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Screen shot from the video series

A series of new videos developed by David Crowley, local transportation consultant and the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Toronto shows very clearly how Toronto’s transit problems began–and how we can get ourselves out of this mess. The research, relying on data from the Transportation Tomorrow Survey, has been peer reviewed for accuracy and would make an excellent starting point for discussions in urban planning or geography classes, high school civics classes, among community groups seeking to understand the issues in this region, and for political representatives and public sector employees. Click on the links below to watch the videos–each is under four minutes in length.

Understand Transit History (How we Got Into This Mess) outlines how the transit process has become overly politicized, with politicians proposing solutions that aren’t logical, just to get short-term votes. On the other hand, systems like GO regional rail were planned to serve the greatest number of riders, long before traffic was choking our city, and has consistently expanded to accommodate new suburban growth. As a result, 2 in 5 downtown workers commutes in from the outer suburbs and over 75% of them take transit.

The Biggest Problem (Overcrowding on the Subway System) shows the rapid increase in commuters from York Region, almost half of whom use the TTC–the number of riders from York Region to downtown almost doubled from 1986-2006. York Region Go Train usage, on the other hand, is 25% lower than Peel, Halton or Durham Regions for the downtown commute.

Too Many Rapid Transit Proposals (But Few Solutions) have been designed to win short-term voter support, e.g. the Sheppard subway extension and proposed Scarborough subway. Neither addressed serious overcrowding issues on the existing system or inadequate bus service. All-day service on all the GO Train lines are not competitive financially, but increasing service on the lines running through York Region could help address overcrowding on the TTC and serve Scarborough. Integration of fares between GO and the TTC is also needed.

Take the Politics out of Transit Planning shows the economic strength of Toronto’s downtown as a direct result of the GO Train and TTC systems and outlines the problems that would occur if that was not the case. The main point here is that transportation planning decisions should be designed by transportation experts and approved by politicians–not the other way around.

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