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King Street (Streetcar Transit Priority)

BMO

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...I suspect Steve Munro will have a deconstruction of Haider's points, and the flaccid City/TTC reaction to them.

The TTC is very protectionist about any ridership/capacity numbers. Rarely will a consultant come up to the same numbers they end up tossing out in the public eye. And they're super quick to tell anybody who isn't the TTC that their numbers are wrong. It's all super political and I don't even blame them. They're getting a designated transit corridor at no capital expense to them and they always have to fight tooth and nail for any funding. You're not going to throw a free gift in the garbage.
 

Leo_Chan

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^ Excellent response, I was a bit worried that I came off sounding negative, which to a degree I am. Not on the concept, it's one of the only affordable, here and now civilized solutions to downtown transit. I'm just miffed that so many Torontonians think the Emperor With No Cars travels King Street. What's been achieved so far is pathetic in many respects. The lack of Flexities has exacerbated the result so far, but that's becoming too convenient an excuse.

We still don't have traffic light priority for streetcars! (Before anyone claims that we do on that stretch, it's not priority in the world-class sense, like many other cities have).

I suspect Steve Munro will have a deconstruction of Haider's points, and the flaccid City/TTC reaction to them.
When you see 4 streetcars waiting at an intersection (one at far stop and 3 waiting near), you know there's a problem.
 

steveintoronto

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When you see 4 streetcars waiting at an intersection (one at far stop and 3 waiting near), you know there's a problem.
Bunching is rampant. Everyone seems to know it, and this is where the fallback response from the TTC and City is "that's because we don't have enough Flexities"...except it isn't. They bunch too.

It's the lack of a state-of-the-art traffic, traffic signal, dispatch and control system. THAT alone, project or not, is the key to making not only King, but other streetcar routes working far better.

Expensive? Quite, but ultimately cheaper than having bunched streetcars costing 'X' amount of $ not only running virtually empty compared to the first one in the bunch, but actually *detracting* from the line's performance. At some point, too many streetcars spoil the broth. And that point has been reached and surpassed.

It's madness. There is absolutely no way you'd run a subway or commuter line this way. Why do a clearway streetcar project this way?
 

Leo_Chan

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Bunching is rampant. Everyone seems to know it, and this is where the fallback response from the TTC and City is "that's because we don't have enough Flexities"...except it isn't. They bunch too.

It's the lack of a state-of-the-art traffic, traffic signal, dispatch and control system. THAT alone, project or not, is the key to making not only King, but other streetcar routes working far better.

Expensive? Quite, but ultimately cheaper than having bunched streetcars costing 'X' amount of $ not only running virtually empty compared to the first one, but actually *detracting* from the line's performance.

It's madness. There is absolutely no way you'd run a subway or commuter line this way. Why do a clearway streetcar project this way?
Kind of off topic, but does anyone know how YRT/Viva controls the signal priority for garbage trucks/snow plows in the BRT lanes? Is it automatically detected, a button the driver presses, or calling a "traffic light operator" to request priority? Also, can traffic lights give priority remotely (manually) or does it have be built-in?
 

amnesiajune

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Kind of off topic, but does anyone know how YRT/Viva controls the signal priority for garbage trucks/snow plows in the BRT lanes? Is it automatically detected, a button the driver presses, or calling a "traffic light operator" to request priority? Also, can traffic lights give priority remotely (manually) or does it have be built-in?

Buses can carry a device in them that tells traffic lights to activate for them. All of the city's streetcars have them which is how lights stay green for some time if a streetcar is close by. Police, fire and EMS vehicles have it too (you'll see sometimes in York Region that traffic lights change or go all-red as one is approaching), but I don't think plows have it.
 

steveintoronto

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^ I just checked on-line for priority and control systems, got quite a few hits, short on time, will dig deeper later, but here's how Melbourne is approaching this:

upload_2018-3-27_10-52-7.png

https://arxiv.org/pdf/1311.3590.pdf

There's a number of other excellent hits, but almost all are one separated tram RoWs. Melbourne, like Toronto (although not to the extent of Toronto) has large amounts of 'tram on street'. Melbourne, of course, is the largest tram system on the planet, by far.

I could understand the TTC or City stating to the effect of: "There's lots of research, but a lack of of practical and functioning systems to buy off the shelf to do this"....but we don't even hear that! There is *no dialog* on how this can be improved.

I'm reminded that San Diego has a system, details of which I'll research more later, but here's a theoretical analysis of their system, and this paper has been extant for years:

TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH RECORD 1361
Trolley Priority on Signalized Arterials in Downtown San Diego
STEPHEN CELNIKER AND E. WAYNE TERRY
http://onlinepubs.trb.org/Onlinepubs/trr/1992/1361/1361-027.pdf

There's answers out there, and zero discussion in Toronto.
More later...
 

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BMO

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Bunching is rampant. Everyone seems to know it, and this is where the fallback response from the TTC and City is "that's because we don't have enough Flexities"...except it isn't. They bunch too.

It's the lack of a state-of-the-art traffic, traffic signal, dispatch and control system. THAT alone, project or not, is the key to making not only King, but other streetcar routes working far better.

Expensive? Quite, but ultimately cheaper than having bunched streetcars costing 'X' amount of $ not only running virtually empty compared to the first one in the bunch, but actually *detracting* from the line's performance. At some point, too many streetcars spoil the broth. And that point has been reached and surpassed.

It's madness. There is absolutely no way you'd run a subway or commuter line this way. Why do a clearway streetcar project this way?

The thing is that signal priority won't really do much. It's a fundamental issue with the far-side stops when ridership volumes are high which lead to higher dwell times which lead to vehicles waiting two cycles instead of one, which lead to bunching and become further compounded. Having a staggered scenario with half the stops near-side (especially at subway stations, and Spadina) and half the stops far-side would probably more equally spread out the delay that vehicles experience at lights to reduce bunching. Right now, you could get one vehicle that just happens to see a crush load arrive at a stop, and then you have 2-3 other vehicles behind sailing through, but instead of being able to pick-up this crush-load simultaneously they're stuck near-side until the people trying to cram onto the streetcar at the stop decide to have enough self-awareness to think that maybe they shouldn't hold up 200 other people in their attempt to suck in their stomach and squeeze on. Or maybe allow streetcars to at least unload near-side if they're stuck at a busy intersection waiting for the previous streetcar to move on before they proceed. That way the dwell time is cut in half once they arrive far-side without needing boarding passengers to wait for alighting passengers.
 

steveintoronto

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The thing is that signal priority won't really do much....
That's all addressed in many of the studies. Far side stops alone don't cause that, they *enable that* when there's no dispatch control system, let alone gradated and dynamic signal priority. Could that be better addressed with a smart dispatch control that fine-tunes speed as well as arrival time at an intersection with a streetcar (or better yet, a Flexity train, with two Flexities coupled together)? Absolutely. It's being done successfully in many cities. *Even on street* like the San Diego trolleys have done for years.

Not the best pic I could find in a rush, but note the length of this train, it runs on-street in the city, and down to San Ysidro (Mexican border) on heavy rail:
maxresdefault.jpg


I'll dig on Edmonton and Calgarys' systems and software control and dispatch later. Both have signal priority, albeit not without their detractors.

Addendum:
SOURCE: SIEMENS MOBILITY DIVISION SEP 26, 2017
REQUEST MORE INFORMATION

Siemens has been chosen by Mid-Coast Transit Constructors to provide the San Diego Metropolitan Transportation System with technologies that will automate and power the region’s Mid-Coast Corridor light rail extension project. These 10.9 miles of new light rail commuter lines will provide riders additional access into the city while reducing traffic congestion. A Siemens overhead catenary system and track-side substations will power the new line while advanced rail automation technologies and signalling systems will ensure safe and efficient operation of the light rail vehicles. This project expands Siemens’ existing work with MTS that includes power and automation equipment throughout the current system in addition to 244 Sacramento-built light rail vehicles purchased over the past 30 years, making MTS the company’s largest U.S. light rail vehicle customer.

“Siemens is thrilled to expand our partnership with MTS and San Diego, a region that has long-benefitted from both our rail infrastructure systems like electrification and automation, but also our Sacramento-built light rail vehicles that have been running for over 35 years,” said Marsha Smith, country division controller, Siemens Mobility. “Though riders can’t often see rail electrification and automation technologies in the same way they experience the light rail vehicles themselves, these systems play an essential role in ensuring that trains are running on-time and, importantly, keeping passengers safe.”
[...]
http://www.masstransitmag.com/press...and-power-san-diego-light-rail-line-extension

while advanced rail automation technologies and signalling systems will ensure safe and efficient operation of the light rail vehicles.

Gosh, maybe Toronto might have something like that in thirty years?
 
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BMO

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I don't deny that TSP can do wonders for certain systems, but I'm skeptical you'd be able to have TSP running very effectively with TTC's headways and number of vehicles on King St. But I'll admit, I'm willing to acknowledge it's something that should at least be tried and attempted.
 

steveintoronto

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Steve Munro's latest blog piece, just up, identifies the problem manifest, albeit for the Queen line, but it applies to TTC dispatch and control in general for the surface fleet:
One might assume that with the 501 Queen route shortened, and at times with a separate bus shuttle operating on the east end of the route, service at Neville Loop would be better than with streetcars running all the way from Neville to Long Branch. This is not entirely true, and even some periods of bus service were quite unreliable. There are many days when shuttles ran with vehicles missing or in bunches with no apparent efforts to manage and space the service.

As on the west end of the route, the TTC's abdication of line management brought irregular headways, large gaps and bunching. A common situation is for a group of cars to leave Roncesvalles eastbound closely spaced, and to continue as a parade across the city. Sometimes, short turns in the east end partly correct this problem, but sometimes the parade simply echoes back across the line. This is not caused by "congestion", but by the failure to maintain service spacing.
Service on 501 Queen at Neville Loop

It's epidemic dear Watson.
 

steveintoronto

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I walked the stretch early afternoon today from Church to west of Bathurst. What a zoo. Took pics of drivers illegally stopping and parking in the spots clearly marked not to.

Toronto sure knows how to stage defeat.
 

steveintoronto

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Looked at the video in full screen, doesn't look like a Toronto Police Car in that screen capture.
It was a Special Constable's car:

Metrolinx Act, 2006, S.O. 2006, c. 16
January 1, 2018

(A 'Special Constable') [...]
Same
(5.2) A person appointed under subsection (5) is deemed to be an officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of the Highway Traffic Act for the purposes of section 33 of that Act while the person is on land owned, leased, used or occupied by the Corporation or its subsidiary corporation for the purpose of the regional transit system or any local transit system or other transportation service provided by the Corporation or its subsidiary corporation by agreement with a municipality. 2009, c. 14, s. 17 (3).
https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/06g16

And indeed, that stretch of King Street is covered under the HTA's "Pilot Project" section, very last section in the most recent HTA.
 
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