Light Rail FAQ

What kind of system is planned?

Waterloo Region is planning to build a rapid transit system along the Central Transit Corridor between Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge. In the first phase, the system would be a Light Rail line, starting from Conestoga Mall in the north, travelling though the UW Research & Technology Park and the University of Waterloo campus, down through Uptown Waterloo and Downtown Kitchener, and end at Fairview Park Mall. From Fairview Park Mall to the Ainslie Street Terminal in Cambridge, an adapted bus rapid transit system would be built, with the intention of converting to Light Rail after gaining sufficient ridership. Further information is available on the Region of Waterloo rapid transit web site.

What is Light Rail?

Light Rail transit is a form of urban transportation that operates using electric rail vehicles on a dedicated right-of-way, usually at street level. Light Rail is faster than buses and streetcars because it does not operate in mixed traffic and is not affected by traffic congestion. Light Rail vehicles are large and spacious, and able to carry as many passengers as several buses. Modern vehicles are attractive, fully accessible, and extremely quiet.

Why Light Rail?

Please see the Why Light Rail? section for reasons why Light Rail was chosen as our rapid transit system.

Have residents been consulted about the plan?

Since the start of the environmental assessment in 2005, the Region has held 30 public meetings with over 4,000 attendees, where they received over 1000 comment sheets. There have been 63 additional public outreach events at community stakeholder meetings, public events, presentations to groups, and educational displays. A flyer regarding the Light Rail plan has been mailed more than 250,000 residents and businesses.

Most recently in May 2009, the Region launched a new and comprehensive website regarding the rapid transit proposal. This site includes details of the plan, all reports from the Environmental Assessment, and features a forum for members of the Region to get involved.

In addition to the extensive action to inform residents, Regional staff have also visited every business along the corridor.

How will this benefit people who don’t take transit?

A major target set out in the environmental assessment was to offer a choice of transportation options. Light Rail gives people the option of a convenient and comfortable transportation method, which helps to reduce the number of vehicles on the road. This will help to reduce current congestion and prevent it in the future. Those who still plan to drive will face fewer vehicles in their way than if a rapid transit system was not built. 300 people in a Light Rail vehicle is 300 fewer cars on the road.

In addition to reduced traffic congestion, Light Rail has been proven to improve land values and the success of businesses along the route. This means a strong and vibrant economy focused in the city cores.

What will happen to the current bus system?

Regional Planners and the University of Waterloo are working together to design a realigned bus system to work with the Light Rail system and improve transit across the Region. This system will feature a mix of express buses (similar to the iXpress) and improved local bus service that would connect with Light Rail stations. Local bus service will still operate in parallel with the Light Rail route.

Where exactly will the Light Rail run?

Check out the map of the Preferred Rapid Transit System with Staging Plan.

What will be the frequency of the Light Rail service?

The projected headway between trains is 7.5 minutes at the start of operations.

How can I participate in the process?

If you would like to help out with TriTAG, please see our participation page.

To get involved in the Region’s public consultation, check out the Region of Waterloo rapid transit page.


Please see our list of common objections and misconceptions about Light Rail.

Additional Questions

Feel free to contact us or check out the Region of Waterloo rapid transit FAQ.