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Light Rail System to Ottawa Confirmed

With the ability to run on mixed-use roads as well as the Transitway, a light rail system would have less impact on the urban fabric and would be flexible enough to accommodate the high volume traffic downtown.

By Tim Wieclawski

Published in Metro Ottawa on October 22, 2009

Ever since planning for [the City of Ottawa's] new rapid transit network began, it was assumed it would be a light rail system.

That notion was confirmed yesterday in a report to the city's transit committee that compared light rail and light metro.

Light metro uses bigger trains and requires total segregation from other vehicular traffic like the SkyTrain used in Vancouver.

Light rail trains are smaller and can run on tracks beside roadways, like the CTrain in Calgary.

"I felt that it was very important for us to not kick the tires, but certainly to kick the wheels to make sure that it was the right solution," deputy city manager Nancy Schepers told the committee.

With the ability to run on mixed-use roads as well as the Transitway, a light rail system would have less impact on the urban fabric and would be flexible enough to accommodate the high volume traffic downtown, Schepers said.

The report also concluded the total system cost would be lower for LRT than light metro, based on the extremely high price tag required to segregate light metro.