Real Time Animation of TTC Operations

A regular reader of this site, Daniel Tripp, has created a website that can display TTC vehicle locations and movements with new wrinkles in functionality compared to other sites and apps.

His site is called The Unofficial TTC Traffic Report and there is an explanatory video on YouTube.  As of July 4, it only supports a subset of the network with the major downtown routes.

There are two ways to select which routes and directions you will see:

  • Moving “start” and “end” points around on the map will dynamically change the display to give info on the trip options you have for your journey.
  • Clicking on a route will allow you to add or delete it from the display and select the direction’s service to be viewed.

The routes are shown with colour coding to indicate the speed of operation over each part of the line.

A particularly interesting feature is a half-hour long animated view showing the movement of vehicles.  This makes it possible to review recent history without having to stare at the “current” display of routes and remember what is going on.

Occasionally, you will see a vehicle somewhere that is impossible (a streetcar on a street or path that is not part of the network).  From my own experience, this is a function of GPS errors which are common on certain TTC vehicles.

The app is still in development.  Contact info for the author is in the About page.  Please send suggestions to him.

8 thoughts on “Real Time Animation of TTC Operations

  1. If a streetcar breaks-down (as happens with increasing frequency) I assume the fascinating map will look as though all traffic has stopped?

    Steve: Yes, I already saw one of these earlier today. And then for a time afterward, that section of the line may be black indicating very slow operating speed.


  2. One thing I’d really like to see on any animated map is vehicle icons being offset slightly from the road centre-line so that vehicles travelling in opposite directions don’t overlap and are always easier to interpret. I don’t know if this is difficult to program. This is particularly important for icons featuring route text. It would also be nice to see all the streetcar routes assigned unique colours as was done with the San Francisco MUNI NextBus map.


  3. Ron Wm. Hurlbut says:

    July 4, 2013 at 9:21 am
    Cool! It’s like watching an ant farm…

    Except the ants are more flexible and have better organisation.


  4. And ants only have to short-turn if they encounter an anteater.

    Steve: And they are superb at diversions on short notice!


  5. Today I encountered a delay westbound/northbound on the 504 while waiting at Queen/Roncesvalles. (I’m well used to this experience at this location.) Five cars came south followed by a monster gap. The next westbound car short turned and another behind it went out of service. Adding to the circus, a coupled pair of 506’s arrived from the north to enter the yard (the fools let the link cable drag on the ground). There was a 504 operator waiting with us to take over a car. He got on his cellphone to ask when it was ever coming. When the next car finally came not only was it on time for its run but it wasn’t the even one for his changeoff. This car was packed to the station and packed for the return trip. Realising the drag this would put on his timing the driver went lead-foot for the trip up and back.

    One of those times I wish I had a tablet handy to see the mess. Instead I had to call someone at home to look at it on the computer to see if I should walk. (I could have walked all the way to Bloor by this time but didn’t want to suffer in today’s heat and humidity.) Where’s My Streetcar did accurately predict the next car. Seems that was the only thing working right.


  6. Hello, I am the creator of the website. Thank you for watching. In response to some of the comments here:

    Regarding one vehicle breaking down making it appear that all vehicles are stopped – this is not what is supposed to happen. The route will likely turn black, but the animation of one vehicle does not affect the animation of any other vehicles. At the same time, my website is full of quirks and probably some full-on bugs too, so if you see something strange then let me know when and on what route.

    As for showing both directions at once – as great as that would be, I will be honest: that is not a priority for me, because my intent with this website is to help transit users with a particular destination in mind and an immediate need to get there. It is not (or at least, not yet) intended to give an overview of the entire TTC for those interested in statistics and whatnot. I have experimented with showing both directions before, but I found that it made for both directions hard to make out. Immediate transit users tend to want to go in a particular direction and are not interested in what is happening in the opposite direction. So that is why I have done it this way. Maybe some day, I’ll do it another way.

    Thanks again everyone for your support.


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