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SmartTrack: 300,000 passengers in 2031?

The SmartTrack rail plan could attract as many as 300,000 daily riders by 2031.

That’s the conclusion of a report that the City of Toronto’s chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat released publicly yesterday, Tuesday, January 19.

The City commissioned the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute to develop a new travel-demand forecasting model, which the City can now use for determining future ridership for transit projects.

The University and City have applied the modeling tool to the SmartTrack plan to predict the number of passengers that the line would attract under different scenarios:

  • Service frequencies

    5-, 10- and 15-minute headways

  • Fare structures

    GO Transit fares versus TTC fares

  • Population and employment forecasts

    Five different scenarios

  • Horizon years

    2031 and 2041

  • Western alignments

    Continuous on Eglinton, Northern Alignment, Eglinton Crosstown Phase 2

The ridership forecasts show that SmartTrack can capture significant ridership, with TTC fares and five-minute frequency, regardless of the growth scenario or the horizon year. For example, forecasts for 2031 indicate daily boardings ranging from 282,990 to 321,436.

The forecasts also indicate that SmartTrack would relieve congestion on the Yonge subway line south of Bloor Station by 17 per cent with five-minute frequency by both 2031 and 2041.

If passengers could board SmartTrack trains, paying only TTC fares, the number of all-day boardings on the line would be:

  • 76,617 passengers with 15-minute frequency;
  • 154,296 passengers with 10-minute frequency; and
  • 314,567 passengers with five-minute frequency.

If they paid GO Transit’s premium fares, fewer passengers would use the line. Daily boards would decrease to:

  • 37,680 passengers with 15-minute frequency;
  • 61,358 passengers with 10-minute frequency; and
  • 108,014 passengers with 5-minute frequency.

The University and City also looked at the numbers to determine the western alignment for the line.

You can learn more about SmartTrack here.

You can view the technical planning document on the ridership forecasts here. (.pdf)

You can view the chief planner’s presentation to the media here. (.pdf)

In the news:

  • 680 All News Radio report, “SmartTrack could have over 300,000 riders by 2031”, here.
  • CP24 report, “New report suggests SmartTrack could attract more than 300K daily riders”, here.
  • Globe and Mail article, “Two studies produce different SmartTrack projections on ridership”, here.
  • Toronto Star article, “U of T study bullish on SmartTrack ridership”, here.
  • U of T News article, “Analyzing SmartTrack: U of T expert Eric Miller on John Tory’s transit plan”, here.
  • Urban Toronto post, “City releases SmartTrack ridership projections”, here.
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