Evaluating, Comparing, and Improving Metro Networks Application to Plans for Toronto, Canada

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, place - north america, economics - capital costs, infrastructure - interchange/transfer, planning - network design, mode - rail, infrastructure - right of way


network design model, coverage, directness, connectivity, Toronto, Canada


As public transportation systems become more complex, an analysis of their network features can be of substantial help for planners. This work is an application of a network design model that was validated previously. It uses three indicators relevant to ridership: coverage, directness, and connectivity. Coverage calculates the percentage of land covered by the network. Directness relates to the convenience to travel, to avoid unnecessary transfers. Connectivity appreciates the structure of networks by measuring the affluence of transfer stations. According to the 15- and 25-year transit plans produced by the Toronto, Canada, regional transportation authority, Metrolinx, the objectives were to apply the model to evaluate these plans, compare them with other transit systems worldwide, and propose possible improvements. The model is applied only to the plans for the city of Toronto (seven light rail lines, three metro extensions, and one new metro line). These plans significantly improve the current system; for example, the model predicts approximately 546 million boardings per year for the 25-year plan, compared with 265.3 million currently. Nonetheless, seven possible improvements are also suggested, which might bring Toronto to approximately 619 million boardings per year, a 134% increase over current levels.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by TRB, copyright remains with them.