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In Transit


Transportation is a building block of strong, integrated communities. With a global vision and deep local knowledge, our experts play a key role in the strategic planning and design of sustainable transit systems across Canada.


A reflection on the seamless transit network at 2015 Pan Am and ParaPan Am Games

September 08, 2015

As the host city for the Pan Am (July 10-26) and ParaPan Am (August 7-15) Games, Toronto faced unprecedented challenges in welcoming 7,600 athletes and over a million spectators from around the world to its 30 venues. The Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO), responsible for transport infrastructure and relevant regulations in Ontario, organized and coordinated the overall transportation strategy for the Games, helping 15 transit agencies involved in the event to step up their game.


For example, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC, Toronto’s public transport agency that operates transit bus, streetcar, paratransit, and rapid transit services in Toronto) made forward-thinking changes for the Games. The TTC understood that the Games were an important marker of their brand reputation and has gone to great lengths to ensure that the system performed more than adequately.

There is an army of 1,700 TTC volunteer workers divided amongst the 23 designated TTC Games transportation hubs in blue smocks and caps. Understanding crowds and station operations proved to be two most important factors in ensuring seamless Pan Am traffic, as stated by the TTC Deputy CEO. The TTC has also added several bus routes to cover the seven venues in its service area, as well as providing subway services extra early at 6 a.m. on July 19 and 26 in order to accommodate heavier passenger counts during the opening and closing of the Games. The TTC has also introduced a smartphone friendly digital platform to allow customers to purchase passes using their credit card.

Metrolinx (the crown agency that manages and integrates road transport and public transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area) has also made effective changes to benefit visitors to the Games. Like the TTC, Metrolinx has employed 200 extra personnel to help the public with way-finding on public transit. They’ve also added extra GO Transit (a division of Metrolinx) trips to the Hamilton venue, along with shuttle buses to transport spectators from the GO station to the venue. In addition to 14 other participating public transit and specialized transit systems, Metrolinx has offered free public transit for Pan Am and ParaPan Am Games ticket holders.  

Beyond public and government agencies, the Games have also implemented numerous initiatives to help guide passengers through the transit network in the GTA. The Games Transit Network graphic (shown below) was created by MTO to help guide visitors to venues via multiple transportation options. Meaningful efforts by agencies and smart transportation planning have ensured a smooth flow of passenger traffic throughout the games, contributing to Toronto’s success as the host city.    


From Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008, the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, and the 2012 London Games, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has been involved in numerous Olympics and world tournaments, working on elements such as recreational facilities and transport. In 2010, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff assisted Transport for London—with the objective of transporting athletes to their event as efficiently as possible—in the design, build and operation of the Olympic and Paralympic Route Networks (ORN/PRN). Commute times on the ORN were 30 percent quicker, and system disruption across London was down 20 percent. Similarly, successful operation of the PRN secured a journey time reliability of 97.8 percent. As a result, the ORN/PRN won the prestigious ‘Most Outstanding Contribution to London’ Award at the ICE London Civil Engineering Award in 2013.

By Ivana Velickovic




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