The priority transit lanes and other traffic measures have been in place on King Street between Jarvis and Bathurst Streets since the fall of 2017, five years ago. This article updates past charts and observations with data to October 2022.
There are three quite separate areas on these charts:
- 2016 to fall 2017: This is the pre-priority era in which travel times were longer and, during parts of the day, quite unpredictable.
- Fall 2017 to March 2020: This is the era of transit priority pre-pandemic. There is a marked reduction in both the length and variation in average travel times during most periods.
- March 2020 to October 2022: This is the pandemic era. A further drop in travel times occurred almost immediately as this period began, and values have only begun to climb upward in recent months.
A troubling question, difficult to answer this early in the “recovery” period, is how far up both average trip times and the variation in these values will climb. Motorist have had free rein on King Street for two and a half years, and the “priority” scheme is a shadow of its former self.
The situation will be further complicated when Queen Street closes for Ontario Line construction and traffic diverts onto Richmond and Adelaide with, no doubt, some spillover to King. There is no sense that robust priority measures will be in place for transit, but instead that the focus will be on moving traffic generally through downtown. Transit will benefit, to the extent it might, from the “rising tides lift all boats” philosophy that sees any benefit to auto traffic as having a spin-off value to transit. That is a false but commonly used analogy.
In the charts below, there two galleries, one with westbound and one with eastbound data. This allows a reader to open the gallery and step back and forth through different hours of the day to see how the data change.
All of the charts have the same layout.
- The x-axis gives the date over the past five years.
- The y-axis is time in minutes with the bottom of the axis at 10 and the top at 40. This gives more “breathing room” for the variations as there are “zero” values in the chart only where there are no data due to a diversion or missing data in the TTC feed. The upper value of 40 clips some of the very high peaks, but these are rare.
- There are two lines showing the 50th percentile (mean, blue) and 85th percentile (yellow) for the travel times.
- There are various vertical bars marking significant events including the start of the King Street pilot (green), the onset of Covid (brown) and the annual film festival (red, omitted for 2020 and 2021).