A new report has been issued by the Pembina Institute showing that LRT lines are cost effective ways to expand the rapid transit routes in major cities. The report also notes that Calgary and Vancouver have been the leaders in building these transit systems during the last decade while Montréal and Toronto just haven't been keeping up with this type of construction.
The report, called "Fast Cities: A comparison of rapid transit in major Canadian cities" took a look at 5 different cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Montréal, Toronto and Ottawa. While Montréal and Toronto were concentrating on building subways, Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary set their goals on constructing more affordable light rail transit. This allowed Vancouver and Calgary to add to their existing infrastructures faster and at a better price.
The report notes that Toronto's transit is the least cost effective in Canada. With its focus on subways, this city will be sending $236 million on average per kilometer for its new transit. Montréal and Toronto were the first cities to create transit cultures through subways years ago but they now find themselves being surpassed by other cities such as Calgary and Vancouver.
There were various factors used to define rapid transit by the institute including:
- Priority signaling
- Separated from traffic
- 10 minute maximum wait time during peak hours
- All-day service
- 15 minute maximum wait time during off-peak hours
- Network connectivity
- Fare collection is made off board
- Boarding is done at a platform level
- Optimum spacing of stations and stops
During the last decade, Vancouver and Calgary have constructed the most rapid transit lines. Calgary has opened new lines that measure 20 km in length while Vancouver has opened 22 km of new lines. Per capita, Calgary is the leader in terms of its infrastructure for rapid transit while Ottawa comes in a close second.