Sidewalk Labs’ Toronto Transit Explorer shows the fastest way to get around the city

Turns out biking is king in downtown Toronto

The team at Sidewalk Labs has launched a new web app called Toronto Transit Explorer.

The app was first shown off at a Sidewalk Toronto roundtable in March and has come a long way since then.

Toronto Transit Explorer, available on mobile and desktop, now features a much cleaner UI and additional features. The app details distance and projected travel when using a variety of transportation methods, including public transit, cycling and walking.

It offers an interesting view of transit efficiency across different areas of the city and can also be used to compare different travel options. This provides a more detailed heatmap-esque look at what parts of the city are better for certain modes of transit, like biking compared to public transit.

When in the compare mode, users are also able to hover their cursor over the map to see the exact time it will take to get to their destination with each of their selected modes of transportation.

Additionally, the app includes fun features like the ability to adjust biking speed to see how far you can really travel on a bike. The app can show off speeds that are “almost as fast as Lance Armstrong’s maximum speed in the Tour de France,” said Samara Trilling, a software engineer with Sidewalk Labs.

The transit data comes from a few different open data sources like These sites have the information stored as GTFS files that can then be inputted into Toronto Transit Explorer’s backend to keep the site updated with the most up-to-date information.

Trilling gave an example of the app’s usefulness during the second roundtable, stating that the morning before the launch she noticed that a street car that was under maintenance was being replaced by a bus, which changed some of the app’s outputs.

In the future, the team is thinking of adding some things like overlays that would show noteworthy city locations or nearby restaurants but nothing is set in stone just yet.

To check out the app, visit the Sidewalk Labs website here.