IMPROVE THE EFFICIENCY OF THE ROAD AND HIGHWAY NETWORK
Most people and goods in the GTHA travel on roads. Only about five per cent of the GTHA’s total
daily travel is done on rail (via subway and GO Transit). The rest of the 12 million-plus trips that
are made every day – whether by car, truck, bus, streetcar, bicycle or foot – are made on roads
and highways. For the GTHA’s rural areas, the regional road and highway network is their mobility
lifeline. It is critical to improve the efficiency of the GTHA’s network of road
and highways, through better monitoring and planning, strategic
improvements to the road network, promotion of ride-sharing and carsharing,
and the use of tools that improve traffic flows.
Currently the average vehicle travelling on the GTHA’s
roads and highways during the morning rush hour
carries less than 1.2 people. Increased use of ridesharing
can have a significant benefit. Increasing the
average number of people per vehicle to 1.4 would
take 344,000 vehicles off the roads every rush hour.
3.1 Implement the regional highway network identified in Schedules 1 and 2, and complete
studies and obtain federal and provincial environmental approvals for the proposed
3.2 Identify, prioritize and resolve gaps and bottlenecks in the road network, particularly where
they cross municipal boundaries.
3.3 Assess and implement an inter-connected regional network of multi-purpose reserved
lanes that builds on existing plans for high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to improve the
efficiency of highways and arterial roads for transit and multi-occupant vehicles, with
potential for high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. The use of both existing and new lane
capacity as well as shoulders will be explored, with an emphasis on interconnectivity and
more efficient use of available capacity.
3.4 Building on highly successful programs such as the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s
COMPASS freeway traffic management system and the City of Toronto’s RESCU traffic
management system, create an Intelligent Transportation System strategy for the GTHA,
with policies and programs to:
- reduce traffic congestion and delays by implementing or expanding road and highway
video and computer-aided monitoring for faster incident detection, management and
emergency vehicle or tow truck dispatching;
- implement a coordinated, region-wide system of ramp metering signals at entry ramps
to major highways, coordinated with signals on adjacent arterial roads, that monitors
cumulative traffic conditions and optimizes traffic flows to reduce congestion;
- improve and coordinate signal controls for more efficient traffic flows, including across
municipal boundaries and in response to major incidents on highways;
- provide real-time road and highway traffic information and travel-related weather
information directly to travellers; and
- integrate regional traffic management for all 400-series expressways, urban expressways
and regional roads with centralized monitoring of traffic flows and patterns, and control
over signalization and other traffic management measures.
3.5 Continue to support the Smart Commute CarpoolZone online ride-matching service, and
identify and eliminate legal and liability barriers to ride-sharing.
CarpoolZone.ca was launched by Smart Commute in November 2005 to serve as
a region-wide carpooling ride-match service. Users can specify their
home and work locations, whether they would like to be a driver, passenger or both,
and how flexible they are in terms of distance, departure times and other
preferences. CarpoolZone will find them an ideal match. CarpoolZone.ca now has over
5,000 active users and over 400 active carpools.
3.6 Amend the Ontario Public Vehicles Act
to allow third-parties such as nongovernmental
organizations to provide
vanpools to service major trip
generators such as employers, postsecondary
institutions and tourism
destinations and to augment public
transit service in low density or
dispersed employment areas.
3.7 Continue to develop and expand the
provincial carpool lot network to
include additional lots at strategic
locations, aligned with High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), rapid transit and interregional bus
networks, particularly at the periphery of the GTHA.
3.8 Develop road capacity enhancement pilot projects, such as tidal flow operations,
contraflow lanes, dynamic lanes, continuous flow intersections, diverging diamond
interchanges, shoulder bus lanes, roundabouts, reversible lanes, and moveable barriers.
3.9 Support driver education programs which encourage more efficient driving practices to
reduce fuel consumption and decrease emissions.
Drivewiser is a fuel efficiency and driver
training program, administered by the province
of Nova Scotia in partnership with a
not-for-profit organization. In addition to an
online resource, the program also includes
workshops to promote the use of efficient
vehicles and good driving habits to improve
fuel efficiency on the road. The program
focuses on communicating the benefits of fuel
efficiency and the impacts of individual
behaviour on emissions reduction.
3.10 Any new additions or major improvements to the provincial, regional or local road network
in the GTHA, shall be considered within the context of the transportation hierarchy in
Policy 5.11, and shall contribute to meeting the goals and objectives of the RTP.
3.11 New or expanded roads or highways should not undermine the viability of existing or
planned regional rapid transit services in the same area, particularly when the transit service
operates within the same corridor.
3.12 Planning for new or expanded roads or highways shall consider opportunities to support or
improve existing or planned regional rapid transit services or operations.
EXAMPLE: ONTARIO HOV NETWORK
A High Occupancy Vehicle (or HOV) lane is
a roadway lane designated for use only by
vehicles with a specified minimum number
of occupants — usually two or three. HOV
lanes encourage people to use transit or
carpool rather than drive alone by ensuring
them more reliable and faster trip times.
This increases the efficiency of the road
network as more people are moved in
fewer vehicles, reducing congestion and improving the reliability and speed of travel in the
other lanes, as well.
In December 2005, the Province of Ontario opened its first HOV lanes on sections of
Highways 403 and 404. By 2031, a network of more than 300 km of HOV lanes will
be in place on 400-series highways in the GTHA as part of the Ministry of Transportation’s
HOV Lane Network Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The network will be
accompanied by supportive programs, including the provision of carpool and parking lots in