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Project Spotlight: O-Train Line 2 Bus Loop Operational Testing

Image - Project Spotlight: O-Train Line 2 Bus Loop Operational Testing

For many residents in Ottawa’s southern communities, your transit journey will soon include both bus and rail when Line 2 and Line 4 open for passenger service. The newly extended O-Train Line 2 will feature three Park & Rides, new multi-use pathways, and many bus connections that will help improve your transit experience.

As part of New Ways to Bus, our future bus network is being reconfigured to take advantage of an expanded O-Train network. Bus loops have been constructed at Leitrim, Bowesville, and Limebank stations to facilitate bus-to-rail transfers.

Earlier this year, we performed bus loop operational testing at these stations to ensure your bus can seamlessly drop you off and pick you up. The Next Stop Blog is here to explain what a bus loop is, how they are designed, and how we test them to ensure that your future transfer is as efficient and seamless as possible.

Bus loop testing at Leitrim Station.

Bus loop testing at Leitrim Station.

Click the image above for a closer look.

What is a bus loop?

Bus loops are found at several key transfer stations across our city. Think about the last time you rode a bus into Tunney’s Pasture, Hurdman, Blair, or Lincoln Fields stations. Bus loops are designed to connect customers conveniently and efficiently between different transit routes and modes (bus-to-bus and bus-to-rail transfers).

Where your bus stops within a bus loop is carefully planned. Bus routes are strategically assigned and grouped based on origins, destinations, and common corridors. Bus loops can also improve service reliability by providing dedicated space for buses and avoiding unpredictable conflicts with general traffic in areas adjacent to O-Train stations outside of bus loops.

Bus loops are designed with your safety in mind. Although it might be tempting to cross a bus loop, you should always stay on the platform and walk to your stop using the designated pedestrian areas. Staying on the platform keeps you safe and prevents delays.

Many bus loops include space for buses to stop and wait, whether to accommodate operator breaks or simply recover time between trips. Providing these facilities in close proximity to the transit station reduces the travel distance between break location and bus stop, helping your trip start on time.

Bus Loop operational testing

Bus loop testing involves simulating future bus service under various scenarios and allows OC Transpo staff to ensure construction matches design, validate bus loop capacity and bus movements, confirm bus routes are assigned to the best stops, and to collect travel time data to help inform future schedules.

Recently, OC Transpo successfully completed bus loop operational testing at key transfer stations for O-Train Line 2, including Leitrim, Bowesville, and Limebank stations.

The primary objective of the tests was to ensure that efficient and reliable bus service can be provided within the new bus loops when they are opened. By assessing factors above, staff can identify and address potential issues before customers and buses begin using the station.

Limebank Station bus loop testing

Limebank Station bus loop testing

Click the image above for a closer look.

A critical component of bus loop testing is confirming bus stop assignments. Confirming that each platform can accommodate the planned volume of buses is important. During testing, we identified which locations in the bus loop experienced congestion, conflicting or challenging movements, and made adjustments to bus platform stop assignments.

Testing also allows us to collect travel time data for how long it takes a bus to circulate through the station, to help validate our future schedules, and improve service reliability and on-time performance, ultimately improving the overall customer experience.

The completion of bus loop testing at Leitrim, Bowesville and Limebank stations marks a significant milestone towards passenger service on O-Train Line 2. With bus loop testing now complete, we are one step closer to expanding the O-Train System farther south.

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