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want to know the difference between vivaNext and YRT/Viva?

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

the difference between vivaNext and YRT/Viva?

Every now and again, members of the community either see vivaNext and YRT/Viva as one and the same, or take one of us for the other. We thought we would help to clear up exactly how they differ.

The essential difference between vivaNext and YRT/Viva is what they do:

  • vivaNext plans and builds rapid transit and the facilities associated with it.
  • YRT/Viva maintains and operates the buses and system elements.

While we each operate as separate organizations, we are connected – much like cousins. Here is a little family history:


York Region Transit [YRT] came into being in 2001 when York Region amalgamated five municipal transit agencies.

Viva was launched in 2005 as an additional transit service that focused more on “rapid”. Viva Bus Rapid Transit features faster service, off-board payment and traffic signal priority technology. The next stage of Viva BRT was the move into dedicated bus lanes known as “rapidways”, and began with the route on Highhway7 East in Markham. The rapidway project was designed, planned and built by vivaNext!

YRT/Viva operates both types of transit together. YRT, which travels in and out of neighbourhoods, feeds customers into Viva as one cohesive system.


York Region soon recognized that there was a real need for transit infrastructure projects to move forward quickly. As a result – VivaNext was born as the project name, and York Region Rapid Transit Corporation was the company managing the project. Once funding was received in 2009, vivaNext became more than a plan – it became a brand for the construction projects transforming York Region’s busiest roads. It includes dedicated lanes and Vivastations in the rapidways – as well as facilities and terminals in key locations across York Region.

As each vivaNext project is completed, YRT/Viva takes on the operations with service and maintenance plans.

Transit is evolving in York Region and vivaNext and YRT/Viva are collaboratively working together to make that happen. What it means to you is convenient transportation in attractive, well-connected communities.

spring has arrived on davis drive

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s very excited to see the long harsh winter [or “polar vortex” as the media described it] come to an end. The bone-chilling temperatures were all too frequent this winter and I’ve almost forgot what weather in the positive double digits feel like, but we are excited to see the sunshine!

While it may not feel like spring has completely sprung yet, the extra daylight and warmer temperatures are a welcoming addition to each day.  We are embracing this nicer weather at vivaNext and are gearing up for a very busy construction season on Davis Drive.

This year the transformation will continue to take shape with significant work set to get underway. Road widening and base layer paving will be a major focus this year. You’ll also see finished boulevards in sections. Planters with interlocking paving stones and concrete sidewalks will be installed in these areas.

For larger operations, some work is required deep underground. This year multiple closures on side streets that intersect Davis will be required for several different operations. The most up-to-date details on all the road closures off Davis Drive are available at

It’s also necessary at times to close or relocate bus stops and shelters so construction crews can gain access to work sites and to ensure the public is kept safe during construction. To find out if a bus stop has been moved to a temporary location please watch for signs that will direct you to the closest open bus stop. There’s a lot going on out there so we’ve made a short video to assist you with what to look for when a bus stop has been relocated.

Updates about all of this work will be made available as they happen. If you have questions or concerns please contact your Community Liaison and sign up for construction updates to get the latest construction information at


Glossary of construction terms

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Construction can be chaotic for the layperson with its oddly shaped machines digging, drilling and moving around dirt, concrete and other large items. It can be hard to understand what they’re doing exactly, but things can get even more confusing when construction terminology gets thrown around. To help anyone who might be interested we’ve compiled a list of our most often used terms, just for the fun of it –

Abutment A structure located at the ends of a bridge, where the bridge slab adjoins the approaching roadway.
Archaeological Testing/Assessment The examination of limited areas for the purposes of identifying historical artifacts. We do this work to meet the requirements of the 2007 North Yonge Street Corridor Public Transit Improvements Environmental Assessment, which identifies areas of potential archaeological interest along the Yonge Street corridor, so that we can ensure any important historical artifacts are identified before the roadway is widened for the rapidway.
Backfill Material used to replace, or the act of replacing material, removed during construction. Also, may denote material placed, or the act of placing material, adjacent to structures.
Bore Holes Drilling into the ground to bring up samples of earth for testing.
Boulevard A strip of grass between a sidewalk and a road, located above a curb.
Bridge Pier A supporting structure at the junction of connecting spans of a bridge.
Caissons A cylindrical concrete foundation that penetrates through soil to rest upon an underlying stratum of rock. Or the structural support for a type of foundation wall.
Canopy A curved glass and steel structure over a vivastation platform that shelters passengers.
Cast-in-Place A construction of forms filled with concrete at the final location.
Catch Basin A receptacle for catching water runoff from a designated area; usually a shallow concrete box with a grating and a discharge pipe leading to a plumbing or stormwater system.
Cofferdam A watertight steel enclosure from which water is pumped to expose the bottom of a body of water and permit foundation construction.
Corridor Area where vivaNext has construction underway – e.g. Highway 7 East, Highway 7 West, Davis Drive or Yonge Street.
Culvert A drain pipe or small bridge for drainage under a road or structure.
Cut and Cover A method of tunnel construction that involves digging a trench, building a tunnel, and then covering it with fill.
Daylighting The process of exposing buried utility lines to daylight.
Directional Drilling Drilling sideways under structures, roadways, streams, etc. to place pipes, utility lines without excavation and generally limited to less than 30cm in diameter.
Duct bank Groups of conduits designed to protect and consolidate cabling to and from buildings. Data and electrical cables are laid out within PVC conduits and bundled together; these groupings of conduit are protected by concrete and metal casings. Duct banks are often buried, allowing contractors to consolidate the wiring for a building into centralized underground paths.
Easement An interest in land owned by another that entitles its holder to a specific limited use.
Environmental Impact The effects a project will have upon the environment, especially the human environment.
Environmental Testing Is used to verify if a piece of equipment can withstand the rigors of harsh environments.
Excavator Generally tracked vehicle with rotating body and front mounted digging arm.
Geotechnical Testing The process of boring, sampling, and testing the soil at various depths to enable the geotechnical engineer to discover and analyze characteristics of the soil.
Guy Wires A wire used to secure a tall exterior mast, antenna, or other structure in place.
Hoarding A temporary wooden fence around a building or structure under construction or repair.
Hydrovac A large truck-mounted vacuum used to bore holes to locate underground utility cables and pipes.
Locates Markings that locate underground infrastructure, identified as follows:

  • Red – Electric power lines, cables and conduit systems and lighting cables
  • Yellow – Gas, oil, steam, petroleum, gaseous or dangerous materials
  • Orange – Communications, cable television, alarm or signal lines, cables or conduit systems
  • Blue – Water, irrigation and slurry lines
  • Green – Sewer and drain lines
  • White – Route of proposed subsurface line or location of proposed excavation
  • Purple – Reclaimed water
  • Pink (fluorescent) – Temporary construction project site survey markings and survey monuments.


Man Hole A hole through which a person may go to gain access to an underground or enclosed structure.
Precast (PC) Piles A reinforced concrete pile which is moulded in circular, square, rectangular or octagonal form.
Pile Driver A noisy machine that repeatedly drops a heavy weight on top of a post-like foundation until it reaches solid soil, rock or cannot be pushed down any farther.
Potholing A small, steep-sided hole usually with underground drainage.
Rapidway Dedicated lanes for viva rapid transit down the centre of the road [except on Enterprise Drive, where the lanes are beside the road].
Re-bar Ribbed steel bars of various sizes used to give concrete strength in tension.
Sheet Piling Planking or sheeting made of concrete, timber, or steel that is driven in, interlocked or tongue and grooved together to provide a tight wall to resist the lateral pressure of water, adjacent earth or other materials.
Storm Sewer A sewer used for conveying groundwater, rainwater, surface water, or similar non-polluting wastes.
Test Pitting An excavation made to examine an existing foundation, or to determine whether an area is suitable for building construction; includes the taking of soil samples and the determining of the depth of groundwater.
Transformer A device that changes, or transforms, alternating current from one voltage to another.
Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) Area around Highway 7 West in the City of Vaughan designated as a new development area.
Vivastation A bus rapid transit station on a vivaNext rapidway. Includes a platform in each direction, like a train station.
Water Main Water supply pipe generally located at the street level which may supply a number of buildings.


Working together to achieve transit success

Friday, May 24th, 2013

You have heard us talk a lot about growth at vivaNext.  Managing growing communities and planning for the future are always top of mind. As the region that comprises nine local municipalities and is home to 1,084,000 residents, 29,000 businesses and 495,000 employees, York Region is the fastest growing region in the Greater Toronto Area. We are always striving to identify key opportunities to improve upon and expand rapid transit plans to support the Region’s increasing population.

The successful execution of the vivaNext rapid transit plans rely on collaboration. While collaboration seems like a long word that has enough syllables to leave you tongue-tied, to me the definition is simple – working together as a team. At vivaNext we strive to work hand in hand with all our stakeholders and neighbours. With open dialogue and information exchange we do our best to listen and address comments and concerns.

Our rapidways are being built along the Region’s busiest corridors where urban development is taking shape. Check out a few municipal videos showcasing local growth.

VivaNext is proud to be bringing York Region an exceptional transit system that will connect it to the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

The Growth Plan

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

York Region is growing and vivaNext is the plan to bring the next generation of rapid transit to service that growth. Funding has been granted for several projects within the plan, including bus rapid transit [BRT], a subway, a bus maintenance facility and bus terminals. But where does that plan start? In general, it starts with vision, professional expertise, time, money and a commitment to stick to the plan.

But to be more specific, like all really important initiatives, the starting point for a successful transit program is doing in-depth planning to assess the Region’s population trends, long-term growth forecasts, transportation and development patterns, and economic development goals.

The overall need for rapid transit and the specific projects that together make up vivaNext were first identified in the Region’s Transportation Master Plan, then thoroughly evaluated through a series of Environmental Assessments.

Consultations with approval agencies, such as conservation authorities and local heritage committees, as well as the broader community, including employers, ratepayer groups and chambers of commerce, also provided important input.

This multi-year planning process has involved many levels of professional expertise within and affiliated with York Region and our local municipalities, and is proof of our communities’ long-range stewardship to meet our future needs.

Once the planning is complete then the work of building the transit network begins. Work that requires a logical and disciplined approach, to identify which pieces need to be built first, forming the network’s backbone, and which components can come later. Construction also has to be carefully staged, to minimize the disruption to communities, businesses and travelers.

That logical progression has informed how we’re staging the construction of vivaNext, with the added complexity of planning for the greatest amount of connectivity between our network and the larger GTA transit network as it expands.

Our overall priority is to improve the transit network at every step, so that we all can benefit right away from having more transit choices and a welcoming streetscape.

All currently funded segments will be completed by the end of 2018. But that won’t be the end  – with vivaNext’s established success in delivering projects as planned, we hope to obtain new funding to complete the remaining segments of the network, including additional rapidway segments and the extension of the Yonge Subway to Highway 7.

Understanding real-time travel time signs

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

We’ve all seen them at one time or another, the big orange and black electronic message boards relaying construction information and how long it will take to travel through a construction zone. You may have asked yourself how these signs provide up-to-date travel time and are they accurate? Perhaps you even timed it to test its accuracy.

These signs are Variable Messaging Signs [VMS]. You may have also heard them referred to as construction message boards. You will see them posted at key locations along the vivaNext rapidway corridors currently under construction. The signs operate from a bank of batteries. Energy from the sun, collected by solar panels on the top of the sign, recharges the batteries allowing the construction information and real-time travel information to stay lit.

The real-time travel information works from innovative Bluetooth technology based sensors to calculate travel times through the construction zone. Once a minute, the current average travel time is posted to the VMS. We were the first in North America to track Bluetooth data and convert it into real-time travel time displays to help commuters decide the best way to minimize their travel time through construction.

So how accurate is the real-time travel data on these signs? We keep a close eye on the travel times displayed on the VMS. We continuously monitor and check the accuracy of these signs to ensure the travel times provided are precisely the time it takes to travel through the construction.

The VMS are just one example of the tools and technology we use to keep you informed of rapidway construction. Check out for the latest news and if you haven’t already, sign up for construction updates.

We thank you for your patience during vivaNext rapidway construction. Once the transformation is complete, the rapidways will help connect communities, save people travel time on viva and transform the physical look and feel of the streets to be beautiful refreshed places to visit, shop or work.


Finding the balance: maximizing construction while minimizing inconvenience

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013


If you’ve ever been involved in a home renovation project then you know it’s far easier to work in a room that is empty or unused, rather than the high traffic rooms, like a kitchen or bathroom. It’s one of the biggest challenges vivaNext faces during the rapidway construction – how to work in a confined, busy space that’s open for business 24/7.

Building a roadway is a process that follows clearly defined steps and uses modern technology, equipment and materials.  In York Region, we are fortunate to have access to some of the best, most experienced construction contractors anywhere, so building the rapidways is – in some ways – a very straightforward project.  Straightforward, that is, until you realize that the rapidways are being built down the middle of some of the Region’s busiest roads.  So during construction, it’s critical to minimize the impact on people using the roadway by keeping travel lanes open during construction whenever possible.  This is where “construction staging” – the process of doing the work in specific phases or steps to manage within the available space and right-of-way [ROW] or easement comes in.

Construction needs to happen in its own separate space; excavators need to swing their buckets, concrete trucks need to make deliveries, and construction trucks need room to back up. For this reason, the first step in rebuilding one of these busy roads is to create some extra room for construction crews to work safely.  The best approach to do this is to take out the median, narrow each of the lanes and shift them over by repainting the lines. This way crews can work in the extra space that’s been freed up, before moving to the next.

Think of our kitchen example – it’s like putting down a new floor – you do one side, and then move your fridge and stove over to the completed side so you can do the other half. Once one section of construction is done, lanes are repainted again to shift them back, and begin work on the other side, working in stages along the entire segment.

To help manage the work areas, the Region also takes temporary and/or permanent easements or ROW’s on properties that are within York Region Rapid Transit’s construction limits. This ensures that when it’s time for a certain stage of construction the area is clear and available, permitting crews access during construction at any time. Easement areas include boulevards, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots fronting the rapidway construction. Rest assured, during construction, the vivaNext teams are committed to minimizing disruption, maintaining driveway access and keeping a sidewalk open at all times.

Sometimes you may even get the feeling that we’ve returned to an area even though it seemed like we were finished. It’s not déjà vu, what you’re actually seeing is our staging technique, where work is done in small, careful steps.

And just as you wouldn’t be able to live without your kitchen while you renovate, we will keep the roads open during construction, relying on staging to minimize the impact of work in order to finish as quickly as possible.  We thank you for your patience and hope you are following along as this amazing transformation unfolds.

Preserving the Union Hotel

Friday, May 10th, 2013

With a population of only 2,000 people, Newmarket became an official town in 1880. The Union Hotel located at 425 Davis Drive was built soon after and remains an important part of Newmarket’s heritage.  The two-storey brick structure was designed by local architect John Ough and still has many of its original features, including mouldings, staircases and woodwork. Past owners include James Burke, a soda water manufacturer, Patrick Hodgins Sr. used it as a store and residence and more recently Robert Armstrong, had a real estate business.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Patrick Hodgins Jr. in 2010 about his memories of living at the property. From 1907 to 1940, his family played a big role in shaping this important corner of Newmarket.

Newmarket has since grown and now has 84,000 residents. To allow for the widening necessary to accommodate the vivaNext rapidway, the Union Hotel and the neighbouring two-storey concrete block building, are being set back on the same property, to preserve them as a reflection of Newmarket’s rich history.

Due to the nature of the work the buildings will be moved in two stages. The full relocation to the permanent location may take up to six months. Check out the steps involved or just follow construction as it unfolds along Davis Drive at


It’s April at vivaNext

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Riding on transit is always a fun adventure with friends you just don’t know yet.

Check out what makes riding a bus the best way to go.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Davis Drive rapidway – construction ramps up

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Signs of spring are in the air, for us at vivaNext spring symbolizes a time of year when construction work ramps up. Last year, we completed a number of important construction projects on the way to building the Davis Drive rapidway. This year, we kick off a very busy construction season with significant work starting in April.

Traffic lanes, sidewalks and bus stops will be shifting along Davis Drive, this is required to relocate, install and replace segments of infrastructure for hydro, gas, storm drain, water main, sewer line, phone and cable. These changes are part of the next phase of construction, providing workers sufficient room to start building the rapidway, station platforms and canopies. More details on the lane closures on Davis Drive are available at

Crews will also be working on culverts on the south side of Eastern Creek (near Southlake Regional Health Centre) and Western Creek this year. The north side of Keith Bridge is scheduled to be complete in 2014.

We know construction can be daunting and we thank you for your patience and understanding. Please drive with care and give yourself extra time to get to your destination safely.

Updates about all of this work will be made available as they happen. If you have questions or concerns please contact your Community Liaison and sign up for construction updates to get the the latest construction information.

The vivaNext plan will help Newmarket continue to shape its growing community making it an even better place to work, shop and play.