“Cost Benefits Analysis Needed for Different O-Train Options” Ottawa based economist Neil Saravanamuttoo

Clinton Desveaux
5 min readJun 21, 2022


With Ottawans excited about Bank Street O-Train, discussion of inner core vs expanding O-Train to Stittsville in the west and Cumberland in the east has many asking questions.

Ottawa based economist Neil Saravanamuttoo

Ottawa based economist Neil Saravanamuttoo asks why “we are not reconsidering where Phase 3 & 4 of O-Train should go given the seismic shifts that have occurred the last few years around COVID19?” Neil is worried the city is focused on a business case from a decade ago, and “a cost benefits analysis needed for different O-Train options can tell us what makes sense to move forward on.”

“There is a solid probability that much of downtown office space will be converted to residential condos & apartments in the future, given the emerging trends related to working from home. If we look at where the people, businesses, and attractions are, there is a significant North/South corridor along Bank Street that is being underserved by public transit.”

When asked his thought why Bank Street O-Train has over 50% support in some recent polls compared to other popular options, Neil responds “I’m not surprised at all that Bank Street would come forward as the most popular option, it’s where the people are; its where the people want to be.”

“If intensification is happening primarily in the core, then should our next LRT investment be there as opposed to deeper into the suburbs?”

When asked to further expand on the issues related to urban sprawl he responds “if we are widening the Queensway further west as the provincial government is proposing, does it make sense that the next phase of LRT should go there too? Or should we be looking at areas where intensification is happening but public transit is lacking - such as the corridors along Bank Street or Carling Avenue?”

Map by Antoine Sauvé

When asked about the network effect, Saravanamuttoo points out “investing in proper Bank Street infrastructure can have a big impact on the viability of Confederation Line 1 and well as any future linkages to the Ottawa Gatineau Rail Loop and the rail network in general.”

Neil Saravanamuttoo also believes “the success of any efforts to revitalize Lansdowne will be dependent upon creating new sustainable transportation links to the site” and the “experience of Lansdowne redevelopment is that the site is not financially viable if people have few good options to get there other than by car.”

Lansdowne 2.0

“When deciding upon the next phase of LRT are we factoring in all of the changes that are happening in the city, work from home, a proposed highway widening, and where intensification is actually taking place. And couldn’t the City provide a better understanding of the costs and benefits of different options?”

“If we want people to use LRT it needs to go where people, businesses, and attractions are; and a lot of that growth is happening along the Bank Street corridor.”

Bank Street O-Train Video

Should Bank Street O-Train be a tunnel, a grade separated surface line, a tram? Municipal elections in the fall could be a catalyst of change for Ottawa O-Train planning for decades to come. The Ottawa-Gatineau population has surpassed 1.4 million people, and is on track to reach 1.6 million by 2032. It’s clear Neil and people like him will be asking questions about the city core and what the plan is for the next decade?

For more stories on Bank Street O-Train see links below:

Clinton P. Desveaux is an accredited writer & contributor for Troy Media, Medium, The Hill Times, Centretown Buzz, and is a contributor to the City News Radio Network



Clinton Desveaux

Left Handed Guitar, Photographer and Talk Jock - also known to ski wherever a hill or mountain can be found