What is Mass Transit?

Mass Transit moves a large number of people using buses, trains or LRT throughout a city. Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) provides a broad range of bus-based and LRT service . There’s an opportunity to expand our transit network by adding more mass transit through “non-LRT” options in order to meet the needs of our growing city and achieve the urban city envisioned by The City Plan.

This project, Mass Transit: Implementing for 1.25 Million People, will be exploring new mass transit options, specifically focusing on adding non-LRT mass transit options, such as bus rapid transit or streetcar, to the transit network.

Mass transit is an additional layer of transit that boosts service to the busiest parts of the network. The local bus network shouldn't change much although a few routes might be upgraded or replaced by future mass transit routes. Expanding the LRT network continues as planned through the extension of the Capital and Metro lines, and construction of the Valley Line Southeast and Valley Line West.

Map showing transit in the city

In our current transit network, bus routes share the roads with other vehicles and are subject to delays from traffic congestion and signals. Mass transit typically runs in its own space and has right-of-way to ensure that it is quick and reliable.

Mass transit can take many forms, including LRT, streetcars, and bus rapid transit. Non-LRT mass transit has many advantages including the ability to offer travel times and reliability comparable to LRT. It’s also less expensive to build than LRT and non-LRT mass transit can better integrate with the corridors and neighbourhoods that it serves. Mass transit can also provide more service flexibility, and may be better suited to adapt to new technologies and changes in travel behaviour. Simply put: bus mass transit may be the best transit tool under certain ridership conditions and urban contexts.

In Edmonton, LRT will always be a key part of our mass transit network, but the City is looking for ways to complement the LRT with services and infrastructure like:

  • rapid and frequent bus service to move more people faster
  • dedicated bus lanes for quicker travel times and more reliable service
  • priority measures at intersections to allow buses to avoid delays and congestion
  • stations with amenities to make transfers and waiting more comfortable and secure

The table below provides examples of what is, and is not, considered as part of the Mass Transit: Implementing for 1.25 Million People project.

Non-LRT mass transit could include:

Non-LRT mass transit DOES NOT include:

  • dedicated bus lanes and transit priority measures at intersections
  • streetcar (rail technology operating in mixed-traffic) on certain corridors
  • sheltered and heated stops or stations
  • bus priority at intersections to improve bus speed and reliability
  • high-speed rapid bus service to areas of the city not served by LRT
  • high-frequency service along major corridors
  • improvements to regional transit connections
  • LRT extensions or new LRT routes
  • local bus service - remains unchanged except for consideration of overlapping routes
  • on-demand transit
  • other bus service in mixed-traffic

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