Maximizing Density with Rail Safety Consulting
Like many urban cores across North America, Ontario is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar buildout of its mass transit system, with the building industry being tasked with unlocking the potential of sites.
As Ontario presses to build further density around subway, light-rail and GO Transit stations as well as rail lines that carry freight, these projects at and around railways and rail stations – old, new, newly-named, or near-completion – are moving towards more progressive development models.
At Entuitive, we offer Rail Safety Consulting services across North America, and its subset Safety Barrier Design, to our developer clients looking to build in proximity to a railway while maximizing density.
What Makes Rail Safety Consulting Different at Entuitive?
An Integrated, Collaborative Approach
Our unique integrated expertise in structural engineering and rail safety enables us to develop site-specific mitigation measures, as well as guide our clients through local approvals processes, crystalizing the maximum density for these complex sites.
Some of these site-specific measures can include:
- Setbacks to sensitive-use space which provides a buffer zone for any risk associated with derailment (i.e. debris, fire, emissions, etc.).
- Implementing crash walls or earthen berms to deflect or dissipate energy from a derailed train from catastrophically affecting the adjacent building structure.
- Designing for redundancy to avoid progressive collapse in the event a derailed train collides with the building structure.
Our rail safety experts value collaboration while proposing solutions as we work closely with our clients, developers, and architects. Entuitive is able to meet the intent of the national guidelines and local rail authority recommendations while bringing forth innovative solutions to help our clients maximize density.
In addition to supporting our developer partners, our team also acts on behalf of the City of Toronto to peer review applications that are in proximity to railway infrastructure. Working for developers as well as providing City reviews allows Entuitive to stay at the cutting-edge of solutions to rail safety for developments.
In-House Advanced Technologies
Our team has developed an in-house site-assessment tool synthesizing rail incident and activity data from the Transport Safety Board of Canada to enable a big-picture view of rail safety across Canada in answering critical safety questions. This marriage of data and technical expertise allows our team to make evidence- and data-based decisions to improve rail safety design and take a proactive, preemptive approach to rail and crash wall safety design.
The tool allows us to see where there are reported historical occurrences in the last 20 years. The data shows level crossings, rail ownership, and extensive interactive additional information that is displayed when clicking on a map feature to open a contextual dialogue.
Learn more about our recent rail safety projects across Ontario below.
Transit-Oriented Community at Mimico Station, Toronto, Ontario
The sites of the proposed developments lie immediately north of the Mimico GO Station on two blocks of land: 315 & 327 Royal York Road and 27-39 Newcastle Street. The sites are integrated with Mimico Station to create a transit-oriented community, and will predominantly consist of residential units, with some commercial space along with retail occupancy.
Entuitive is providing Rail Safety consulting services for this proposed development. A typical solution towards continuous rail safety barriers is contrary to the station’s functional requirement to have its users engage visually with the trains on the tracks from the station on the pick-up and drop-off areas. Therefore, innovative solutions to risk mitigation are being considered to meet the safety standards for the building occupants while also being compatible with station functionality.
Fairview Drury Rail Safety Study, Burlington, Ontario
Located at the northwest corner of Drury and Fairview in Burlington, Ontario, a new development is being constructed that includes multiple residential towers, office space, and retail space with parking both below and above grade. The development will be located near the CNR – Metrolinx rail corridor, north of the property.
Entuitive was engaged to provide the Rail Safety Study for this proposed development, collaborating with Metrolinx and their Third-Party Reviewers. This project required complex design of a safety barrier to deflect derailed trains operating at 100 mph, reducing the risks to the building occupants. Due to the close proximity (less than 4m) of the tracks to the wall, a unique construction methodology was developed. We worked closely with the City of Burlington and Metrolinx and their peer review engineers, achieving required approvals.
31A Parliament, Toronto, Ontario
31A Parliament is a new mixed-use building being constructed immediately adjacent to the transit corridor in downtown Toronto. The building offers close to 600 units of residential space, along with office, institutional, and retail occupancies to add vibrancies to the Distillery Area. Integrated into the site will be a selection of affordable housing.
The project involved a review of rail safety issues affecting building development as well as coordination with Metrolinx and City requirements. Entuitive is providing Structural and Rail Safety services for the project, developing the site-specific mitigating measures and gaining the approval of both Metrolinx and the City of Toronto along with their peer review engineers.
To learn more about our Rail Safety Consulting service, please reach out to Jonathan Hendricks.