Ottawa Offers Lessons in Transitioning from BRT to Light Rail

Nour Aoude examines the planning efforts behind Ottawa's new Confederation light rail line, which will replace sections of the over-used Transitway bus rapid transit line.
Mike Gifford / Flickr

Ottawa is planning to begin light rail service on the new Confederation Line in 2018, with the Western LRT replacing service along a section of the current Transitway bus rapid transit system that spans the city.

As Nour Aoude reports, the Transitway was originally constructed with an eventual transition to rail in mind. "The impression was that it would be cheaper to build BRT first, and then convert to LRT. However, the high costs of operating and replacing buses over the years, and of converting the Transitway to light rail ($540 million for the Confederation Line alone) have put this wisdom into question. Today, it seems that building LRT from the start might have saved costs in the long run."

Aoude's coverage of the issue also includes discussion of the outreach that will be necessary to educate the public about the benefits of rail and the hopes for development along the line.

Full Story: We Have LRT, Now What? Ottawa’s Next Transit Challenge


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Grids and Guide Red book cover

Grids & Guides

A notebook for visual thinkers. Available in red and black.

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.

Create Your Own Paper Block City

Urban Fold is an all-inclusive kit that allows anyone to build the city of their dreams with a few simple folds.