Thursday, September 11, 2014

Name that line

2018 O-Train system

Update (September 17): At the Transit Commission meeting today, OC Transpo confirmed the line colours on the map will be used in wayfinding signage (via the Ottawa Sun):

The Confederation Line will apply to the east-west LRT currently under construction. It will also be referred to as the 1 Line and have red wayfinding signs.

The Trillium Line will become the existing north-south diesel train service (currently called the O-Train). It will be referred to as the 2 Line and wayfinding signs will be green.

There are only two lines, but an early adoption of a numeric system for public use is a good idea. One, the public may very well refer to the lines by their numeric names for simplicity. And two , when there are more lines in the future, it's a bit of a challenge to number them many years later, which was exactly what the TTC in Toronto did this year, and have the public learn what number is associated with which line. 

OC Transpo is currently using red and green to identify bus routes as regular fare peak-hour and premium fare "express" peak-hour, respectively. To distinguish the modes of transit services from each other, different colours may be needed for the rush-hour bus services. Red and green signs inside rail stations with bus connections are not particularly useful if the rush-hour bus service continues to use the same colour scheme.


OC Transpo's rail system in 2018 will be called "O-Train", according to a report to the Transit Commission. The two rail lines in the network will also have names. The report recommends that the project name "Confederation Line" to also be the name of the east-west line and "Trillium Line" to replace "O-Train" as the name for the existing north-south route. Currently, the "O-Train" name is typically used to identify the type of transit vehicle, rather than the rapid transit line.

The "Confederation Line" name seems to have had the public's support from the very beginning. One has to wonder if this was the name all along and it was floated out before construction started to see how the public would react to it.

Labeling lines with names is supposed to minimize confusion among passengers. Interestingly, the 2018 map of the rail system above shows the "Confederation" station name on the exiting north-south line. Confederation station on the Trillium Line is not a stop to transfer to the Confederation Line, but the stop name implies it does. A different name is needed.

The report states the new name of the north-south line has to be easy to read, pronounce in both English and French, and be clear and unambiguous. After city staff reviewed some candidates for the new name, they decided "Trillium Line" fit the bill. "Trillium Line" will be introduced into the OC Transpo lexicon sometime within the next four years.

In addition to the name identities, the map of the 2018 O-Train system labels the lines by number and colour. The presence of the number names on the map may be a hint that red 1's and green 2's will appear on other customer information such as wayfinding signage at stations, especially at Bayview, the only station where the two lines meet. On the other hand, there are still four years away from the opening of a second line, so the numbering system may turn out to be nothing more than an idea.

4 comments:

Bytowner said...

"Trillium" seems...unsatisfyingly generic. More designed to play to the provincial government than to local preference.

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