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Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel (DOTT) Planning and Environmental Assessment (EA) Study: Strengthening Transit and Land Use Integration in the National Capital


The Downtown Ottawa Transit Tunnel (DOTT) Planning and Environmental Assessment (EA) study was conducted by Delcan Corporation for the City of Ottawa. This Light Rail Transit (LRT) project includes thirteen stations along a 12.5 km alignment, with a 3.2 km tunnel beneath the downtown core. The project is now into the preliminary engineering phase, with revenue operation beginning in 2018. The current capital cost estimate for the project is $2.1 billion. In 2008, the City of Ottawa approved an update to its Transportation Master Plan (TMP), a key City document supporting the City’s growth management strategy and Official Plan. The cornerstone and first phase of the TMP is the DOTT project, which will see construction of a transit tunnel beneath the downtown core and the conversion of a portion of the existing Bus Rapid Transit network (The Transitway) to electric LRT. The result will be an increase in the speed and reliability of rapid transit, thereby encouraging additional ridership, reducing reliance on private automobile use, and creating opportunities for integration of redevelopment/intensification opportunities at station locations. From a land use integration perspective, the DOTT project represents a unique opportunity to strengthen the land use/transit relationship in our nation’s capital. While the majority of the length of the alignment represents a conversion from one transit technology to another, implementation of LRT presented an opportunity to re-consider the location and configuration of existing stations to provide for better integration with existing and future development. The downtown transit tunnel provides a major opportunity for a new rapid transit alignment connecting major destinations, integrating into the existing at-grade pedestrian, cycling and transit systems. The study addressed alternative alignments, station locations and designs. Planning objectives and design criteria were established in collaboration with government agencies, business interests and the public to guide the development, design and evaluation of alternatives. Key considerations in assessing alternative alignments, station locations and designs included integration with existing and potential high density employment, residential and institutional land uses. The DOTT project will enhance the character, identity and vibrancy of Ottawa’s downtown core, and is the centerpiece of a future LRT network that will span the urbanized areas of the City. Similar approaches to transit station and land use integration are being undertaken as part of the Planning and Environmental Assessment Study for the next phase of Ottawa’s LRT network. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
B. Paul Croft
Active transportation, Environmental issues, Environmental legislation, Mobility management