Friday, January 17, 2014

We’re en route to the transit service of tomorrow

Posted by Chris Blaschuk

Getting a report card is always a little scary, even as an adult. This week I was reminded what that feels like because City staff got our first report card on the progress we are making towards the 60-year goals of the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan.

We looked at 14 indicators that include everything from how we are using land to how we are using energy. While it is still too early to really see the results of the Municipal Development Plan and Calgary Transportation Plan (they were only passed in 2009 and long-term development patterns take years to change), there were two indicators that have me very excited because it looks like we are well on our way to meeting our two major transit targets.

Calgarians told us that they wanted more transit service. Because of this, one of the targets in the Calgary Transportation Plan is to make sure that we increase the number of transit service hours at a faster rate than the population is growing, so that overall service continually gets better. We have managed to do this so far and are on track to meet our service level targets for 2020 and beyond.

A second major focus of both the Calgary Transportation Plan and Municipal Development Plan is to increase the number of people living within walking distance of the Primary Transit Network, which are the major transit routes across the city where frequent and rapid transit options are or will be available. The City’s goal is to have 67 per cent of Calgarians living within 400 metres of this network, and our report shows that Calgary is already over halfway there.

But unfortunately not all the transportation news was good. One of our major goals is to reduce the use of cars by 17 per cent over the next 60 years but, since 2005, car use has actually increased by two per cent. Some of this is simply a result of the number of people moving into new communities where cars are still the only way to get around, but hopefully we can reverse this trend in the future by providing Calgarians with a better variety of good transportation options.

As a member of the Transportation department, I think this week’s report shows that we are making good progress toward the vision that Calgarians gave us through PlanIt Calgary, but there is still a lot of work to do. I know I’m excited to continue working toward these goals so that our next report card can be even better!

 Chris Blaschuk is the Manager of Transportation Strategy with The City of Calgary’s Transportation department. He has worked for The City for 10 years and is he passionate about building a quality city that citizens can easily get around.


  1. Interesting article Chris. What metric are we talking about in terms of " hours of operation" is this opening hours and closing hours? hours of certain bus routes and trains? frequency?

  2. Busses too full people cannot get on. Lack of CTrain service to North Central Calgary. Lack of busses being added that get you where you want to go without multiple transfers. Charges for parking. Too small parking lots at LRT stations. These are the many reasons people and driving is on the increase. BEFORE communities are built, bussing should be planned and if needed costs allocated to the developer of the new communities. Express Buses not available after 8:30 Am to downtown core, does not help people with their commute. Rides home after 5PM not being available on Express busses as well creates issues. Core hours need to go until 9:30 Am, and continue after work until 7PM for express busses. When these issues are fixed then you will start to see more people use transit, but right now, is very difficult to use and have it meet our needs. Where I live (Hidden Valley), no progress has been made, and our community is now 17 years old. When is change going to come? Bussing has been an issue from the start and continues to be something that does not work for me coming downtown. Did not work for my kids getting to school either as busses are often too crowded and they cannot get on and they had to often wait 1 hour for a connection to get back home. It is these things that cause people to drive. CTrain services is awesome, but does not serve our community. I currently drive to the train to get downtown and park, but there is never enough always a battle. I wish I did not have to park and drive, but service to my community is and has never been acceptable for my work schedule.