March 1, 2017

This Fact Sheet provides information with respect to the Scarborough Subway Extension ridership numbers discussed in the staff report, “Next Steps on the Scarborough Subway Extension“, which is being considered by Executive Committee at its meeting of March 7, 2017. A Backgrounder, which provides highlights of this staff report, is also available.


How the travel demand model works

The model determines how someone will travel based on how attractive auto, transit and other modes are relative to one another. The model puts people on transit lines based on the relative attractiveness of the lines for their trips.


  • Net new riders – The increase in the total number of people taking transit in one scenario versus a base case scenario.  This is a measure of transit ridership across the entire network.
  • Peak point ridership – The maximum number of people at any point of a particular line within an hour.
  • Total line ridership – The total number of people using a particular line over the course of a day.


A transit network approach

 The transit system is a network of many individual lines. Each new line contributes to the value of the network as a whole. It provides users with new opportunities to go places and choices of how to get there. This increased attractiveness of the network causes more people to use transit.


Although new lines attract people to the transit system, they also attract existing transit users from other lines. This is why net new riders is typically lower than overall line ridership.


Business case approach


Previous work for the Scarborough Subway Extension included an earlier SmartTrack concept. Council decided in July to remove the station at Ellesmere from SmartTrack.  Removing the Ellesmere station reduces travel time for passengers travelling through the area. This increases the attractiveness of the transit network that includes SmartTrack for new riders.


The approach taken in the business cases treats SmartTrack as being added to the network prior to the Scarborough Subway Extension (i.e. it is treated as part of the base case scenario). The updated business case does not include the Ellesmere station. This makes the transit network in the updated business case more attractive to riders.


The business case approach then adds the Scarborough Subway Extension to the network. This represents a further improvement to the transit network. It attracts new transit users to the system, but also draws existing users from other lines. This includes some riders who only started using transit as a result of the improvement to the SmartTrack concept.


The Scarborough Subway Extension attracts an additional 2,300 net new riders on top of the number attracted by the improved SmartTrack concept.


Despite the lower number of net new riders, the ridership on the Scarborough Subway Extension is approximately the same in the initial business case and this update. This reflects that the line is still an attractive option for the people of Scarborough. It is projected to attract 7400 peak point peak direction passengers per hour and 30,800 daily boardings at Scarborough Centre. (In the previous business case, these numbers were 7300 peak point peak direction passengers per hour and 31,000 daily boardings at Scarborough Centre).


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Media contact: Wynna Brown, Strategic Communications, 416-392-8937,