Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sustainable Urban Transportation A Winning Strategy for Canada

by Anne Golden and Natalie Brender

As The Conference Board of Canada noted in Mission Possible: Successful Canadian Cities, the fate of Canada’s cities is intimately bound up with the long-term prosperity and sustainability of the country as a whole. Among the core elements that make cities successful, efficient urban transportation networks are pivotal on several fronts. They are key to business investment and growth, since companies depend on the efficient movement of workers and goods around urban areas to maintain their competitiveness. And from a social and environmental perspective, the construction of integrated mass transit systems across urban regions provides an eco-friendly way for workers to commute to jobs in a reasonable length of time. This is particularly important as job locations shift from the downtown core (which is comparatively well served by existing mass transit systems) to dispersed suburban centres scattered throughout urban regions (which are extremely difficult or too distant to access by public transit, especially for workers commuting from one suburban region to another).
Opting for public transit is a winning strategy that increases the appeal and competitiveness of metropolitan regions. Public transit also has several positive spin-offs in terms of reducing traffic and improving the quality of life and health of citizens. Finally, public transit plays an important social role and for many households it represents an affordable and accessible means to get around the city.
The beginning of 2007 has seen a reinvigorated debate about public transit and its funding, stemming from several important developments. The 2006 census confirms an ever-increasing number of Canadians living in urban areas—and a large proportion of that growth is located in suburbs and so-called “edge cities” rather than city cores. With these areas growing by 11 per cent between 2001 and 2006 (a rate twice the national average), worries about suburban sprawl and commuters’ quality of life have been underscored. In March, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and its Big City Mayors’ Caucus urged the federal government to create a national transit strategy that would boost federal transit funding to meet both environmental and competitiveness goals. March also saw the unveiling of the Toronto Transit Commission’s plan for a $2.4-billion light rail system that would comprehensively service the entire urban region—funding that has yet to be secured.

similar posts about public transportation:

Increasing the Quality of Public Transport in Prague

Dortmund Light Rail Developments, Germany

Sydney: monorail soon to be scrap metal?

Back to Basics for Detroit Light Rail

Tehran and the challenges of a metropolis in the millennium

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