In the first article of this series, I gave an overview of the data for one day’s operation on the 512 St. Clair route in July 2010. Here, I will review link times (the time taken to get from one location to another) on the route for the entire month, and compare this with data from April 2007 when the St. Clair car last ran over its full length from Yonge to Keele.
Updated December 29, 2010 at 9:50 am:
A set of charts has been added comparing the running times between Keele and Yonge for April 2007 and July 2010. See the end of the article for links and commentary.
First we look at the entire route, except for the terminal portions east of Yonge and west of Keele. This eliminates variations caused by layover time from a review of running time across the route.
[A note re the scale: I have left the maximum value for the Y-axis on these charts fairly high so that the outliers in the data are visible. Occasional values that lie off of the chart have been dropped so that they do not pull the trend lines away from the main body of data points.]
Each set of charts contains seven pages holding:
- Weeks 1 through 4 of the month including trendlines.
- All weekdays to show the overall pattern.
- All Saturdays, excluding those where service did not operate over the entire route.
- All Sundays and holidays, excluding those where service did not operate over the entire route.
Several points are evident here:
- There is very little effect caused by “peak periods”.
- Weekday times lie in a band roughly 10 minutes wide. Given a trip time of roughly half an hour, this shows a considerable amount of variation although it is not concentrated in any particular time of day.
- Saturdays have running times comparable to or slightly greater than weekdays.
- Sundays and holidays have the shortest running times.
Comparison to April 2007 data shows what has changed and what has not.
There is not much change in the running times from 2007 to 2010 on weekdays, although a peak period effect is more noticeable especially in week 4 of April 2007 when construction had started. What is quite striking is the improvement on weekends when traffic restrictions on St. Clair tend to favour cars over transit (turns, parking) and the effect of the midday traffic buildup is obvious.
On a related note, the TTC is improving service on the 512 St. Clair route in January 2011 to the point that afternoon headways will be better on weekends than on weekdays (6’00” M-F, 4’00” Sat, 5’15” Sun).
From a traffic point of view, the busiest part of St. Clair lies west of St. Clair West Station. Here are the comparative charts for 2010 and 2007.
Again, these charts show some effect from peak period congestion and longer stop service times, but the big differences come on weekends.
(For a further look at April 2007 data, see my article on link times and headways for that period.)
At St. Clair West Station, the time needed to pass through the loop is fairly consistent. In the graphs linked below, the interval measured is from Bathurst Street to Tweedsmuir (the east portal). Note that eastbound trips will include stop service time at Bathurst because this is a farside stop.
At the terminals, cars often have time for an extended layover. In the charts linked here, the time plotted is the round trip from the nearest major intersection through the loop and back. This eliminates problems with deciding when a car has actually “turned around” because they do not take layovers in consistent positions.
At St. Clair Station, the round trip time from Yonge eastbound to Yonge westbound has a lower bound of about 2.5 minutes. This is most evident on page 5 of the charts where all weekdays are shown together and only one data point (and that one late at night) lies below this level. What is quite striking is that the upper level at 10 minutes and beyond is well-populated. The trend lines hover at about 6 minutes, and the larger values will in part come from variation in travel times across the route described above.
On weekends, the situation is roughly the same. The weekend of July 17-18 shows very long layover times at St. Clair Station because a truncated route was operating on the regular schedule, and cars had much time to kill on every trip.
The situation is similar for the round trip from Keele west to Gunn’s Loop and return. Notable events include:
- The delay on July 5 (discussed in the previous article) where three vehicles held eastbound at Keele due to a delay at Old Weston. This shows up in the rise in the pink trendline for that date caused by three data points that are off the top of the chart.
- Long layovers during the AM peak on July 23 caused by the route splitting at St. Clair West Station and cars arriving quite early back at Gunn’s Loop.
- Extraordinarily long layovers on July 31 during the afternoon and early evening.
I will review these events in more detail in another article.
Although one could claim that the right-of-way was of little benefit, especially considering its cost, what we do see is that the street had very little reserve especially during periods when traffic regulations were relaxed or when construction removed some capacity. As the street redevelops and local demand increases, the road (like many others in the GTA) would become constrained more of the time and transit would suffer. That is the heart of the pro-right-of-way argument, that the streetcar line will grow in importance as overall population and travel demand require more of the transit system.
In the next article, I will turn to the question of headway reliability.
Update: Link Time Comparisons
In response to a comment left in this thread, I have created sets of charts to compare data from 2007 to 2010. Here are the results.
The first page of each set shows the average link times for each hour for six sets of data. For each year, there are weekday, Saturday and Sunday averages.
The dark and light blue lines contrast the weekday data where the greatest difference shows up in the PM peak.
The purple lines with square and star data points contrast the Saturday data where the difference in running times pre- and post-right-of-way is much more noticeable. The 2007 Saturday data is the worst of the lot, but it is worth noting that even in 2010, Saturdays are slightly slower than weekdays.
The green and brown lines contrast the Sunday data where, no surprise, the running times are shortest of all.
Following pages show the details for individual days grouped by type of day to allow easy comparison of 2010 to 2007 by flipping between adjacent pages. Note that the number of data points in a few cases is very small because of short turns that prevented many trips from reaching the ends of the line. Values over one hour have been dropped from the data.
(The data for Friday, April 20, 2007 from noon onward have been dropped. Operations were somewhat chaotic and the “old” CIS system, not GPS based, introduced a number of rogue movements into the data.)
What is visible here is that overall the right-of-way has lowered the running time over the route and this benefit is most pronounced for periods when the pre-right-of-way St. Clair was congested.