How we got here
A plan years in the making
London’s Rapid Transit initiative is the result of a series of significant City Council decisions over several terms, and is rooted in many years of consultation, study, planning and expertise.
On June 4, 2019, the City of London received a “Notice to Proceed” from Ontario’s Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks, indicating the completion of the Environmental Assessment for Rapid Transit. The notice allows the City to proceed with any or all components of the Rapid Transit project as outlined in the Environmental Project Report. Read the Statement of Completion.
Past projects and documents
By engaging thousands of local citizens and businesses, these exercises laid the groundwork for rapid transit as part of the vision to meet London’s unique transit needs.
Here is a snapshot of some of the foundational work that informed London’s rapid transit plan, plus the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) Business Case:
The London Plan is a key guiding document for BRT because it outlines a big picture vision for where and how the city will grow – and emphasizes building around rapid transit. The Plan, adopted by Council in 2016, was based on extensive community consultations and more than 100 public events, and lays out a vision for the City’s future up to 2035. Direction #5 of the plan, to build a mixed-use compact city, includes a bold policy to direct high-intensity, mixed-use development to strategic locations along rapid transit corridors and within the city’s Primary Transit Area.
Based on a thorough review of every form of transportation in London, the Smart Moves 2030 Transportation Plan lays out the city’s transportation needs for today and in the future. The study began in 2009 and was completed in 2013, with a goal of building on other foundational transportation studies, including the City’s 2004 Transportation Master Plan and the LTC’s 2006 Transit Ridership Growth Strategy.
Smart Moves outlines a number of strategies to provide more attractive travel choices, and recommends two rapid transit corridors: Richmond Street / Wellington Street Corridor, forming a north/south route, and Dundas Street / Oxford Street West / East Corridor, forming a key east/west route.
With Smart Moves 2030 outlining the need for a rapid transit system in London, it was necessary to explore the city’s options in greater detail – and so the Shift Rapid Transit Initiative was born.
The goal of Shift was to clearly outline where rapid transit should go, what it would look like, and how it should be implemented. In order to do this, an Environmental Assessment began, with the early goals of identifying the challenges and opportunities associated with implementing rapid transit, and assessing a variety of possible solutions.
In July 2017, after two years of study, Council approved London’s Rapid Transit Master Plan, which gave the green light to a BRT system and defined exactly where the system would run.
This decision paved the way for planning to begin on the formal Transit Project Assessment Process – a provincially regulated process for large transit initiatives – that includes further consultation with the public and stakeholders. Through this process, the project team provides further recommendations for how BRT could look in London, subject to Council approval, and identifies any potential impacts of the project and recommendations for addressing them.
As part of the Environmental Assessment for BRT, the Environmental Project Report (EPR) highlights the recommended designs for the approved BRT corridors. It identifies any potential project impacts, and proposes recommendations for addressing them.
The report includes all of the supporting studies and background materials – from traffic modeling and records of public consultation to archaeological and environmental studies.
Other documents that inform the plan include:
- Transit Priority Strategy For Bus Rapid Transit Implementation, 2012
Outlines early plans to develop a more sustainable transportation system for London
- Downtown London BRT Routing Options, 2011
Addresses the question of what the best routings for the future BRT routes will be downtown.
- London Travel Survey, 2010
Gives a snapshot of transportation in the City of London on a typical weekday, with information that helped the City assess how growth and other emerging influences (such as congestion, gas prices, demographics, city policies etc) could influence travel demands and user choices in the future.
Input from Londoners
From the development of The London Plan and the Transportation Master Plan to recent consultations, Londoners’ input has been vital to the development of the rapid transit designs. Over the past year, feedback from residents, businesses and stakeholders has resulted in refinements ranging from turn lane locations to added cycling connections.
- In response to businesses who said they needed areas for parking, loading and deliveries, loading areas were added at Citi Plaza and along King Street, and street parking was maintained where possible, including Clarence Street and Angel Street and Richmond Row.
- In response to the cycling community, bike lanes and multi-use paths were extended wherever possible and cycling connections were added at most signalized intersections.
- A lane of general traffic on King Street was extended for two blocks east of Wellington after hearing concerns from businesses and residents living in residential towers.
- Stops were added in places where residents said they were needed because population density.
- Private landowners were consulted closely to develop the design of transit terminals at places like Fanshawe and White Oaks Mall.