Wandering Streetcars (Updated)

Updated March 1 at 10:00 am:  Data for the Queen route for the months of October and November covering the period of split operation are now available for viewing.

George Bell has put together an application that displays the TTC’s vehicle monitoring data as an animation.  The effect is something like NextBus, but for historical data.  You can watch streetcars bunch now from the comfort of your own computer.

He is using the same source data from the TTC as I used for my analyses.  At this point, only St. Clair for January is available.

A few notes from George:

I’ve put together the beginnings of a bing maps viewer for the data. Love for feedback from the community.

Just a word to people before clicking on the link – the data files for each day are about a meg or two each. Silverlight is required, and if you don’t have it a link will be shown so you can get it.

Please leave general comments in this thread, and send bug notes, requests for fixes, etc. to George using the link provided on his site.

When you view a day’s data, be sure to zoom in so that the route fills your screen and you watch things unfold in full detail.  January 8th, a date already mentioned in my analytic article, gives a visual feel for the complete chaos of the line’s behaviour.

There is part of me that SCREAMS out that the TTC should make this data and the presentation format available for every route, every day.  Anyone who wants to know how a route behaved would only need to pull up its animated version.

Real time would be even nicer.  I can imagine a route supervisor (or an interested member of the public) sitting with an iPad to keep track of the service.

St. Clair From The Archives

The City of Toronto Archives contain many photos and documents of the early days of the TTC and its predecessors.  Among them is a June 1914 schedule for the St. Clair car, a line that had opened only a year earlier.

The line ran from the Grand Trunk Railway crossing just west of what is now called Caledonia Road, but on the timetable shown as “Station Street”.  A one way trip was given 18 minutes to reach Yonge Street during all hours of service.  Headways were 4.5 minutes AM peak, 6 minutes midday, 4 minutes PM peak, 7 minutes evenings.

There were 13 crews for a day’s service with work hours ranging from 8 to 10 hours, most of them over 9 hours with a spread of 11 to 14(!) hours.

Thanks to Martin Phills for alerting me to this item in the archives.

Once you visit that site, it’s hard to leave without much browsing.  Here is a selection of photos of St. Clair before and during construction of the streetcar line. Continue reading