With the King Street Transit Pilot coming to its official end this fall, we’re all taking stock of the project’s results.
Overall, the pilot has been a positive success. We know from data released by the City and TTC that the pilot has dramatically improved the transit experience for the (now) 80,000 riders on the 504 and 514 streetcars since the pilot rolled out in November 2017. We also understand that foot traffic along an expanded public realm has kept pace with seasonal norms, even during the coldest months. And, as Steven Hoffman of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research describes, the pilot also comes with health benefits. We decided to do a quick calculation of the value of the time savings generated for transit riders, based on available data.
The Flipside To Congestion Costs
Why estimate the value of time savings? Time savings are a key aspect of detailed business cases carried out by Metrolinx that also look at new capital and operating costs, benefits/costs of time travel savings/increases, reductions in greenhouse gasses and other emissions, and job creation, among other indicators. In Toronto, congestion carries an estimated cost of $3.3 billion in lost time for Toronto commuters. Time savings are the flipside to this burden.