Transit use in Uptown Waterloo peaks in afternoon: study

A detailed report will soon be released by the Region of Waterloo which examines how frequently people travel through the southern part of Uptown Waterloo by car, bike, bus and foot.

The author of a report commissioned by the Region of Waterloo to determine how people are travelling through the core of Waterloo says modes of transportation in that area may be more diverse than many people think.

A draft of the report has been obtained by CBC News, and contains data on the number of cars, bicycles, buses and pedestrians that passed through King Street North between Willis Way and William Street during a five-day period in September 2012. 

One of the key findings is that public transit usage is at its highest on weekdays in the peak afternoon and evening hours. During these peak times, 33 per cent of all trips made through Uptown are on public transit, while 59 per cent of trips are made in automobiles. Eight per cent of trips in the afternoon are made on foot or on bike.

During morning weekday peak periods, 27 per cent of all trips are on transit. Only three per cent of trips occurred on foot or on a bicycle.

The report’s principal investigator, University of Waterloo urban planning professor Jeff Casello, says the data is demonstrating that transportation modes in the area are more diverse than previously believed.

“Often times, you’ll hear a number quoted that 93 per cent of our trips are made by car,” said Casello. “The numbers that we see in Uptown Waterloo are very different. There’s periods of time during the week when less than 60 per cent of trips are made by car.”

Casello added that he believes the data on public transit also shows the current system is starting to reach capacity.

“Eventually, we’re going to get to the point where we’re going to have 15 to 22 buses coming through Uptown Waterloo, and that’s when the buses themselves start to create congestion, which is exactly the case we see in Ottawa.”


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