Route Reboot – ETS Reveals New Bus Network
In this blog post:
- changing approach to transit—inner vs. outer neighbourhoods
- categories of routes
- public engagement opportunities: community workshops and surveys
Introducing Edmonton’s New (Draft) Bus Network
Edmonton Transit Services (ETS) is getting a face lift. For the first time in 20 years, the City of Edmonton is in the process of the developing a complete overhaul of our transit system. The Bus Network Redesign proposes an entirely new bus network—which means all brand new bus routes. The redesign will modernize our transit network while prioritizing key routes for Edmontonians.
The process for the bus network redesign began in 2015. The City of Edmonton hosted a series of public consultations, assessing the needs of communities on how to best deliver transit services to Edmontonians. The feedback and information gathered during these sessions, in part, culminated into the City of Edmonton’s Transit Strategy. The Transit Strategy outlines the City of Edmonton’s long-term vision for how to approach transit, directing future developments and investments of our transit system.
The proposed 100 new routes will be categorized into 4 different categories to better help Edmontonians move across the city more quickly and efficiently.
By The Numbers
- 20,000 – the number of Edmontonians who participated in public engagement sessions in 2015. The input provided by the participants was used in the designing of the proposed new Bus Network.
- 4 – the number of phases through which the new Bus Network will be implemented, which includes predetermined stages for developing, refining, preparing, and rolling out the Bus Network.
- 24 – the number of community workshops the City of Edmonton will host across the city, to gather input and feedback on refining the proposed bus routes.
- 100 – the approximate number of routes that will be includes in the new Bus Network—nearly half of the number of routes we have in operation right now.
- 2020 – the year the new Bus Network is scheduled to come into effect. This provides time for refining the routes of the new network, and ensuring that the public is informed about the impending changes.
The upcoming changes in the bus network reflect the City’s new approach to providing this service to Edmontonians. The existing ETS bus network is focused on offering service equally across Edmonton—providing similar numbers of routes around the city. The new Bus Network indicates a shift to a different approach that focuses on matching supply with demand. This new market-responsive model seeks to provide greater reliability of transit options that operate at higher speeds to minimize travel times. The proposed Bus Network has been designed to reduce overlap in neighbourhoods and maximize access to major destinations via fast and reliable routes.
The change in approach will see Edmonton divided into 2 segments when considering bus routes: inner neighbourhoods and outer neighbourhoods. Through public engagement sessions, it became clear that the preferences of transit-users varies among residents depending on their residential location. The designations are dependent upon factors related to: land-use, street layout, demography, and customer preferences.For instance, inner neighbourhoods are characterized by a greater mix of residential and non-residential land-use, with a higher mix of densities. Roadways in inner neighbourhoods tend to have a grid network configuration. Additionally, residents in inner neighbourhoods tend to have lower vehicle ownership than the City-average. As such, inner neighbourhood residents tend to use transit more frequently, with their transit use continuing through all periods of the week.
Alternatively, outer neighbourhoods tend to have lower to medium density land-use. Roadways in the outer neighbourhoods are configured in curvilinear street patterns; and residents are more likely to own a vehicle. Transit-use for residents in outer neighbourhoods is primarily used during peak weekday periods, when commuting to work and school.
Given the differences between the roadway layouts and demographics of each category, there is a natural difference in preferences for transit services. For instance, with frequent transit use in the inner neighbourhoods, residents prefer service during peak and non-peak hours. Alternatively, during public engagement, outer neighbourhoods signaled a preference for service during peak weekday hours (during the regular commuting hours). Additionally, given their greater access and reliance on vehicles, outer neighbourhoods expressed a greater preference for access to Park and Rides.
The input gathered during the 2015 public engagement sessions were taken into consideration when the proposed Bus Network was designed. The proposed routes seek to best reflect the requested type and frequency of service.
To best guide route planners and transit users, the new Bus Network has been categorized into different sets of routes. With 5 in total, each type of route has been designed to address an area identified as a demand by Edmonton transit users. The 5 routes include:
- LRT and preliminary Bus Rapid Transit Routes – these are routes that will deliver frequent service at all times. Local bus routes will integrate with the LRT stations to provide reliable access.
- Frequent Bus Routes – these are routes that will run through major corridors in inner neighbourhoods or the “core area” of the City. These routes will operate with great frequency—7 days a week, running at least every 15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays, and at least every 20 minutes on Sundays and late nights.
- Rapid Bus Routes – these routes will provide fast, non-stop or limited stop service between neighbourhoods and major destinations (Downtown, the University of Alberta, shopping centres) from areas not serviced by the LRT.
- Crosstown Routes – these routes will connect major destinations in the outer neighbourhoods via aterial roadways without having to travel through downtown. These routes will operate when there is demand, and will run every 20 to 30 minutes.
- Local Routes – these routes will provide neighbourhoods with transit to LRT, Frequent Bus Routes, and local activity and community centres. Walking distances to bus stops will likely be farther than what we have now.
With each of these 5 categories, Edmontonians will see increased express bus routes with straighter routes and less overlap within neighbourhoods. Inner neighbourhoods will see more frequent service throughout the day, while outer neighbourhoods (suburban-areas) will see increased service during rush hours for commuters.
With the focus on providing faster and more frequent service, the distance to bus stops will increase for some transit-users. Presently, bus stops are generally located within 400 meters of each other—which translates roughly to a 5 minute walk. However, with the proposed new network, the distance between some bus stops will increase to 800 meters.
The City of Edmonton recognizes a 10 minute walk to reach a bus stop is not a possibility for some residents. As such, there is work being done to study how other jurisdictions manage this situation to guarantee that most Edmontonians can get to where they need to be. The City of Edmonton strives to ensure that the programs and services provided are as accessible to as many Edmontonians as possible, and ETS is no different.
If you haven’t yet had the chance to check out the proposed new bus network, an interactive map of all the proposed bus routes is available here!
The unveiling of the proposed Bus Network is among the first of many steps before these new bus routes come into effect in 2020. In addition to releasing the proposal of new routes, the City of Edmonton is gather feedback from Edmontonians! Your feedback will help ensure that the proposed bus network best meets your needs.
The City of Edmonton has released a host of community workshop dates—24 in total! Edmontonians are encourages to join in on this public engagement opportunity, to share your ideas on how to adjust the draft bus network to better serve more Edmontonians.
At the community workshops, you will have 30 minutes to view draft maps and share your feedback with City officials. The workshops will include videos, information boards, maps, and table stations where you can share your opinion and get more information on the proposed routes.
The following 4 community workshop dates will be hosted in northeast Edmonton:
- Date: Saturday May 12, 2018
Location: Abbottsfield Recreation Centre (Gym)
3006 119 Avenue
- Date: Wednesday May 16, 2018
Location: Concordia University (Tegler Student Centre)
7128 Ada Boulevard
- Date: Tuesday May 29, 2018
Location: Castledowns YMCA (Lobby)
11510 153 Avenue
- Date: Thursday May 31, 2018
Location: Londonderry Mall (East Court)
1 Londonderry Mall NW
If you are unable to make any of these dates, the City will be hosting a lot more community workshops across Edmonton that you can drop in at! A full list of workshop dates can be found here.
In addition to the community workshops, residents also have the option of sharing their feedback via an online survey! The online survey can be found here.
Edmonton Transit is among the biggest service that the City of Edmonton provides for residents, and your feedback will go a long way in ensuring that the ETS will be able to get you, and you neighbours, where you need to go!