In Waterloo, Canada, express bus service equipped with ITS technologies results in 3,650 tons annual decrease in green house gas emissions.

Experience with transit signal priority, automatic vehicle location, and traveller information systems in prompting a mode change.

December 2009
Region of Waterloo,Canada

Summary Information

In 2003, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo developed iXpress transit service for the Region's central transit corridor. The purpose was to shift modal share from single-occupant motor vehicle use to transit use, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, enhancing safety, and reducing operating costs. The 37-kilometer route runs from north Waterloo to south Cambridge and connects four major shopping centers, three downtowns, two universities, many office complexes, and a regional hospital. The route's 13 stations are spaced much farther apart than those on conventional routes in order to reduce delays and increase speed.

The Region designed and implemented several ITS technologies on the iXpress buses, including:
  • Transit signal priority at 17 signalized intersections along the iXpress route.
  • Automated vehicle location system.
  • Automatic passenger counting system.
  • Traveller Information system using a web-based trip planning system, with automated telephone and text-message capability, as well as automated electronic signs at iXpress stations and transit terminals and automated visual and audible announcements onboard iXpress buses.
The net impact of the change in traveler behavior in terms of the generation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions was quantified by determining the GHG emissions produced per passenger-kilometer for the iXpress service and comparing it to the GHG emissions produced by auto users. Using iXpress average passenger trip length and weekday ridership data from 2008, fuel consumption data, and Ontario personal vehicle fleet data, the modes were compared on a passenger-kilometer basis.

  • The results show that the iXpress service produces only one third of the GHG emissions produced by passenger cars. This difference represents an annual GHG savings of approximately 3,650 tons, a substantial reduction in the carbon footprint associated with mobility.
  • Unlike the use of passenger cars, the per-passenger carbon footprint of transit service typically declines with increased use.
  • It is expected that as a result of continued increased iXpress ridership, the GHG emission rate for the weekday iXpress service will decline by approximately 20 percent during 2009.

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iXpress: Central Transit Corridor Express Project Urban Transportation Showcase Program Final Report

Published By: Regional Municipality of Waterloo

Source Date: December 2009



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Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas


bus priority, traffic signals, TSP, automated vehicle location, computer aided dispatch, automatic vehicle locator, AVL, CAD, AVL/CAD

Benefit ID: 2013-00858