What if kids designed our neighbourhoods?

Getting students engaged in transit opens the door to them using and shaping transit later.

Mar 13, 2019

If you want to glimpse the future of public transit in Ontario, first see it through the eyes – and coloured pencils – of children.

Metrolinx runs countless public meetings and educational sessions each year. Constant consultation and conversations with community members are part of our DNA.

One of the most important and enjoyable outreach events our four Light Rail Transit (LRT) teams undertake as part of our community benefits program is interactive presentations to local schools. The Transit in your Community program creates valuable moments spent educating the next generation of transit users, as well as engaging early with those future developers, planners, business leaders, voters, taxpayers, influencers, social activists and Metrolinx leaders. Our LRT teams have successfully connected with more than 2,300 students since winter 2017.

Metrolinx LRT projects underway across the Greater Golden Horseshoe region will dramatically impact the local communities. Therefore our community relations staff have been running these sessions to meet with the kids who will one day soon use the LRT systems, to ask them a question they’ve likely never been asked before: what would be included in your dream neighbourhood?

And while there are times when free ice cream shops and roaming zoo animals may be coloured into those kid visions, they also come with insightful renderings that include bright ideas and telling additions.

Here are some key takeaways and some regional background on the Transit in Your Community program, and why your kids may be coming home talking ‘transit’.

Kids love trains but they’re also going to be able to tell their kids and grandchildren about how transit connected them to the great potential that comes with travel.

by Madeha Khalid Metrolinx manager of Community Engagement – Rapid Transit