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Evaluating the Student Commute

Understanding and improving student transit services.


Dr. Khalil El-Khatib, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean, Faculty of Business and Information Technology.

Sitting at the edge of the GTA, traffic to Ontario Tech University is considered against the direction of the major central hub (Downtown Toronto) and as such is often neglected when considering traffic optimization by the municipality and different transit services. The purpose of this report is to assist in understanding the current commute situation for Ontario Tech students and identify possible areas of improvement. 

The system created orients service time for buses around the student’s course load, evaluating their current route option to ensure they arrive to the university on time for their classes. After collecting all this information, the data is then used to run analyses against the entire set of information to determine areas of improvements for transit service provider to better facilitate Ontario Tech students.  

From the initial prototype there were 4 main forms of analysis conducted: initial source statistics, high density commute zones, average commute time, and most popular buses. The following is a sample of the insights gained from all of the analyses:

  • More than 80% of the Ontario Tech student population can be identified as using transit services
  • Within the Durham region there are a few zones, that have high residence number of Ontario Tech students, that can be targeted for improved service
  • There are certain regions within the GTA (East Scarborough) that have high number of Ontario Tech students, yet require the students to spend 3 hours a day commuting to get to and from the university
  • Once the top used buses have been identified, their demand shifts in different intervals need to be communicated to accurately serve the demand from Ontario Tech students
  • Certain buses have a high chance of overcrowding due to peak demands and out of norm hours compared to normal traffic conditions

For more information about this project, please email