Transit in GTA: How to Get Back on the Rails
Invited Speaker: Matti Siemiatycki
Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, Canada Research Chair in Infrastructure Planning and Finance, and Interim Director of the School of Cities at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on large-scale infrastructure projects, public-private partnerships, and the effective integration of infrastructure into the fabric of cities. He has undertaken studies on major cities in Canada and around the world including Vancouver, London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Bilbao, and Delhi. He was a member of the City of Toronto and TTC’s Expert Advisory Panel on the Ontario-Toronto Transit Realignment Review.
Invited Speaker: Drew Fagan
Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto and Senior Advisor with McMillan Vantage Policy Group. Prior to his present roles, he spent 12 years in leadership positions with the governments of Ontario and Canada. In the Government of Ontario, he was Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport with responsibility for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. He was a member of the City of Toronto and TTC’s Expert Advisory Panel on the Ontario-Toronto Transit Realignment Review.
Members and Prospective Members Of Transit Alliance
National Club, 303 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5H 2R1
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The role of evidence and politics in transit development and offers five proposals for improving transit in the Greater Toronto Area. Toronto is an emerging global city. Yet the failure to build rapid transit in step with the explosive growth of the past 40 years is one of the city-region’s biggest impediments to inclusive development and prosperity.
A new paper by Matti Siemiatycki and Drew Fagan from the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy analyzes two key challenges that the Greater Toronto Area faces in transit planning: the structural hurdles posed by unclear and often competing responsibilities among different levels of government, and the uneasy relationship between technical evidence and politics in transit decision-making.
In response to these challenges, the paper argues that the subway “upload” initiative launched by the Government of Ontario should become the basis for a regional discussion and negotiation about how to improve transit across the board, not just the TTC subway system.
The paper offers five proposals to improve transit planning in the GTA:
- Improve service through a regional body that coordinates service, scheduling, and fares – not only among different modes of transportation (subway, bus, streetcar, bike, car share, etc.), but also among service providers (GO, TTC, York Region Transit, MiWay, etc.).
- Reduce the influence of politics on decision-making and increase the importance of evidence, including requiring publicly released cost-benefit analyses and the reporting of any direct interventions from politicians in the production and content of the business cases.
- Integrate transportation and land use planning more effectively by encouraging mixed-use, transit-oriented development near rapid transit stations.
- Optimize public engagement and transparency by focusing on regionally important projects with a realistic chance of funding.
- Ensure that the GTA enjoys stable, coordinated, predictable long-term transit funding from the federal and provincial governments and other funding mechanisms, for both new construction and ongoing maintenance.