existing service conditions, customer requests, and new things that have transpired is conducted as part of the plan development process. It is anticipated that the Five Year Service Plan will be tabled for consideration with the Commission at its February 2019 meeting.

For the purpose of determining the base system service changes, each of the routes in place in 2019 were examined against the aforementioned criteria to determine what, if any modifications would be required. Given uncertainty with respect to the exact timing of the implementation of the rapid transit corridors, implementation years could not be applied to the recommended changes, rather the required changes were assumed to occur at a steady rate over the horizon period.

Summary of Annual Revenue Service Hours

System 2018 2019 2035
Local-Fixed Routes 627,480 646,140 704,090
Community Bus 15,297 15,505 15,505
Local ASD Services 2,008 6,024
North-east BRT Route 50,630
South-west BRT Route 32,760
Total 642,777 663,653 809,009

As the table indicates, revenue service hours are expected to grow from the current annual 642,777 hours to 809,009.

The table below sets out the projected transit ridership and financial performance at the horizon year 2035.

Projected Transit Ridership and Financial Performance

System 2017 2035
System Performance
Population 389,000 458,698
Annual Revenue Service Hours 614,210 809,009
Revenue Passengers 22,918,096 31,762,070
Boardings Per Capita 58.92 69.24
Boardings Per Revenue Service Hour 37.31 39.26
Financial Performance
Annual Revenue $32,333,199 $57,747,143
Annual Operating Cost $64,854,162 $113,569,000
Total Revenue/Total Operating Cost Ratio 49.86% 50.85%
Net Operating Cost $32,520,963 $55,821,857

In order to determine the impact on City of London investment levels over the period, consideration will be given to the level that Provincial Gas Tax can be utilized to fund the operating costs of the system on a go forward basis, consistent with the Commission’s administrative policy respecting the use of the Provincial Gas Tax.

As indicated in the report recommendation, the Transit Network Rapid Transit Integration Framework will be presented to the LTC Long Term Work Group of Municipal Council.

Communication Strategy

The completion of this framework provides the opportunity to develop a communication strategy which will address the many misconceptions that continue to circulate with respect to the rapid transit project and how it will work with routes as well as how the service will be delivered. In addition, details from the document can be utilized to clearly demonstrate the positive change for all transit riders that is planned over the coming years.

The strategy will consist of a number of elements, the first being a document, in booklet form, that will set out the rationale for moving forward with the transformation of London’s transit network, with rapid transit corridors at the heart of the system, and system-wide frequency improvements. Messaging in this document will directly respond to on-going misconceptions including, but not limited to the following:

  • rapid transit will only benefit those living on one of the corridors
  • the only thing needed to fix the current system is to add more buses and service
  • installation of bus bays will fix congestion issues for everyone
  • buses are always empty, we don’t need transit improvements
  • trips will take longer because everyone has to transfer to BRT

The document will be in plain language, avoiding the use of transit jargon and acronyms, and will provide examples that will apply personally. It will also incorporate graphics in an effort to provide the reader with visual perspectives of the changes being planned.

This document will be circulated to community stakeholders. In addition, key information pieces from this booklet style document will be created in flyer format that can be placed on buses and distributed to the general public.

In addition to the booklet, a series of bus shelter posters are being developed that will focus on the rider, and why transit is important to them. Themes will include the key reasons riders choose transit (work, play, school, other) and focus on how these trips will be improved for them going forward.

The messaging created out of the aforementioned communications will be utilized on the Commission website and social media account, and will also be considered for advertising in local magazines.


I – Transit Network Rapid Transit Integration Framework

Recommended by:

Katie Burns, Director of Planning

Concurred in by:

Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager