Union Station is undergoing a large-scale revitalisation made up of construction projects totalling more than $1billion. As the projects are all taking place while normal operation continues at the station, there are many challenges to overcome.
The station acts as the main terminus for the GO regional rail system, a connection to the City of Toronto’s streetcar and subway networks, and a gateway to the PATH system of pedestrian tunnels beneath the Central Business District of Toronto. There are also two major league baseball and ice hockey venues adjacent to the station.
Arup used MassMotion software to predict the success of the proposed changes to the station with regards to efficient pedestrian movements. This started with a calibration exercise to capture an accurate profile of the behaviour of commuters at Union Station and progressed to full scale simulation of the busiest 15 minutes of the morning and evening peaks for a number of future scenarios. These scenarios were based on operational forecasts for all the transit operators as well as physical layouts of the station including design options and construction phasing.
For each scenario a MassMotion model was developed that combined train schedules, passenger volume predictions, a 3D layout for the station, and the pedestrian network for the entire central business district.
Using MassMotion’s predictive simulation engine, these models produced statistical and visual data that enabled the revitalization team to assess the designs and construction options for the station in advance of any work on site. In a number of cases, the MassMotion models identified congestion issues or opportunities for improved staging which were incorporated into the final plans.
The visual outputs of MassMotion became a focus point for all stakeholders and greatly improved the decision making process of the large group of planners, operators and owners. By using MassMotion, we were able to provide insights that were instrumental in finding design solutions that all parties felt confident about.