Ottawa Rapid Transit

Ottawa Rapid Transit
Ottawa Transitway logo.png
Locale Ottawa, ON, Canada
Transit type Bus rapid transit
Number of lines 9
Began operation 1983
Operator(s) OC Transpo

In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, the public transit service operated by OC Transpo has two rapid transit systems: the Transitway, a bus rapid transit (BRT) network, and the O-Train, a diesel-powered light rail transit (LRT) service operated on one line.


Bus rapid transit: the Transitway

Ottawa Rapid Transit

Major routes

The Transitway is one of the most extensive and successful implementations of bus rapid transit, having begun service in 1983; many of the Transitway roads are above or below the grade of normal streets in Ottawa, by the use of overpasses, bridges, and trench highways. Thus, they rarely intersect directly with the regular traffic, and make it possible for the buses (and emergency vehicles) to continue at full speed even during rush hour. Buses that travel on the Transitway can cross very long distances (especially outside the downtown area) without stopping for a single traffic light. Most sections of the Transitway have a speed limit of 70–90 km/h (43–56 mph) between stations, and 50 km/h (31 mph) in the station areas.

The following routes are high-frequency routes that have a significant portion of their route along the Transitway:
(only bus only roads count as transitway; excluding all routes in Ottawa as transitway routes)
93 - Kanata North to Bayshore and Lebreton.
94 - Millennium to Woodroffe and Tunney's Pasture.
95 - Trim to Barrhaven Centre.
96 - Blair to Queensway (Blair to Hurdman - some weekday trips only, Queensway - eastbound trips only), Pinecrest, Bayshore, Eagleson, Terry Fox, and Stittsville.
97 - Ottawa Airport, via South Keys to Tunney's Pasture, Bayshore and Bells Corners.
98 - Hawthorne via South Keys to Tunney's Pasture.
99 - Lebreton to Greenboro during rush hour. Greenboro and South Riverside, or Riverview at all times.
101 - St. Laurent to Lees, Queensway, Pinecrest (westbound), Bayshore, Eagleson (eastbound), Teron, and Kanata North.
102 - Place d'Orleans to Lees, via Carling to Tunney's Pasture.
106 - Hurdman to Elmvale via Smyth

The following routes are other major crosstown routes that use small stretches of the Transitway:
4 - Billings Bridge to Hurdman
8 - Lebreton to Hurdman and Walkley to Billings Bridge.
85 - Bay to Hurdman
86 - Lincoln Fields to Baseline and Tunney's Pasture to Hurdman.
87 - Heron to Dominion and South Keys to Greenboro.
111 - Lincoln Fields to Baseline and Heron to Hurdman.
114 - Hurdman to St-Laurent and South Keys to Greenboro.
116 - Hurdman to South Keys (Greenboro to Hurdman peak-periods only) and Baseline to Lincoln Fields (peak-periods only except at Baseline).
118 - Terry Fox, Baseline, and Billings Bridge to Place d'Orleans (Hurdman to Place d'Orleans - peak periods only).
176 - Tunney's Pasture to Hurdman (peak-periods only, except at Tunney's Pasture), Fallowfield
182 - Eagleson to Bayshore and Lincoln Fields to Hurdman. Route 182 is an expanded peak-only route.
Most peak-only and express routes also use the Transitway, mostly from downtown out towards the suburbs.
Some Greyhound intercity buses use the Transitway from St-Laurent to Laurier either to/from the city's main bus terminal.

Future or proposed new routes

A coalition group had launched a website (see external links section below) about a proposed new route from Barrhaven to Kanata via Bayshore and Baseline stations. This would require rebuilding the ramps connecting the grade-separated section of the Transitway to the Transitway lanes along Highway 417.

2009 Transit Service Plan

In June 2006, the City of Ottawa released a 2009 service plan for the O-Train route, the Transitway and new bus routes. (This plan was cancelled shortly after the 2006 municipal election.)

To the west, there are new Moodie, Bells Corners, Queensway-Carleton, Hazeldean and Kanata North Transitway stops. To the south, there is a new Nepean Sportsplex stop, and proposed stops for Strandherd and Marketplace. To the east, the Southeastern transitway is extended to Hawthorne, and the Eastern to Blackburn Hamlet and beyond. To the north, there is a planned stop at the Les Terrasses Complex. It also investigates the possibility of transitway buses along Baseline, another downtown location, and from further east on the Queensway from Kirkwood all the way to Eagleson.

New Routes 93, 94, 98, 101, 102, and 108 were included.

Central Transitway traffic issue

Bus congestion on the Central Transitway

The downtown section of the Transitway, the Central Transitway, consists of a couplet of single bus-only lanes on Albert and Slater Streets (one-way public streets in opposite east and west directions). Traffic congestion here, where the buses mingle with private vehicles, sometimes causes service delays and is seen by some as the main weakness in the Transitway system. The Transit Committee had planned to reduce the number of buses travelling on Albert and Slater streets by 30% if the extension of the light-rail was implemented. Other measures may be implemented to avoid traffic problems despite the cancellation of the O-Train extension downtown.

Type of buses

OC Transpo articulated bus

All OC buses are now low floor "accessible" buses, with an aim to improve access to the service by the elderly and handicapped, and to speed up boarding by other passengers; most of these are high-capacity articulated buses. Route 96 has used the new Invero low-floor buses since September 2005 and route 101 (formerly known as route 99) since the start of spring 2006. Route 94 and express 61 and 77 are experimenting with three Alexander Dennis Enviro500 double decker buses and OC Transpo plans to buy more to integrate them on other transitway routes.

Extension projects

There have been plans to expand the transitway to reach other parts of Ottawa; it now only runs along the north edge of the city for most of the central area, leaving Transitway bus routes (94, 95, 96, 97) to mix with other traffic on local streets on the end parts of their runs.

Some future extensions may include:

Light rail transit: the O-Train

The O-Train

Since 2001, Ottawa has operated a light rail transit system called the O-Train as a pilot for the full rollout of light rail transit technology. The pilot has been deemed a success, exceeding its ridership targets significantly; it carries 10,000 passengers per weekday. The pilot route utilizes former Canadian Pacific Railway track running south 8 km from the Ottawa River to Greenboro Station (where the South Keys shopping complex is located), and serves Carleton University.

The current line was to be replaced, and then extended south-west (but later cancelled by City Council). It would have contained two parallel tracks, and be electrified. Full operation would have begun in 2009-2010 with a total length of 27 km. However, a new transit plan was voted by Council for extensions to Riverside South and with possible extension to downtown (via a tunnel), Blair, Cumberland South and portions of the west end of the city.

The route of the extension was chosen to service areas of future city growth (although some feel that it would have been better to focus on current problem areas). As a part of the extension, the service would have also be routed directly into the downtown core at the north end. The trains would have run on the downtown streets now devoted to the rapid transit corridor, in dedicated lanes. There would have been a reduction in the number of buses passing through the downtown core to accommodate the train lanes.

A formal environmental assessment was underway to examine providing a second line for east-west service. Although the idea was to improve Ottawa's capacity problems for east-west transportation, critics of the process (including light rail supporters) believed the preferred route would have not address these problems successfully.

The O-Train utilizes the Bombardier "Talent" Diesel Multiple Unit double-ended trainsets, designed and manufactured by Bombardier in Germany. This is the first application of the Talent in North America.[1]

Rapid transit stations

Westboro: a Typical Transitway Station


Southwest (94/ 95)

  • Barrhaven Centre (also known as Marketplace Station) - This is the terminus of route 95 on some routes traveling westbound. Located in the shopping core of Barrhaven, the majority of the routes in Barrhaven now pass this busy and ever expanding shopping arena. This was originally intended to be the future end of the City's O-Train route.
  • Strandherd - One of the newest additions to the Transitway network in Ottawa, this station has the 95 running every 12–15 minutes every rush hour, and every 30 minutes until 23:00. Supplemental services are provided by routes 71, 73, 181, 186, and Connexion route 406. Early-morning route 873 also served here until it was replaced in September 2010. This site has roughly 300 parking spaces, later to be expanded as the need is demanded.
  • Longfields - The newest segment of the transitway opened in June 2011; this station acts as a local station, between two major populated areas. Route 71, 73, 95, 186 serve this station.
  • Woodroffe Station/Chapman Mills Station - Located at the corner of Woodroffe and between Strandherd and Chapman Mills, this is the Westerly Terminus of Route 94. Eventually this site will be the site of the new Chapman Mills Park and Ride. Served by Route 94, 176.
  • Fallowfield - Located at the corner of Woodroffe Avenue and Fallowfield Road in Barrhaven, beside Via Rail's Fallowfield Station. This station acts as the western terminus of Route 95 for trips not continuing to Strandherd, Longfields, Martketplace, and Barrhaven Centre.
Fallowfield to near Nepean Sportsplex is along a $10 million isolated bus-only road (opened on December 13, 2005)[2], although this section has no stations and features a railway level crossing, the first on the Transitway. From Nepean Sportsplex to Baseline Station, buses run along Woodroffe Avenue in dedicated lanes, making several stops at regular bus stops.
  • Baseline - Located on Woodroffe Avenue across from Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology. Western terminal of about half of all midday trips of Route 95; buses terminating here are marked "95X Baseline".
Beyond Baseline, the Transitway is fully isolated to Lincoln Fields.
  • Iris - Located on Iris Street in Kenson Park.
  • Queensway - Located at the Queensway and Woodroffe in the Whitehaven neighbourhood. Also serves eastbound Route 96 travelling to Hurdman and Blair.

West (93, 96, 97)

  • Stittsville - Western terminus of some route 96 trips. Park and Ride facility located in Stittsville.
  • Terry Fox - Located adjacent the Kanata Centrum shopping centre at Kanata Avenue and Earl Grey Drive (near 417 and Terry Fox Drive). Most eastbound 96 trips begin here. Entered service in September 2004 with construction still having been underway at that time; it officially opened on February 22, 2005. Previously, a small terminal at Kanata Town Centre, on Katimavik Road, was used.
To this point the route is on non-dedicated street lanes along collector and arterial roads, much like a standard bus route. Regular stops are made between Stittsville and Eagleson. However, in the long range, there are possible plans to built a Transitway segment between the two stations. In addition, Teron Station, located at the corner of Campeau Drive and March Road, is a station opened September 2007 served by Rapid Transit Route 101. [2]
  • Eagleson - Park and Ride located at Eagleson Rd. and Highway 417. All morning Kanata express routes (and some afternoon ones), and routes 96 and 101, serve this station.
The Transitway proper starts past Eagleson, with a dedicated lane on the 417. One stop is made (on request only via a special signal) at the Moodie Drive interchange.
  • Teron Station - Located north of the 417, the Gateway for the Transitway to the North in Kanata.
  • Bayshore - Located at the Bayshore Shopping Centre. Main Western terminus of Route 97 and Route 101.
The Transitway leaves the 417 at Bayshore and follows the northern edge of the 417 to the new Pinecrest Station before returning to dedicated lanes on Highway 417. There is no date on when the section between Pinecrest and the Southwest Transitway will be built.[3]

Central (all routes)

At Lincoln Fields, the West and Southwest branches merge.
From Lincoln Fields to Dominion, the Transitway travels the Ottawa River Parkway in a shared traffic lane.
  • Dominion - Located off Dominion Avenue on the Ottawa River Parkway.
From Dominion to just past Tunney's Pasture Station, the Transitway runs in an isolated, below-grade road built along the alignment of a former railway line.
From just past Tunney's Pasture Station to Booth Street, the Transitway emerges from below-grade and runs in an isolated, at-grade road built on a former railway yard. Main western terminus for routes 94, 98 and 102. It also serves as an occasional terminus for route 97 as well as some rush hour trips of route 95.
  • Bayview (O-Train) - Located at the eastern end of Scott Street when it becomes Wellington Street. Northern terminus of the O-Train.
  • Lebreton - Located on Booth Street in Lebreton Flats. Rush hour terminus for route 99 and route 93.
Just past Lebreton, the isolated transitway ends and eastbound buses take Slater Street, while westbound buses are on Albert Street; there are dedicated lanes on both streets, but traffic is generally slow in the dense downtown core. This arrangement continues to just past Metcalfe.
  • Bay - Located on Albert and Slater Streets at Bay Street.
  • Kent - Located on Albert and Slater Streets at Kent Street.
  • Bank - Located on Albert and Slater Streets at Bank Street.
  • Metcalfe - Located on Albert and Slater Streets at Metcalfe Street.
Over the Mackenzie King Bridge, the Transitway continues in dedicated lanes. The isolated Transitway resumes at Waller Street.
Just past Hurdman, the Transitway branches into two: the East Transitway and Southeast Transitway.

East (94, 95, 96)

Past Train, the dedicated Transitway parallels the Queensway to beyond Blair.
The Transitway joins Regional Road 174 a short stretch past Blair, running in a dedicated lane. Some weekday route 96 trips start/end here. Route 95 buses exit at Montreal Road and at Jeanne d'Arc Boulevard and stop on the ramps at ordinary bus stops; these will be upgraded to full Transitway stations by 2009, tentatively named Montreal/St. Joseph and Jeanne d'Arc Stations. On the 2006-2007 system map, OC Transpo had included Jeanne d'Arc as a transit station.[3]
  • Jeanne d'Arc - Provides supplemental parking spaces to the expanding suburb of Orléans (roughly 30 parking spaces).
  • Place d'Orléans - Located at the Place d'Orleans shopping complex in Orleans and is the main eastern terminus of routes 95 and 101 and peak-only route 102.
There is no dedicated bus lane from Place d'Orleans to Trim, buses run in mixed traffic. However, in the long range there could be a separate route built.
  • Trim - Located at Trim Road. This park-and-ride station is used by route 95 on weekdays.
  • Millennium - Intersection of Trim and Innes roads. This is the eastern terminus of route 94.

Southeast (97, 98, 99)

  • Lycée Claudel (formerly Abbey) - Located on old Riverside Drive across from the Lycée Claudel school.
  • Smyth - Located at Riverside Drive and Smyth Road.
  • Riverside - Located at the Riverside Campus of the Ottawa Hospital on Riverside Drive.
  • Pleasant Park - Located at Pleasant Park Road and Riverside Drive.
  • Billings Bridge - Located at the Billings Bridge Plaza on Bank Street.
  • Heron - Located at Heron Park on Heron Road.
  • Walkley - Located at Walkley Road and the Airport Parkway.
  • Greenboro - Located at Bank Street and Johnston Road at the north end of the South Keys shopping complex. Southern terminus of the O-Train. Occasional terminus for route 98 and main north terminus for route 99.
  • South Keys - Located at Bank Street and the Airport Parkway at the south end of the South Keys shopping complex. Main east terminus of Route 97.
The isolated Transitway ends at Hunt Club road; 97 buses continuing to the Airport take the Airport Parkway. Note: Buses heading towards the airport after approximately 10:00 p.m. use Hunt Club and Uplands rather than the Airport Parkway.
  • Airport - Located at the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, and is served by route 97.
  • Leitrim Station - Terminus of 144, served by Route 99 with Stop Request.
  • Riverview Station - Terminus of 99 and future terminus of 94 when the Strandherd Bridge is completed. Served by, 99, 189, 245.

Ottawa O-Train

For more information see O-Train route

The Ottawa O-Train pilot light rail service has five station stops. Bayview (at which it interfaces with the Central Transitway), Carling (interfacing with major bus routes), Carleton (serving Carleton University), Confederation (intersecting Heron Road), and Greenboro (at which it interfaces with the Southeast Transitway).

See also


  1. ^ O-Train Light Rail Project - Transport Canada
  2. ^ OC Transpo What's New
  3. ^ [1]

External links

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