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Translink Buzzer Blog

The Frequent Transit Network map

Quick and reliable transit service revealed on a map!

The term “Frequent Transit Network” or “FTN” has been mentioned a few times on the blog. As explained on the TransLink website, the FTN “… is a network of corridors where transit service runs at least every 15 minutes in both directions throughout the day and into the evening, every day of the week.”

Besides the convenience of knowing that transit will be there every 15 minutes, the FTN makes public transit easier for these corridors since planning your trip is as simple as showing up at your stop (provided a maximum of 15 minutes is not too long of a wait for what you want to do). TransLink has just release a map of the TransLink FTN. The Human Transit blog (written by author and transit planner extraordinaire Jarrett Walker) has also recently posted about our FTN map. For more info on the map, you can check out the dedicated FTN page on the TransLink website, which speaks to the benefits the network’s benefits to not only users but for municipalities and developers.

Showing is always better than just telling, so please download the map, and let us know what you think!


  • By JKKT - Kyle, April 3, 2012 @ 5:52 pm

    All I can say is: Yay!

  • By Reena, April 4, 2012 @ 10:11 am

    Lovely. But, you can really see the holes in the outer suburbs, eh?

  • By Sheba, April 4, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

    You mean everywhere that isn’t Vancouver…

  • By Kelly, April 5, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

    I disagree. Bus #7 – Dunbar/Nanaimo Station & #16 29th Avenue Station/Arbutus. On late evenings, some sunday & stat. holidays, buses run every 20 minutes. Bus #22 runs every 15 mns. on late evenings.
    Never mind Surrey, as they need to improve their system, but the greater vancouver in general. Meaning the whole bus system needs to improve their FTN.
    Bus #32 – Dunbar/Downtown should serve late night hours till 9:00 pm, instead of the last peak bus which leaves approx. 6:20 pm.
    Any busy routes needed to be checked & rechecked at various bus stop locations until it gets less and less busy.

  • By mike0123, April 6, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

    This map illustrates well that the bus system in Burnaby and New Westminster is not designed to provide reliable, frequent transit. The route network is designed for coverage, one-seat rides, and for routes to end at a few common hubs, objectives that are at odds with the provision of a frequent transit network. For the FTN to grow in Burnaby and New Westminster, the route network must be redesigned so that bus routes follow from the irregular grid of arterials.

    Instead of routes following the grid, buses meander slowly across the city. Instead of optimizing to a frequent grid of routes spaced roughly 800 m apart, as in Vancouver, New Westminster has an infrequent mess of routes spaced roughly 400 m apart. Instead of forming a well-spaced grid of frequent north-south bus routes connecting to the east-west Skytrain in North Burnaby, those routes are made infrequent and service-hours are wasted on indirect, infrequent, slow east-west bus routes in North Burnaby that do not markedly expand the system’s coverage and are not well integrated with Skytrain. Instead of sticking to arterials, routes like the 28 veer off on lengthy, slow detours. Then there are routes like the 106.

    There’s so much room for improvement, but it won’t happen until there’s a change in the objectives towards the creation of a frequent transit network. The real value of this type of map is that it helps people, especially planners and engineers, to see what changes in the route network or service allocation will add routes to the frequent network.

  • By Robert, April 10, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    Looks like route 240 will drop off this map as of April 23rd.

  • By JKKT - Kyle, April 10, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

    Here are a list of Routes and streets that are just missed completely:
    -#337 (C74)
    -SW marine (#49 + 41)
    -Mt Seymour Pkwy between deepcove and plymouth (#C15 + 211).
    -72ave to 116 st (#312 +316)
    -6th ave after 5th street (#154 +155)

    Worth Considering:
    -152 street (#345 +375)
    -# 26, 27, 28
    -200 st (#595 + 501)

    My Comments:
    Some routes (211 + C15) Connect 2 major hubs (Phibbs + D.Cove) with 15 minute frequencies, but travel different routes. It’s worth connecting those 2 places with a dotted line at least.

    The map doesn’t go far enough to distinguish the frequent routes with the very frequent routes (What I call the VFTN-Very Frequent Transit Network.) Routes like the #20, 41, 3, give headways of >8 mins all day, and should be written with a thicker line.

    Routes like the 340 with 20 minutes should be written with a thinner line.

    The thin/thick lines would look something like P.6 of this:

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, April 11, 2012 @ 9:46 am

    Hi everyone. These are all great questions. I’ve forwarded them to our planning department to get some answers. It’s good to note that the FTN is something TransLink has looked into expanding more outside of Vancouver. However, at the moment, system expansion is something that is being looked at in the wake of funding challenges.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, April 11, 2012 @ 10:10 am

    Mike0123: I have a response to your comment from our planning department:

    The FTN map identifies current services that meet FTN thresholds (identified as 15-minute or better service, 7 days a week).

    TransLink planners will monitor opportunities to enhance the FTN by increasing frequency of existing routes or restructuring to consolidate services on key corridors as conditions change.

    Significant service restructurings are typically considered as part of an Area Transit Plan. Development of these plans includes detailed analysis of travel patterns and route performance, coordination with municipal land use planning and extensive consultation. The most recent plan we’re wrapping up is an area plan for the North Shore.

    We look forward to updating future area plans for various sub-regions as ways to enhance our service and grow the network in tandem with land use changes.

  • By Robert Willis - Buzzer Editor, April 11, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    and JKKT:

    We really appreciate your detailed analysis of the service network!

    For the majority of the routes you proposed for the FTN, they don’t meet the definition of 15-minute service or better, 7 days for the full length of the corridor. Some segments of the route may, but not as a whole. Good catch on the C8, though. We’ll add that to the next map update and think about the graphics.

  • By Kelly, April 11, 2012 @ 10:50 am

    Bus #c19 should run monday to friday during the summer times from May – September when the beach is open for swimming & other activities. Bus #n22 should extended after 3:30 pm. & continue the MacDonald/Dunbar route instead of finishing Dunbar Loop. It should end @ 4th Ave. and MacDonald.

  • By RIEG, April 12, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

    This is wonderful! I was actually going to make one for myself after reading Jarrett Walker’s Human Transit blog, now Translink is on top of it.

  • By Steven, April 14, 2012 @ 7:27 am

    On a mac the file downloads as a ashx file rather than a pdf, users need to change the file extension for it to be viewable via Preview or Adobe Acrobat. It would be useful if Translink could address this as this happens on downloads across the site.

  • By McDougell, April 17, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    Hey Translink. People are fare evading because many travel just 1 station (i.e from Columbia station to Scott road), a whopping 1 station, but somehow Translink thinks they should pay a 2 zone ticket. They fare evade by only purchasing a 1 zone ticket. How/why does more to travel 1 station as it does to ride the skytrain all the way to Waterfront? WTF?????!!!!!!!!!!! Time to join the rest of the developed world!

  • By Kiyoshi, April 29, 2012 @ 1:26 am

    Do you know if this trip is possible to make on the SouthWest POINT sevrice? Is a trip allowed between these stop pairs, in what is a local sevrice area? Trillium publishes the SouthWest Point GTFS, but since you’re in the area you may know more about the sevrice than I do.If the trip is possible to make, then there’s not much to do besides suggest Google change the transit trip planning algorithm so that the Best route and/or Fewest transfers preferences would return trips that involve more walking and less transit travel time. Another option is to request that Google Maps offers an option to select lowest fare. Currently, however, transit sevrices are so limited in the United States that most customers are more interested in knowing what trips are possible rather than comparison shopping for fares.If this trip is not allowed on the SouthWest POINT sevrice, then we need a way of expressing that in the GTFS. This thread on the transit-developers list concerns that very issue, and may be interesting to you:Tell me what you know about the SouthWest POINT sevrice and what’s allowed in terms of local travel. If you don’t have an answer ready, I can check in with them too.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 7, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

    I love the map.

    My suggestion for improvement is to place 2 arrows that suggest the connections between White Rock and Langley, and Langley and Maple Ridge.

    I suggest using arrows that are smooth, and that do not follow the exact routes. The arrows should point at both ends, and convey that there are connections to the 3 areas, and that the connections are short cuts. Instead of following the FTN all the way around, the riders would take the short cut.

    Here is an example of the style of arrow that I have in mind, but I recommend double pointed arrows.

    I also recommend writing in the 2 route numbers with rough estimates of frequencies, and trip times between end points.

    The most important message that this will send is that White Rock, Langley, and Maple Ridge are not dead ends.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, May 7, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    This is a question for everybody. What would you think about an infrequent service map?

    It could hint at which buses have seating availability, since infrequent services tend to have empty seats.

  • By Kelly, May 7, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

    There is now a social network for buses. Check it out at You can also put in your concerns there.

  • By Cliff, May 15, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

    This map can be a little misleading as it includes routes that aren’t technically express routes but have long gaps between stops. I.E. 169 (No stops from Schoolhouse to Como Lake) or the 701 (Stop distances similar to B-Line routes) or the 410 (No stops from Westminster Highway to No. 6 Road.

    Still, a very detailed map.

  • By Eric Doherty, September 17, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    This map is very useful to me as a planner. But as a transit rider, I just realized that it is missing key information – the route numbers! I want to go to the library in New West, the map show frequent service where I want to go, but not the route number(s). So I don’t know what bus to line up for once I get off Skytrain. This would not take long to fix, please do it soon!

  • By Lee Stebbins, July 23, 2016 @ 8:07 pm

    my friend required a form a few weeks ago and came across an online service that has a searchable database . If others are requiring it as well , here’s a link “”.

Other Links to this Post

  1. (Un)dynamic Urbanism: Frequent Transit Network Maps — The Pop-Up City — April 7, 2012 @ 8:16 am

  2. The Buzzer blog » Park and rides: let’s talk about them — June 22, 2012 @ 8:03 am

  3. The Buzzer blog » Big goals, big challenges: what we think about when planning the transit network — July 30, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

  4. The Buzzer blog » Layers of design: guiding themes for planning a transit network — August 8, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

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