Where Is My Diversion Notice?

I recently wrote about the large number of overlapping construction projects affecting the streetcar system this year. A major problem today, as in years past, is that the TTC’s website is very badly designed from the point of view of actually finding information. As I wrote that article, I kept discovering info by looking under various rocks, and in some cases from a City web page with related information.

A typical transit rider should not have to undertake such explorations just to find out what the present and planned network configuration will be.

This article describes the layout of the TTC’s site as it exists on Thursday, May 4, 2023. Things move from time to time, and you might not find a page where you thought you left it the previous day.

A fundamental problem with the site is that there are at least five different types of posts which convey service information in addition to the basic schedule and map pages for each route:

  • Service Alerts: These are posted by Transit Control and advise of current major issues affecting routes.
  • Service Changes: This page list service changes and diversions.
  • Subway Closures: These detail planned work requiring the shutdown of service on parts of the subway network.
  • Construction Notices: These detail work in progress at various sites, but these are separate from …
  • Projects & Plans: These describe major projects including construction.

Some but not all of these automatically link to the affected routes. The Construction Plans are only available to those who seek them out as I will describe later. It is not unusual to find conflicting information related to the same route or project.

There is an IT term “denormalization” which describes a situation where the same information is contained in multiple places risking synchronization problems during updates.

The TTC’s web site has many links between pages that are clearly intended to provide a “fast path” in hopping around the site rather than always drilling down from the top. However, these are not implemented consistently. Moreover, some pages with different information and purpose have the same or similar descriptions in links.

This article is not intended as a commentary on the site’s design beyond the general difficulty of finding information and the inconsistencies in where this is posted. I am sure others (you know who you are) could have a lot of fun talking about design in the comments.

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