Transit lessons unlearned – Lesson #1


In the very early 1980’s, the Ontario Conservative Party (the William Davis Government) tried to force the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to build with the new Intermediate Capacity Transit System or ICTS, now known as SkyTrain; produced by the Urban Transit Development Corporation (UTDC) an Ontario crown corporation. The TTC commissioned a comprehensive study comparing streetcars/LRT and metro with ICTS. The results were not encouraging to those wishing to sell ICTS and even gave the City of Hamilton enough ammunition to reject, provincial government lead, construction of ICTS in the city. The major TTC transit study, the Accelerated Rapid Transit Study or ‘ARTS’ found that:

“ICTS costs anything up to ten times as much as a conventional light-rail line to install, for about the same capacity; or put another way, ICTS costs more than a heavy-rail subway, with four times its capacity.”

ICTS was dead in the water as a product, so UTDC did what every other manufacturer does when faced with this dilemma, they changed the name from ICTS to ALRT or Advanced Light Rail Transit and sold the unsellable ICTS to some political rubes out West, namely Bill Bennett and Grace McCarthy, the leader and deputy leader of the British Columbia Social Credit  party and the rest, as they say, is history.


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