Pedestrian Tunnel at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Reduces Traffic Congestion, New Research Study Finds

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Toronto (May 25, 2016) – The new, award-winning pedestrian tunnel that connects Toronto’s mainland to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (Billy Bishop Airport) is having a positive impact on traffic flow in and around the airport, an updated research study conducted by Dillon Consulting on behalf of PortsToronto found. In addition, on average, 40 per cent of travellers observed during the study this past October walked, biked or took transit from the airport – representing a significant number of the 2.5 million passengers (approximately 500,000 of which are connecting passengers) the airport now serves annually, further reducing congestion on surrounding roadways.
Prior to the tunnel opening in July 2015, passengers arrived at and departed from the airport by ferry in large groups every 15 minutes, causing surges in traffic demand at the mainland terminal and along Eireann Quay, the entrance road to the airport. Now, with more than 90 per cent of passengers choosing to take the convenient, six-minute walk through the tunnel, the study completed by Dillon confirmed a notable ease in traffic and passenger flow.
Compared to findings from the last study completed in April 2015, just prior to the pedestrian tunnel’s opening, the fall study indicated as much as a 75 per cent drop in vehicles queued northbound along Eireann Quay leaving the airport. Vehicle queues decreased from an average of 15-18 cars observed during afternoon peak hours, to no more than five vehicles. The study also noted a more even distribution of shuttle ridership, virtually eliminating overcrowded or empty departing shuttle-runs; and more frequent and gradual turnover of taxis, meaning increased availability of taxis for passengers arriving to Toronto.
“PortsToronto’s new pedestrian tunnel to Billy Bishop Airport is a significant and successful component of our strategy to improve both traffic management and customer service at our world-class airport,” said Gene Cabral, Executive Vice President of Billy Bishop Airport and PortsToronto. “The completion of this project, as validated by these survey results, has not only helped mitigate congestion on Eireann Quay and surrounding airport roadways, stemming from the elimination of passenger peaks related to the ferry, but has also provided our passengers with a more seamless travel experience – from arrival gate to curb and beyond.”
The study also indicated that, on average, 10-16 per cent of all traffic in the surrounding area can be attributed to Billy Bishop Airport. Specifically:
  • on Lake Shore Blvd. only 2-4 percent of traffic can be attributed to the airport;
  • on Bathurst Street north of Queen’s Quay 50-60 per cent of the traffic is airport related;
  • in the area to the west, including Stadium Road, 5-8 per cent of  traffic can be attributed to the airport; and,
  • on other routes such as Dan Leckie Way and Queen’s Quay to the east, where airport traffic comprises approximately 15-35 per cent of total traffic.
Over the past four years, in an effort to continually reduce vehicle traffic associated with the airport, PortsToronto has redesigned the airport’s taxi and parking areas, and added bike racks on both the island and mainland side of the airport’s property. In April 2016, Billy Bishop Airport also introduced an enhanced shuttle service with new buses better at navigating the new turning circle. Buses now park directly in front of the airport’s mainland pavilion to encourage passengers to take the shuttle rather than other forms of vehicle transportation. The new buses are also equipped with free WiFi and will have GPS tracking, enabling passengers to confirm when a shuttle bus will arrive and track its progress en route. 
The study conducted by Dillon Consulting was undertaken during airport peak hours and focused on conditions related to traffic volumes, modal splits and taxi occupancy levels for travel to and from the airport. The data gathered will continue to provide background information to measure future conditions related to traffic volumes. To view the full modal split survey, visit  
About Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
With flights to more than 20 destinations in Canada and the United States and connections to 80 locations around the world, Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport provides travellers coming into and out of Canada's largest city with a convenient travel option located less than three kilometres from Toronto’s downtown core. In 2015, the airport served 2.5 million passengers, making it the ninth-busiest airport in Canada and the sixth-busiest Canadian airport serving the United States. Billy Bishop Airport was recently named one of the best airports in North America by both Airport Council International and Skytrax. 
About PortsToronto (
For more than 100 years PortsToronto, (formerly the Toronto Port Authority), has worked with its partners at the federal, provincial and municipal levels to enhance the economic growth of the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area. PortsToronto owns and operates Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which welcomes more than two million passengers each year; the Outer Harbour Marina, one of Canada's largest freshwater marinas; and, Terminals 51 and 52, which provide transportation, distribution, storage and container services to businesses at the Port of Toronto. PortsToronto is committed to fostering strong, healthy and sustainable communities and has invested more than $8 million since 2009 in charitable initiatives and environmental programs that benefit communities along Toronto's waterfront and beyond. PortsToronto operates in accordance with the Canada Marine Act and is guided by a nine-member board with representation from all three levels of government.
About Dillon Consulting (
Dillon Consulting is an employee-owned professional firm specializing in planning, engineering, environmental science and management that partners with clients to provide committed collaborative and inventive solutions to complex, multi-faceted problems.  Proudly Canadian since being founded in 1946 in London, Ontario, we work with clients that require transportation systems that move people in a way that uses our resources efficiently, minimizes the impact on our environment and is adaptable to change. We understand that good planning solutions require an understanding of both human nature and engineering and that it is these complex systems that are the backbone of our cities.
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Media Contact:
Erin Mikaluk, Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations, PortsToronto
Tel: (416) 863-2065; Cell: (647) 298-0544