Evaluation of Multiple-Unit Streetcar Operation in Toronto, Canada

This study investigates the customer service impacts of converting the operation of Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC’s) 504 King streetcar route from single unit to multiple-unit operation using a microscopic traffic simulation model. The 504 King is the TTC’s busiest surface transit route, carrying about 50,000 transit riders on a typical weekday. As 504 King operates in mixed traffic, it is affected by traffic congestion, left-turning vehicles blocking the tracks and long traffic signal delays. Currently, this high-frequency route suffers from major reliability problems including streetcar bunching and gapping. Consequently, many streetcars have to be short turned to fill gaps and provide adequate service in the most heavily used segment of the route. These operating problems and route management measures result in poor customer service on this route and must be tackled from two angles. Firstly, steps must be taken to reduce the magnitude and variability of delays and secondly, the impacts of such delays must be reduced. This study investigates the impacts of the latter through coupling of individual streetcars to increase the vehicle capacity while reducing the frequency of the service. To estimate the impact of this measure, a state-of-the-art modeling tool was applied to replicate the existing and proposed scenarios. The model was developed and calibrated using field data. It successfully captures the relationship between passenger service times with the corresponding transit vehicle load. The results indicate that operating streetcars in multiple units leads to a reduction in headway variability, fewer transit customers left behind at stops due to overcrowding, less onboard crowding, less bunching, and less short-turning of streetcars.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 579-594
  • Monograph Title: Joint International Light Rail Conference: A World of Applications and Opportunities, April 9-11, 2006, St. Louis, Missouri
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044156
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Mar 16 2007 11:55AM