Key Studies/Plans


Transportation Plans and Studies

Analysis of National Capital Travel Trends 1985-2011

In Dec 2012, the results of the 2011 origin-destination survey which was undertaken as the basis for the 2013 Transportation Master Plan were released. Subsequently in 2016 a companion document was issued which looked at the 2011 survey results in light of previous surveys in 2005, 1995, and 1985 to analyze trends and changes over time.  

The Origin-Destination Survey is performed prior to major updates of the Ottawa Transportation Master Plan via a telephone survey to over 25,000 residents collecting data on all types of trips made by all persons within the household.  This data is then extrapolated up to the full population to give trip volumes representative of what is happening across the whole city.

Prior to this a 2011 travel trends analysis document was available which analyzed the travel trends up until 2005.  

Some of the key findings from the 2011 survey continue to confirm the trends that were already apparent in the previous trend analysis based on the 2005 data.  These include:

  • trip rates per person and per household (counting all types of trips by all modes) are accelerating their decline, as does the rate of growth of total trips in the region
  • the absolute  number  of trips in the NCR went up by 3.7% in the 6 years since 2005 (.6%/yr), slower than the rate of growth of the population which increased by 7.2% and the number of employed persons which went up by 8.2%
  • when observed for car trips alone, the total car trips in the 6 yrs since 2005 was up 4.7% but VKT (total vehicle kms travelled) was down 1.4% and the VKT for work trips was down 5.9% 
  • the average trip length for trips to work was down 4.2%
  • histograms were made available of total trips made by car by length of trip.  This revealed that the highest number of car trips was in the 2-3km range and over 20% of all car trips were less than 3kms long
  • since 2005, the number of vehicles per household rate (for the 1st time) has gone -ve (-3%).  It should be noted that this trend is aided by the fact that average household sizes continue with their long term decline
  • from 2005 to 2011, transit trip growth is 2x car trip growth 
  • 70% of auto trips are alone, and only 5% of ridesharing trips were with work colleagues

This informative document dated Jan 2011 by the TRANS committee uses the Origin-Destination survey of 2005 (document listed below) and compares it to previous surveys from 1985 and 1995 to show trends in population, car ownership, and travel patterns. It then suggests ways in which these trends should be taken into account to adjust models and projections into the future.  Presumably much of this analysis will be used as part of the planning and  modelling that will go into the 2013 update of the  2008 version of the Transportation Master Plan.  Some of the key observations made in this document include:
  • the rate of work trips being generated per capita and per worker is steadily decreasing.  Ie the number of work trips is not increasing as fast as the population, however since the population has almost doubled total trips overall are increasing and increasing at about the same pace regardless of whether it is AM peak, mid-day, or PM peak
  • a much higher proportion of overall trips travel within and towards suburban areas outside the greenbelt vs towards downtown (ie. rate of increases of trips to the downtown is slowing as a relative percentage of all travel)
  • on an overall all day basis transit mode shares by 2005 were 15% of all trips which is less than in 1985 (18%) but  higher than in 1995 (13%). This is mostly because there are now so many more trips to suburbs and these are mostly made by car.  Looking at transit mode shares on trips towards downtown in the morning peak, the mode share is increasing...from 39% in 1995 to 43% in 2005
  • commuting by walk and cycle in the densest downtown areas has increased from 21% to 29% of all trips
  • the level of car ownership per capita is rising. The % of 0-car households has decreased to 13% while the number of 2 car households has increased from 27% to 34% 
  • the average trip length to get to work is 9.2km (8.0 km if the rural areas are not counted and this is is unchanged since 1995)
  • the percentage of the population living in single-detached housing has increased from 45% in 1985 to 52% by 2005
This document with its hundreds of graphs and charts can be (via right click and selecting "save link as")  downloaded here (7MB).

This document is the holy grail of trip data for the National Capital Region with detailed information about trips taken in the region by time of day, by purpose of trip, and by origin and destination, etc, etc. This data is used to derive the future transportation requirements across the different major 'screen-lines' in the city and is a key source of information used to drive the City of Ottawa Transportation Master Plans.

The Survey is performed prior to major updates of the Ottawa Transportation Master Plan via a telephone survey to over 25,000 residents collecting data on all types of trips made by all persons within the household.  This data is then extrapolated up to the full population to give trip volumes representative of what is happening across the whole city.

Observations of changes in travel patterns from survey to survey are extremely useful in projecting the future transportation needs.

2011 Survey

2005 Survey

Interprovincial Truck Survey (2007)

This document provides detailed information on numbers and types of trucks crossing the Chaudiere and Macdonald-Cartier bridges based on roadside surveys and automated traffic recorder counts conducted by the MTO in Jun 2007. The full document with its graphs and charts is available here. 2007 Interprovincial Truck Survey.

Some highlights from this study are summarized below:

1. Total Volumes:

Chaudiere =1130
Mac-Cartier =2630
Ttl = 3760 (9% higher than previous study in 1999)

2. Truck Type: 3760 total:

2-axle= 790 (29% of total)
3-axle= 650 (17% of total)
tractor= 2320 (62% total) ... ie. '18 wheelers'

This distribution by truck type was close to the same for Chaudiere vs Macdonald-Cartier bridge

3. Trip Type:

2080 within NCR (55% of total) and of these 936 (45%) were tractor trailers
1450 between NCR and external location and of these 1160 (80%) were tractor trailers
230 transiting through NCR from external origins/destinations (6%), of these 90% were tractor trailers

4. Trip Lengths:

1520 = < 35 kms
820 = 35 - 100 kms
1420 = > 100 kms

An earlier version of this study dating from 1999-2000 also exists. This version also includes detailed information on the types of goods in transport and the origins and destinations of these trucks. Click on the link below to download (2.8MB)

City of Ottawa Transportation Master Plans (2013, 2008)

This document provides 20 year projections of transportation growth and outlines the various transit, cycling, and road development strategies the City of Ottawa intends to pursue to meet these growth needs.  This document is revised every five years and for the most part is fairly high level, containing overall city-wide projections of trip-making and lots of policy statements about principles which will be used to guide decision making on transportation projects.  

2013 Transportation Master Plan

The 2013 TMP (13.1MB) proposes a number of changes to the list of proposed infrastructure projects compared to the 2008 Plan.  Firstly, previous plans tended to be more like 'wish lists' whereas this plan is constrained by a more thorough analysis of what we are most likely to be able to 'afford' over the next 18 years.  As a result, the plans for building and expanding roads have been reduced by over half (from 2.1B$ in the 2008 plan to ~900m$ over the next 18 years).  Meanwhile, on the transit side, a more ambitious plan has been put together since 2008 which sees a wider expansion of the LRT system accomplished sooner (by 2023) based on taking on debt more quickly.  The expansions include extending the LRT from Blair Rd to Place d' Orleans in the east as well as on a new LRT branch in the west between Lincoln Fields and Bayshore.  This plan also commits to rail to the south by extending the O-Train to the edge of Riverside south neighbourhood (It also adds some new stops along its current route).   On cycling, the plan is more detailed than the 2008 version including specific financial commitments (70m$ over the next 18 years) towards cycling infrastructure along with a detailed list of cycling specific projects to be implemented with that money.  To complement this a further 40m$ is set aside for 'active transportation' bridges over waterways in the inner area for walkers and cyclists and 26m$ for sidewalks the majority of which are in areas outside the core of the city.  The table below sets out the capital spending plans envisaged between 2014 and 2031:

More info on the 2013 TMP can be found on the TMP 2013 web page.

2008 Transportation Master Plan

In the 2008 TMP, the more interesting parts begin on page 90 providing an itemized (but non-prioritized) view of new road, transit, and cycling projects envisioned for the next 20 years.  Click on the link (section title) above to view the document or on this link to download (3.5MB)

Transit Network Scenario Planning Documents (2013, 2008)

As part of the preparation of the transit chapter of the Transportation Master Plans, more technical background documents are prepared which evaluate the cost/benefits of different transit scenarios.  The 2013 version of this document involved evaluating different scenarios for the extension of LRT to Orleans. This is the link to the 2013 TMP Transit Network Analysis document

In 2008, consultants were hired to evaluate 4 different high level scenarios for the long term vision of the City of Ottawa transit network (all involving an east-west LRT system with downtown tunnel in the core).  These scenario evaluations also included envisioning the relative costs and benefits as well as the staging (ie. the roll-out of which parts of the system would be built in which order).  In the end scenario 4 was chosen and this is the system that is captured in the 2008 TMP.  In reviewing this document in 2012 it can be seen that for some of the elements of the network which are in the near term implementation horizon that the high level cost estimates are now considerably higher than the numbers which were used in this document.  Access the 2008 TMP view of 2031 Transit Plan Phasing Study here.

City of Ottawa 20 Year Road Building Plans (2013, 2003)

As input to the roads portion of each Transportation Master Plan, the City hires consultants to perform a detailed analysis of projected transportation flows across particular 'screen-lines' or boundaries within the City.  Assumptions are then applied as to what percentage of those trips will be made by transit and cycling resulting in projected deficits in roadway capacity at each of these points.  The document then goes on to list specific new road projects (or road widenings) that will be needed to achieve the required capacity, suggests an approximate order in which these roads should be constructed, and an approximate cost.  

2013 Analysis/Plan for Road Expansions

The roads analysis undertaken as part of the 2013 TMP had a stronger focus on the 'affordability' of the plan.  Ie. the plan started with a constraint based on the level of funding (742m$)  that was expected to be available over the 2014-2031 span of the plan and the analysis focused on determining what was the optimal set of road expansions to be undertaken within those constraints.  The following link leads to the detailed 2013 TMP Roads Analysis document.

2003 Analysis/Plan for Road Expansions

The net results from the 2003 plan was a recommendation for the  building of 1.3B$ of new or widened roads between 2003 and 2021.  Approximately 1.1B$ of this amount was for roadways outside of the Greenbelt (of the 200m$ for roadways inside the Greenbelt 100m$ was allocated for the building of the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor).

Another interesting section in this document is the comparison of this 2003 plan with the previous 1997 (pre-amalgamation plan) highlighting which projects of the 1997 plan are no longer recommended and which new projects are recommended which were not part of the 1997 plan.  To view the 2003 version click on this link to download (2.7MB)

City of Ottawa Cycling Master Plans (2013, 2010)

This document is part of the Transportation Master Plan which is updated every 5 years.  The Cycling plan provides an overview of the City of Ottawa's strategy to promote greater levels of cycling looking forward over a 20 year time horizon.  It describes measures such as new bike infrastructure, bike parking, integration of cycling with transit, and cycling promotion/education programs.  

Click on this link to access the 2013 Cycling Plan (3.8MB)

Click on this link to access the  2008 Cycling Plan (11.5MB)

Transportation Operating and Capital Costs in Ottawa

City of Ottawa Roads Budget 2010

This document provides a detailed view of road related operating and capital expenditures for the City of Ottawa for 2010.  The important summary slides are on pages 8 (operating) and 40 (capital).  This document may have undergone some minor revisions from the version provided here before incorporation into the final 2010 budget. Click on the link (section title) above to view the document or on this link to download it (3.3MB)

City of Ottawa Transit Budget 2010

This document provides a detailed view of transit related operating and capital expenditures for the City of Ottawa for 2010.  The important summary slides are on pages 6,7 (operating) and 22 (capital).  This document may have undergone some minor revisions from the version provided here before incorporation into the final 2010 budget. Click on the link (section title) above to view the document or on this link to download it (900KB)

An analysis and comparison between the funds being allocated to operating and capital costs of roads vs transit and how this relates to property taxes can be found under this Research link.

OC Transpo Reports, Plans, and Studies

OC Transpo 2011 Business Plan

The document at the above link outlines the 22m$ in operational cost changes to be realized by:
  a) reducing the level of service at peak periods to placement of a bus stop within 5 minutes
      walking distance for  95% of the urban population (from 98.6% today) (ie. 5% of the population will
      have a longer than 5 minute walk to their nearest bus stop)
   b) reducing the level of service at non-peak periods for 95% of the urban population to be
       within 10 minutes walk to a bus stop (from 99.8% today)
   c) introduction of 75 double decker buses for express routes

The document also details the 10 year view of operational costs, capital investments (not including transitway expansions) and the impact to costs of conversion of the transitway to LRT during the 2014-2018 time period.

OC Transpo Downtown Bus Congestion Challenges

This memo presented by City Staff to council describes the reasons why downtown bus congestion is occuring and the short to medium term plans to manage the situation.  These issues have become one of the major driving points for the current east-west LRT plan combined with a downtown tunnel. Click on the link (section title) above to view the document.

OC Transpo Network Evolution to 2018 and Proposed Integration with LRT

This document outlines the ways in which the OC Transpo bus routes are planned to change in order to integrate with the east-west LRT system which is planned for operation in 2018. The core idea is that the system will evolve to a trunk (the LRT) and feeder (bus routes) system complemented with a grid of cross-town bus routes.  

The document estimates the growth in ridership by 2020 and compares the cost of meeting that ridership demand with the current BRT only system vs the LRT system integrated into this proposed trunk and feeder network.  The conclusion is that the new LRT network could carry this 2020 passenger load with a 20% cost savings which is a savings of approximately 100m$/year.  The document then goes on to describe how the network would be managed during the time while the transitway is shut down during construction. Click on the link (section title) above to view the document or on this link to download it (2.1MB)

OC Transpo proposed downtown bus network / volumes after LRT is operational

This document is an initial proposal of how the downtown bus route network will be adapted once the east-west LRT is in operation in 2019.  It was originally written to address concerns expressed by the Rideau Centre that their pedestrian traffic would be negatively impacted by the proposed downtown tunnel routing.  Of particular note is the estimate that the number of buses operating on Albert and Slater streets after the LRT is in operation would be in the order of 1000 per day (vs 3000 per day prior to LRT).  One of the main reasons for the proposed downtown tunnel was to remove buses from Albert and Slater streets.  Is the continuation of 1000 buses per day on these streets acceptable given the $730m investment in a deep tunnel whose purpose was to get buses out of the downtown?

OC Transpo Annual Reports

This document contains a wealth of information about the operations of OC Transpo including ridership, efficiency, levels of cost recovery, bus reliability, etc.  


NCC Studies

East End Interprovincial Crossings (Bridge) Study

The NCC led a comprehensive study between 2008 and 2013 to establish the need for and evaluate the best location of a new interprovincial bridge in the east end of the National Capital Region.  At the culmination of step 1 of the Phase 2B of this study, a corridor known as the Kettle Island corridor was chosen as the technically preferred corridor.  This bridge location uses the Aviation Parkway as it's access on the Ottawa side and Montee Paiement on the Quebec side.  The full set of project documentation including comprehensive transportation studies can be found at The CCC involvement on this file can be found on our interprovincial crossings page.

Interprovincial Transit Study (2013) Existing Conditions

This document forms part of the full set of documents related to the interprovincial transit study undertaken by the NCC between 2009 and 2013.   In this document, data is presented (based on the 2005 Origin-Destination Survey) focusing on interprovincial travel in the National Capital Region.  The data includes graphs of trip volumes as a function of time of day (total trips and transit trips).  At peak hours the transit volumes shown below are about 25% of total passenger movements across the river.  Unfortunately a graph is not provided which separate out northbound vs southbound volumes. However one can get a general sense of that from the graph below by assuming in the AM peak, all the STO passengers (blue line) are SB and the OC Transpo passengers (red line) are northbound and vica versa for the afternoon.  This link will open the Interprovincial Transit Existing Conditions document.

Study on the Cumulative Effect of Transportation Infrastructure on the Greenbelt

This is a joint study between the City of Ottawa and the NCC which analyzes all of the new road and transit projects listed in the 2008 Transportation Master Plan and assesses the cumulative impact of implementing those projects on the Greenbelt by 2031.  

The Greenbelt is segregated into a number of Core Natural Areas (CNAs) as well as the Critical Linkages between those areas.  New or widened projects that impact each of these particular areas  are identified and grouped together and then their cumulative impacts quantified.  These impacts are expressed in terms of hectares of land impacted and the % increase this represents from the current impacted area.  Another example of impact quantification is an analysis in terms of # of vehicles expected to be crossing these areas and the % increase.

The report concludes with some recommendations on what could be done to minimize these anticipate cumulative impacts.

This link provides access to the Summary Report and this link provides access to the full Cumulative Effects on the Greenbelt report (18MB).

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