I’ve got (a) little time right now, so here’s a little math (yuck) on the proposal detailed in the last post.

  1. Speed

So, the maximum operating speed of LRT is generally about 80 km/h. I’m an optimist, so let’s roll with that.

Max speed: 80 km/h

The breaking distance and time (which by some bit of randomness is also generally the needed time and space to accelerate), according the the design guidlines of the Edmonton LRT are, respectively, 190m and 18 seconds. Because I’m really not mathamtically-minded, I’m just going to assume that, what with accelerating and decelerating, I’m just going to assume that it takes 18 extra seconds per stop than if the train chugged along at 80kph because even though it’s not going as fast, a decelerating train is still moving forward so just saying 36 seconds would be wrong.

A stop on the New York subway when it first opened was about 15 seconds and I can’t seem to find any other information, so let’s say about 15.

Time per stop: 30 seconds

So every station costs about 30 seconds. In my plan, there are 25 stations, so that makes in total about 13 minutes.

I’ve also divvied up the line into different speeds, ranging from 30-40 km/h to 80, from shared areas to ROW, which makes the entire 17 km system a 17 minutes without stops at 60 km/h on average. Add the stops to it, and it’s about 30 minutes from the very edge of Aylmer to Rideau Centre at an average of 35 km/h. You may think this seems rather slow, but it’s very much on average with full LRT systems.

System KPH
Baltimore 38
Dallas (Red Line) 33
Dallas (Blue Line) 30
Denver (Alameda-Littleton) 61
Denver (Downtown-Littleton) 41
Los Angeles (Blue Line) 38
Los Angeles (Green Line) 61
Salt Lake City 38

At 8h30 on a weekday, an STO bus will do the same trip in just under an hour (59 minutes according to the Plani-bus), or at the sluggish speed of 17 km/h, or a leisurely bike ride. However, should there be traffic (there usually is, for the reasons explored in the second post), it can take almost an hour and a half for a 17-kilometre trip, crawling along at 10 km/h, or the speed of a very brisk walk.

Cars, on their part, aren’t much better: though (according to Google Maps) the trip can be as fast as 40 km/h (22 minutes) along Des Allumettières, most trips are done at a sluggish 22 km/h (40 minutes) on a good day. Bad days can see trips over an hour (15 km/h). A tram, however, would run at the same speed at all times except when Principale and Front streets are busy (which is only during festivals, 4 days per year (Saint-Jean (3) and the Santa Claus Parade).

So here’s everything summed up:

Car Bus Tramway
Peak ~40 minutes (22 km/h) ~80 minutes (12 km/h) 30 minutes (35 km/h)
Non-Peak 22 minutes (40 km/h) 59 minutes (17 km/h) 30 minutes (35 km/h)

Now doesn’t that look nice? Plus, that’s the entire line. A trip from the Galeries d’Aylmer or Vieux-Aylmer would be  about 20 minutes.

That means that taking the tram would save about 2 days from the average government worker’s year (assuming 2 weeks of vacation and 5 days a week) that would have otherwise been spent in traffic. And that’s not even taking into account what can be done on a tram that can’t be done in a car: add WiFi to the cars, and tada! you’re ride is not only faster, it’s productive (if you resist the Facebook siren call…).

And, should you chose to take the car, the roads will be clearer: as we saw in Part I, trams have very high attraction rates even (maybe even especially) from automobile-drivers. And at maximum headway capacity, there could be a train leaving every 5 minutes. Assuming trains of 200 people (the normal capacity for a tram), more than 2400 people could be comfortably transported per hour, per direction. For argument’s sake, we’ll say they’d all drive otherwise and the average car ‘density’ is 5 m of lateral space for every person. That means that the tram could remove a maximum of 12 km of traffic per hour, or roughly the distance between the Galeries d’Aylmer and the Rideau Centre. Whew. But this is entirely theoretic: not all new riders will come from cars and not all automobilists will take the tram. However, it would be logical to deduce that traffic, should you need to take the road, would be much lighter.


So, that’s it for now, but I’ll be adding more and more details of the plan as time goes by like potential effects on development, weather-proofing and other tidbits.

Stay tuned!


One thought on “Tramway: The Details

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