Toronto, ON, November 18, 2021 – Today, the Toronto Region Board of Trade in collaboration with Deloitte released Next Stop: Building Universal Transit Access, its third transportation report in a four-part series. The report makes recommendations to address the challenges cities face in addressing the “first and last mile” while enabling anywhere-to-anywhere + anytime travel.
“As the fastest-growing urban region in North America, innovative and seamless public transit solutions remain integral to the Toronto region’s economic success,” said Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
The Board’s research estimates that congestion and gridlock cost the Toronto region’s economy $6 billion every single year in lost productivity – a figure that is expected to balloon to $15 billion by 2031. Congestion also makes it more difficult for workers to get to their jobs, disrupts supply chains, and slows down essential business deliveries.
“The bottom line is that we must continue striving to build transportation systems across the Toronto region to ensure we are not only catching up with our global competitors but also accommodating the influx of 100,000 new residents that arrive every year,” said De Silva.
Next Stop puts forward numerous recommendations to strengthen public transit in the Toronto region – chief among them: a clear region-wide 10-minute frequency service standard to enable “turn-up-and-go” travel on all major routes.
The report urges cities across the region to explore new approaches to expanding mobility. This includes using on-demand transit that is supported by technology, especially where high-frequency service is not possible.
A second key recommendation is to prioritize small infrastructure improvements across the region. These improvements include boosting transit integration across agencies and between modes, strengthening fare, schedule and service coordination so that transfers are seamless, and a comprehensive plan to identify and prioritize infrastructure improvements by rider-minute saved.
Other recommendations include improving innovation and rolling out new transportation modes. For example, transit agencies must take advantage of new technologies that enable more effective planning and better integration with other modes. Specific solutions include data sharing with other transit providers and the integration between public and private operators like micro transit, bike share, and ride-sharing programs (Uber and Lyft).
“A fast and efficient regional transit system is effectively useless if it doesn’t get you from your home to where you want to go,” said Jonathan English, PhD, Director of Policy (Transportation) at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.
The report also singles out the City of Brampton: a city that experienced a 160 per cent spike in transit ridership over a 10-year period from 2009-2019 due to the expansion of its service levels leading to frequent all-day bus routes on major roads.
“Leaders across the Toronto region must look to public transit success stories like that of Brampton: a city that recently benefitted from the largest increase in transit ridership of any municipality in North America,” noted English.
“There is no reason why that sort of achievement cannot be replicated in other municipalities through major investments and smart policy,” he said.
About Toronto Region Board of Trade
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential business chambers in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic agenda. We pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.
Andrew Perez, Media Relations Manager