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Traffic studies in downtown Ottawa

For each scenario, the anticipated change in traffic flows throughout downtown Ottawa were reviewed. Traffic models for roadway segments and at several key intersections were analyzed in order to assess the impacts.

It is important to note that these studies are currently in progress.

“Status quo” - 2031 Conditions

It is projected that there will be a significant increase in total transportation demand in the study area  by the year 2031.It represents future conditions without the implementation of a tram serving western Gatineau.

This scenario includes the addition of a two-way bike facility on Wellington Street and takes into account the redistribution of traffic that the implementation of this facility would generate.

In general, the expected increase in the demand for transportation will mean that traffic conditions will deteriorate on the corridors that are currently used, in particular Booth Street, the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway, the Portage Bridge, Wellington Street and Queen Street. This means a significant increase in traffic on all downtown corridors as compared to today with the exception of Wellington Street, which is at full capacity already. Wellington Street, Queen Street, as well as Laurier Avenue, would be saturated during peak periods.

Scenario 1: Surface Integration of the Tram on Wellington Street - With Traffic

The addition of a tram in Gatineau would attract more users to public transit, which would reduce the number of cars on the road by 20% compared to the 2031 “status quo” conditions. This would improve traffic conditions compared to the status quo at several intersections. 

This scenario would:

  • reduce the pressure on several corridors in the downtown;
  • compensate for the impact of reducing the number of traffic lanes on Wellington Street.

The traffic studies indicate that traffic will shift to other corridors, mainly Queen Street, Albert Street and Slater Street, but the impact would not be significant.

Scenario 2: Surface Integration on Wellington Street- Without Traffic

Like the previous scenario, this one entails total transportation demand of nearly 20% less than under the 2031 status quo scenario, associated with the introduction of Gatineau's tram.

Scenario 2 entails a slightly more significant impact on certain corridors in downtown Ottawa (such as Bank Street and Queen Street) due to the closure to vehicular traffic of the section  of Wellington Street between Bank Street and Elgin Street. This would result in many more vehicles on those corridors, but the traffic conditions under this scenario would still be better than under the 2031 status quo.

In general, vehicles on Wellington Street do not generally go from one end to the other. A great many cars turn off of it, specifically onto Lyon Street.

Traffic studies demonstrate that the vehicle flow shift to corridors to the south would have a moderate impact, but traffic conditions would still be better over the long term than without a tram. If this scenario is selected, mitigation measures will need to be developed fully to reduce the impact on traffic as much as possible.

Scenario 3: Tunnel Integration Under Sparks Street

This scenario entails the introduction of a tram, and would also attract more users to public transit, and would therefore reduce the number of vehicles in downtown Ottawa. Given that the tram would run underground, it would not disrupt traffic. Also during construction, there would be less disruption to traffic and transit operations than for the construction of either of the Wellington options.


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