In September 2008, Metrolink launched a regional transportation plan – The Big Move – a 25-year, $50 billion plan for coordinated, integrated transportation and transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). One of the first wave of projects currently underway is the Eglinton Crosstown, which represents an investment of $5.3 billion (2010$) toward better transit in Toronto. Construction began in 2011 of this 19-kilometre light rail transit line corridor which will include a 10-kilometre underground portion. The Crosstown, as it is commonly known will have up to 25 stations and stops. It will link to 54 bus routes, three subway stations and various GO Transit lines.
And will aim to provide fast, reliable and convenient transit by carrying passengers in dedicated right-of-way transit lanes separate from regular traffic. This service will have priority signalling at intersections to ensure certainty in travel times. The vehicles will use the PRESTO proof-of-payment system and will have multiple entrances and low floors to ensure fast and accessible boarding.
Light rail vehicles can travel as fast as 80km/hr. However, actual speed is determined by the spacing of the stops and the speed limits of surrounding traffic. On average, the Crosstown vehicles will travel at 28km/hr. The projected ridership of the Crosstown is 5,400 passengers per hour in the peak direction by 2031. The capacity of the Crosstown vehicles is 15,000 passengers per hour per direction. Cars can be removed or added easily, thus providing the flexibility to accommodate ridership demands.
Bombardier's Flexity Freedom rolling stock will be used on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line. Metrolinx awarded a $770m contract to Bombardier, for delivery of 182 light rail vehicles (LRVs), including an option for 118 additional vehicles to operate on the four LRT lines being constructed in Toronto. With this has also come a 30-years of maintenance contract for the Crosstown line. The contract, is valued at approximately $403 million CDN ($308 million US, 282 million euro).
Light rail transit is a proven technology that is used around the world, including extremely cold places such as Edmonton, Calgary and Minneapolis. The Crosstown is a $5.3 billion (2010$) investment from the Government of Ontario to expand transit in Toronto. It is the largest transit expansion in the history of Toronto’s history.
The Crosstown is currently under construction and will be complete by 2020.
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