Metrolinx Go Train Downtown Toronto with CN Tower in the background light streaks

Transit closer to you

As new lines are built to serve a growing population, 520,000 more homes and 815,000 more jobs will be within walking distance of rapid transit.

With the Greater Golden Horseshoe region expanding to 13.5 million people with 6.3 million jobs by 2041, demand for housing is growing – and especially housing close to rapid transit. 

With that growth comes more jobs and more employment hubs. Public transit must reflect the changing patterns that come with jobs spread throughout region. 

“As municipalities around our region add new, higher-density neighbourhoods, we are building the transit to connect them,” said Marcy Burchfield, vice president of transit planning at Metrolinx.
“The resulting transformation will give people more opportunities to travel quickly and easily between home, work and play.” 

GO train running along the Lakeshore West Line next to the gardiner

The volume of transit options is set to explode with the massive GO Expansion program, four new subway projects, light rail transit (LRT), SmartTrack and bus rapid transit (BRT) lines across the region. (Metrolinx image)

Adding new transit in line with new housing helps to keep the region growing in a way that enhances quality of life. 

“Ensuring that much-needed homes are built near existing and future frequent rapid transit is key to making our region more livable.” said Monika Wyrzykowska, director of policy for the Toronto Region Board of Trade.   

“Currently, many trips in the region are only served by local bus routes, which can mean very long travel times.  

“Take a typical suburban commute distance of more than 10 kilometres for example. This can mean a one-way commute of well over an hour. The business community also depends on that livability to retain workers, attract talent, and grow,” added Wyrzykowska 

More homes, more transit 

As new transit is built for a growing population, the number of homes within a 10-minute walk (or 800 m) of rapid transit across the Greater Golden Horseshoe will have grown from 338,000 in 2016 to 859,000 by 2041.

The number of jobs within walking distance is rising from 893,000 to 1.708 million, over the same timeframe. 

The volume of transit options is set to explode with the massive GO Expansion program, four new subway projects, light rail transit (LRT), SmartTrack and bus rapid transit (BRT) lines across the region 

New transit projects are being designed with connections in mind, to give riders a broader range of easy destinations.  

For example, light rail routes are being designed to give Barrie Line GO Train riders an easy connection into midtown Toronto on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT at Caledonia, with Kitchener Line GO Train customers finding their transfer at the Mount Dennis Crosstown station. Likewise, Peel residents will be able to transfer between the Hazel McCallion Line and GO Trains at Cooksville and Port Credit GO Stations. 

A customer boards a GO Bus in Pickering

The employment area in and around Pearson International Airport has close to 300,000 jobs. Additional transit will open up those jobs to more people. (Mike Winterburn photo)

Going beyond commutes 

This is not just about commutes.  

Putting rapid transit close to home makes it more convenient for shopping and entertainment too. Ultimately the hope is that more people will stop to pick-up groceries and do other errands on their way home via transit. 

“You see more access to jobs, you see more access to cultural institutions and also those day-to-day things people need to make their lives work,” said Becca Nagorsky, Metrolinx vice president of stations planning. 

New subway projects will offer more convenient routes. 

Work has already begun for Ontario Line, as well as the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension and Yonge North Subway Extension (YNSE). 

The routes were all designed to be close to both housing and employment. 

A TTC subway stops to pick up passengers

Public transit is expanding to the meet the needs of the growing region. (TTC photo)

For example, it’s estimated that the aptly named High Tech Station at the top of the YNSE will have 35,000 homes and more than 9,000 jobs nearby, as the area is developed.   

One stop to the south, by Highways 7 and 407, the Bridge station will have similar job figures and housing levels, as well as connections to Richmond Hill Line GO Trains, plus GO, Viva and York Region Transit buses.  

The Ontario Line – a new 15.6-km subway with 15 stations from Exhibition Place, through the heart of downtown, to Don Mills and Eglinton – will run as often as every 90 seconds during rush hour. 

Emerging hubs of housing and jobs like Liberty Village and East Harbour will be on the route as well as the downtown core, Toronto’s east end and neighbourhoods that have been densely populated and underserved by transit for decades, like Flemington Park and Thorncliffe Park. 

The route will benefit people from all walks of life.  

“The benefits are concentrated among low-income, visible minority and recent immigrant populations compared to the average benefit received across the entire populations,” according to a study written by the University of Toronto’s Dr. Steven Farber, an assistant professor in Human Geography, and PhD student Jeff Allen. 

Bramalea GO Station

Additional routes will deliver more transit that connects different communities across the region, and travels in both directions, across a network that has traditionally focused on getting people in and out of downtown Toronto. (Metrolinx image)

More GO Trains for more people 

The massive GO Expansion program is critical to expanding transit. Moving across the region on GO Trains will be easier than ever with two-way, all-day service to more communities and trains every 15 minutes or better on core routes on the Lakeshore, Kitchener, Barrie, and Stouffville lines. 

More opportunities to go in both directions will help to rewire travel patterns. The traditional commute into the downtown core is not going away, but reverse trips starting out from Toronto and travel between suburbs will be easier.  

This is part of a broader plan to connect more riders with more jobs outside downtown Toronto. 

The employment area around Pearson International Airport has close to 300,000 jobs, second only to downtown. With 50,000 at the airport the 250,000 in the surrounding area, additional transit will open up those jobs to more people. 

“By working with our partners at MiWay and Brampton Transit on new connections to rapid transit, we can connect workers to jobs that might not previously been available without a car,” Burchfield said. 

GO Train stock images

Metrolinx is building a region that is more connected, less congested, and increasingly environmentally friendly. (Metrolinx photo)

New stations in Toronto  

Bringing easy transfers in and out of high population pockets of Toronto is part of the SmartTrack plan. 

“It’s strategically bringing new neighbourhood GO stations into high-density areas of Toronto where people will be able to make meaningful connections with the TTC,” said Sam Wadsworth, vice president of GO Expansion stations capital delivery at Metrolinx. 

Image is of Exhibition station platform.

Liberty Village is currently served by GO Trains at Exhibition and the Ontario Line will put this hub of housing, employment and entertainment on the subway system. (Metrolinx photo)

Transit oriented communities 

Infrastructure Ontario is advancing transit oriented communities (TOC) proposals at sites where there are key opportunities to create more housing that is conveniently connected to the region’s growing rapid transit network.  

On Oct. 19, the Ontario government announced plans to build approximately 5,900 new residential units near six future transit stations along the Ontario Line subway and Scarborough Subway Extension. This is in addition to eight other TOC proposals the province is already advancing for station sites along the future Ontario Line and Yonge North Subway Extension. In total, they will create approximately 77,000 new jobs and approximately 48,000 new residential units, including affordable housing options. 

Through a partnership with Woodbine Entertainment Group, a new Kitchener Line GO station will be built along Highway 27 in Etobicoke. The company has development plans that will bring new jobs, housing and entertainment opportunities to the area around the station. 

In Durham Region, the sale of just over an acre of largely unused space, at the far east end of Pickering GO, resulted in new housing construction that is already well underway, giving more people the opportunity to live within walking distance of a Lakeshore East platform.  

“Development around stations will ultimately drive ridership,” said Rick Schippling, acting chief development officer at Metrolinx. 

Pickering GO Station construction

A look at a new housing development under construction steps from Pickering GO Station. (Mike Winterburn photo)

Building for the future

A growing region needs more transit. 

Metrolinx's work to build more transit closer to a growing number of people is a game-changer for our region.  

By strategically expanding transit networks and creating accessible options beyond just the daily commute Metrolinx is revolutionizing the way we move throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe. 

The result of this transit expansion? A region that is more connected, less congested, and increasingly environmentally friendly.