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Tomorrow

2041 Vision

The GTHA urban region will have a transportation system that supports complete communities by firmly aligning the transportation network with land use. The system will provide convenient and reliable connections and support a high quality of life, a prosperous and competitive economy and a protected environment.

Try to imagine the GTHA in 2041. What does that look like to you?

It’s not easy. Consider population growth, changes in the job market and demographics, the impact of increasing housing prices, as well as new transportation technologies and business models. Then factor in climate change, too. It’s a huge, continuously-changing puzzle. But the rewards we’ll see tomorrow for smart and informed planning today will be remarkable.

New Solutions for a Growing Region

Toronto — and the downtown core in particular — is growing rapidly. But growth is also happening outside the city. Historically, travel between centres outside of the downtown has meant cars, usually with only a single occupant. That’s got to change. We need to plan for the transportation needs of these growing centres as well.

One way we can address the increase of single-occupant vehicles is with a High Occupancy Vehicle/High Occupancy Toll (HOV/HOT) network on 400-series highways, the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway. Reserved lanes encourage higher-occupancy travel and can support faster, more reliable bus service. The region’s recent experience with HOV lanes during the Pan Am/Pan Parapan Games demonstrated a clear benefit for GO Bus riders, reducing delays associated with highway congestion.

HOV lanes are reserved for vehicles with 2 or 3 occupants, including the driver, and can be built on existing highways. They don’t necessarily require road widening. They’re also flexible and can be used for shared shuttles or other shared services. In locations where there is capacity remaining, it may also be helpful to introduce High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes which require single-occupant vehicles to pay a fee for the use of the HOV lane.

Highlights of the Draft Plan's Five Strategies

The Big Move set the stage for today’s massive investment in rapid transit. The Draft Plan builds on its success, looking beyond 2025 and considering the region’s needs in the future. That’s reflected in its five core strategies:

Complete Delivery

  • Maintain the momentum created by The Big Move, and bring all that experience to executing The Draft Plan
  • Continue to build GO Regional Express Rail (GO RER)
  • Complete Light Rail Transit (LRT), Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and subway projects currently underway
  • Further expand capacity of Union Station

Connect the Region

  • Develop a complete Frequent Rapid Transit Network
  • Plan for GO beyond 2025
  • Build additional LRT, BRT and subway projects after 2025
  • Build out the network with priority bus corridors
  • Develop a regional 24-hour bus network
  • Coordinate with provincial High Speed Rail and federal VIA rail plans

Optimize the System

  • Integrate transit services (schedules, fares and payments)

  • Plan for “the first and last mile” of every journey

  • Focus on the traveller experience

  • Make safety and security a priority

  • Re-invent Transportation Demand Management

  • Expand HOV/HOT Network

  • Manage roads and highways to support walking, cycling and transit

  • Optimize the highway and road system for Goods Movement

Shape the Region

  • Improve integration of land use and transportation planning

  • Design communities and employment areas to encourage walking and cycling

  • Develop a Regional Cycling Network

  • Address Parking Demand Management in land use planning

  • Encourage students to walk and cycle to school

Be Change Ready

  •  Prepare for new business models and technologies

  • Build resilience to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

  • Use Big Data — large data sets that support predictive and user behaviour analytics — to optimize infrastructure and improve services

  • Leverage innovation to improve and evolve the Draft Plan

Implementing the Draft Plan

To make such fundamental changes, the Draft Plan requires plenty of regional collaboration and a concerted effort from all partners. It also needs stable and sufficient long-term funding. Those two factors are the shared responsibility of Metrolinx and its partners — including federal, provincial and municipal governments.

But, just as importantly, it also requires the involvement and passion of GTHA residents, businesses, institutions, civic organizations, academic partners and other stakeholders to realize this greater vision.

“Over the next 25 years, the population of the GTHA is expected to grow to 10.1 million people, and the number of jobs to 4.8 million.”

Prepared for Change

Many factors will change over the life of this plan, including a few we can’t predict. The Draft Plan looks beyond today to consider likely future challenges and opportunities. By understanding and anticipating change, the Draft Plan can stay relevant, effective and efficient, even as it evolves over time.