Economic Analysis of Grade Separations – Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside and UTSC
A robust comparison of benefits and costs was undertaken for grade separation options at Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside (KLM) and University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC). For a copy of the full Economic Analysis of Potential Grade Separations Memo, please email us or call us at 416-338-2848.
The Eglinton East LRT (EELRT) is planned as an easterly extension of the Eglinton Crosstown and is based on the 2009-approved Scarborough-Malvern LRT concept. As part of the work to update the concept, grade separations are being considered in the areas of Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside (KLM) and the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC).
The 2009-approved Scarborough LRT concept set out a street-level configuration with a 60% reduction in traffic capacity at the intersection of Kingston Road and Morningside Avenue. Grade-separated concepts are being considered to address LRT and traffic operations.
Since the SMLRT concept was approved in 2009, UTSC has developed a UTSC campus master plan that envisions the re-alignment of the planned LRT and Military Trail. Grade separated concepts together with LRT circulation in the UTSC area are being considered to address complex intersection operations at Ellesmere and Military Trail, a new bus rapid transit route planned to serve UTSC, and the vision of a high-quality public realm at Ellesmere and Military Trail – the ‘heart’ of the campus master plan vision.
Grade separations typically incur higher capital costs. The grade separation concepts are being evaluated through the Rapid Transit Evaluation Framework that includes consideration of affordability. To support the evaluation of affordability, an economic analysis comparing monetized benefits and costs over a 60-year lifecycle has been undertaken to assist in the evaluation of grade separated options at Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside, and at UTSC.
Benefit Cost Analysis
The benefit cost analysis (BCA) is one tool used to assess benefits of potential KLM and UTSC grade separations. This analysis compares the monetized benefits to costs to assess affordability. Net base costs represent the incremental costs over and above costs that would be incurred to implement the at-grade (on street) LRT. The net costs include capital construction costs, as well as annual operations and maintenance costs over a 60-year lifecycle.
The benefits considered in this economic analysis in the travel time savings experienced by all road users (all occupants in cars, trucks, buses, LRT, and pedestrians) in the catchment area over a 60-year period. Travel time was monetized in order to compare with the net base costs. The catchment area is bounded by Markham Road and Port Union Road on the east and west, and CP rail corridor and Lake Ontario on the north and south (Figure 1).
Option Development: Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside
The concepts that were evaluated for the Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside area compare a LRT at-grade concept (Surface 1) and a LRT in portal concept, (Tunnel 1).
- Surface 1 concept: An at-grade LRT on Kingston Road with one stop of 100 meters.
- Tunnel 1 concept: A tunneled LRT on Kingston Road with one stop of 100 meters.
Refer to Kingston-Lawrence-Morningside for more information on the concepts and options that were considered.
Option Development: University of Toronto Scarborough Campus
- Two potential grade separation concepts were evaluated. Concepts that were evaluated include tunneling the LRT under Military Trail (Option 3) and an elevated LRT concept on Morningside Avenue (Option 5). These were compared with the LRT at-grade “Enhanced Base” concept (Option 1).
Refer to University of Toronto Scarborough Campus (UTSC) for more information on the concepts and options that were considered.
The methodology for the economic analysis of potential grade separations for the Eglinton East LRT is consistent with analysis undertaken to evaluate potential grade separations for the Eglinton West LRT.
Considerations in the analysis included:
- Capital cost estimates
- Operation and maintenance cost estimates over a 60-year life cycle
- Travel time savings for car, truck, bus, LRT, pedestrian, based on transportation modelling
The economic analysis takes the at-grade (i.e. street-level) LRT as base comparator. The incremental costs and benefits of grade separated concepts are compared with a modified at-grade base. To evaluate this, the net costs of the grade separation concepts are compared with the net benefits. The net benefit is considered the travel time savings between the at-grade option and the grade separation option. The net benefit is based on the difference in travel time (in seconds) for all users of the roadway for each option.Benefits were monetized to produce a dollar value. This monetization process included projecting estimated total person travel time savings over the expected lifecycle of the grade separation (60 years), and converting that estimated benefit into a dollar value.
The traffic model provides total travel time for 5 modes (car, truck, bus, LRT and pedestrian), total vehicles, and occupancy factor per mode. Using these variables a total person travel time savings is obtained for the weekday peak hour period in the model year (2041). The total person travel time savings is then projected over the 60 year period by using a peak hour to day factor, and working days per year rate. The net benefits over the 60-year lifecycle of the grade separation were then converted to a dollar value in order to directly compare with cost.
The results of the economic analyses are presented in the table below. The net costs and benefits are reflected in net present values to provide a better comparison of costs and benefits over the 60-year lifecycle. Findings are shown as ranges of costs and benefits, reflecting the inherent uncertainty in the modelling of future scenarios. The benefits monetized in this work account for travel time savings for all network users associated with grade separating the LRT at specific intersections.
The below-grade concept was found to provide net benefits that exceeded costs for the 60-year lifecycle of the asset. The cost of the grade separation ranged from $207–$387 million (2018 $), which was lower than the net benefits of the option, which ranged between $408 and $444 million (2018 $) (Figure 2).
Findings: University of Toronto Scarborough Campus LRT integration
Tunneling the LRT through campus under Military Trail provides net benefits for less than costs. Figure 3 illustrates that the UTSC campus tunnel concept costs ($417–$778 million, 2018 $) exceeded benefits ($148–$171 million, 2018 $). The UTSC Morningside elevated concept was found to provide net benefits that exceeds costs for 60-year lifecycle of the asset. The net benefits ranged between $214–$249 million (2018 $), whereas the net costs are only $80–$150 million above the estimated base case capital and operating costs (Figure 4).
There are a number of potential benefits and disbenefits not captured in this analysis due to the limitations in modeling resolution, and data inputs. Elements not captured include:
- Change in frequency or severity of collisions
- Vehicle operating costs
- GHG emission changes
- Increase in value of time
Experience has shown that the above considerations typically add an increment of 10–15% of the net benefits. As the difference between net benefits and cost ranges exceed a 10–15% increment, the exclusion of these components may not be material to this assessment.
For more information
A copy of the technical report on the economic analysis of potential grade separations can be provided upon request. Please email us or call us at 416-338-2848.