Monday, May 28, 2018

Light rail to cut Surrey B-Line travel time during peak period almost in half on opening day

TransLink and Surrey are building light rail along 104 Avenue and King George Boulevard between Newton and Guildford Town Centres. The total travel time from one end of the line to the other will be 27 minutes on light rail. Much has been said about this 27 minutes not being significantly different than the average 29 minutes it currently takes to ride the 96 B-Line between Newton and Guildford today. A key word is average.

Rendering of light rail system and Surrey's public realm. Select image to enlarge.

The light rail project team recently released a comprehensive environmental and socio-economic review of stage 1 of South of Fraser Light Rail. One of the sections of this review is on travel times and traffic. As noted in the review, it takes around “29 minutes on the 96 B-Line [between Newton and Guildford]. During periods of congestion, B-Line travel times can take longer than 50 minutes.” On day one of light rail’s operation, during peak periods, it will cut travel times by 23 minutes for transit riders.

If light rail wasn’t built, average B-Line travel times would continue to get worse. Travel times on the B-Line end-to-end would increase to 40 minutes by 2030, with travel times during peak travel periods being much worse.

End-to-end travel time will always be 27 minutes for light rail between Newton and Guildford Town Centres. This will not change based on the time of day, or years into the future. In 2045, at the busiest time of the day, it will still only take 27 minutes to get between Newton and Guildford on light rail.

When it comes to cars, it currently takes 20 minutes to get between Newton and Guildford along King George Boulevard and 104 Avenue. This is expected to increase to 32 minutes by 2030. Light rail will be a faster option than driving.

As Surrey and the South of Fraser continue to grow, transit service that runs in its own dedicated right-of-way will be required to give people a way out of congestion. It is because light rail will be running in its own right-of-way that its travel time will remain so consistent.

Stage one of light rail will remove around 1,600 vehicles per day of the road during the peak morning travel period by 2045. This is equal to around two lanes of traffic. Stage 1 will increase the number of people in Surrey who are within a 5-minute walk of rapid transit from around 1% to around 7%.

More information on travel times and traffic is provided in section 7.2 of the review.

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