Significant investment in transit infrastructure is needed to make up for a generation of underinvestment, meet the challenge of a growing population, and allow more people to choose transit in the face of fluctuating oil prices, growing congestion and environmental concerns. The core of the RTP is a plan for a regional rapid transit network that operates seamlessly across the region. This network is identified in Schedules 1 and 2 and is described more fully in section 5.0. The regional rapid transit network will need to be supported by comprehensive and robust local transit networks, cycling and pedestrian networks, transit-supportive land uses, and supporting policies and programs.

The regional rapid transit network identified in Schedules 1 and 2 is conceptual only. It represents projects proposed for full or substantial completion within the first 15 years and 25 years, respectively, of the RTP's adoption.

Subsequent to the RTP, recommended alignments and technologies for some projects may be refined through the project-level Benefits Case Analysis (BCA) that Metrolinx will carry out in partnership with municipalities and transit agencies.


bus lane

Bus Bypass Shoulders can allow for fast and reliable transit service on busy highways.


Queue jump lanes allow transit vehicles to jump ahead of regular traffic at a red light.




A fast, frequent and expanded regional rapid transit network.

1.1 Build the regional rapid transit network identified in Schedules 1 and 2, to bring fast, frequent, all-day, two-way express rail service and expanded regional rapid transit service to every region of the GTHA and to within two kilometres of 80 per cent of GTHA residents (see Section 5.0 for more detail).


High-order transit connectivity to the Pearson Airport district from all directions.

1.2 Establish high-order transit connectivity to the Pearson Airport district from all directions, including a multi-purpose, fast transit link to downtown Toronto (see Section 5.0 for more detail).


An expanded Union Station – the heart of the GTHA’s transportation system.

1.3 The City of Toronto is proceeding with the revitalization of Union Station to provide new passenger concourse areas, accommodate GO Transit rail expansion, improve pedestrian access to and through the building, and expand customer amenities and retail areas. Metrolinx will work with the City of Toronto, GO Transit, and stakeholders on a long-range strategy that builds on the work already underway, to ensure that all existing and future initiatives to improve Union Station and its surrounding precinct are coordinated to implement the RTP. Union Station will become a customer-focused facility that provides seamless connections between all modes of transportation and the surrounding downtown Toronto area. Union Station should be developed in a way that maximizes not only the value of the station itself, including its cultural heritage value, but also the immediate precinct and broader region that it directly serves. It should also meet the needs of the passenger throughput that will result from the implementation of the RTP. The following will be clearly addressed:

  • upgrading of facilities to accommodate services proposed in the RTP, and required
  • phasing to allow for the timely delivery of services; and
  • identification of necessary investment and potential revenue streams to meet the above objectives.

1.4 Integrate the Toronto bus terminal with Union Station to provide more seamless connections between regional rail and bus services.

union station crowd 1
union station crowd 2

Union Station is Canada’s busiest passenger transportation facility and a National Historic Site. Every day over 240,000 users pass through it, amounting to over 65 million per year. Over the next 25 years, Union Station will see a quadrupling of passenger traffic in the morning peak hour as a result of the expansion of the regional rapid transit network. Improvements to tracks, platforms, and passenger circulation will be needed to accommodate the new services proposed in the RTP.


1.5 Establish regional rapid transit connections outside the GTHA, such as the conceptual network shown in Appendix C, that connects the GTHA’s transit network to municipalities surrounding the GTHA and to other destinations outside of the region with both public and private transit services, in a manner that supports the urban structure objectives of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and Greenbelt Plan.

1.6 In collaboration with the federal government, Québec and other provinces, private sector passenger transportation operators and other key stakeholders, identify concrete opportunities to align regional and national transportation objectives, including linking regional networks to national and international networks such as VIA Rail.

1.7 Remove barriers to the creation of Bus Bypass Shoulders on controlled-access expressways. Where feasible, create Bus Bypass Shoulders to allow transit vehicles to bypass congested areas.

1.8 Establish protocols within the provincial government to facilitate the use of provinciallyowned lands for transportation facilities.

1.9 Provide municipalities with tools and best practices to leverage funding for local transit and active transportation infrastructure from new development, such as:

  • amending the Development Charges Act to allow municipalities to recover the full, growth-related costs of transit infrastructure, and to base cost recovery on a level of transit service above historical levels;
  • re-directing development charge levies collected within the broader transportation envelope to a variety of modes, including Transportation Demand Management and active transportation, so as to support the goals and objectives of the RTP, rather than extend past patterns into the future;
  • facilitating value-capture related to transit by expanding the use of special-area ratings of benefiting areas or developments; and/or
  • negotiating accelerated transit infrastructure investment in exchange for voluntary contributions from benefiting property owners.

1.10 Work with the region's public and private transportation providers, municipalities and large 24-hour trip generators to coordinate existing after-hours services and work towards the establishment of a region-wide 24-hour base transit network that serves entertainment districts, shift employers, and other areas of high demand in evening off-peak hours.

1.11 Identify, prioritize and resolve gaps and bottlenecks in the transit network, particularly where they cross municipal boundaries.


1.12 Road-based transit shall make optimum use of existing road infrastructure, and minimize the need for road extensions, widenings and new roads.

1.13 To the maximum extent possible, new transit infrastructure, including transit vehicles and technologies, should be compatible across the region and utilize common international standards. This would allow for better integration of transit services, inter-operability across the region, and cost-effective procurement.

1.14 Official Plans, secondary plans and municipal Transportation Master Plans should identify transit priority zones where transit priority measures will be put in place and where transit agencies could be allowed to enforce traffic and parking operations to ensure the optimal function of transit operations.

The regional rapid transit network in Schedules 1 and 2 identifies several types of transit service: Express Rail, Regional Rail, Subway, and Other Rapid Transit (comprises Light Rail Transit, Bus Rapid Transit, Automated Guided Transit, and other technologies). These categories are based on the level of service provided. Within each category, several types of technologies are possible. Many of these categories overlap. Subsequent to the RTP, projects identified in the regional rapid transit network will undergo a more detailed Benefits Case Analysis to determine the most appropriate technology.

More information on these categories and technologies is available in the backgrounder entitled “Transit Technologies, December 2008”.


Yamanote line Yamanote Line (Tokyo)
Réseau Express Régional Réseau Express Régional (Paris)
Bay Area Rapid Transit Bay Area Rapid Transit (San Francisco)

High-speed trains, typically electric, serving primarily longer-distance regional trips with two-way, all-day service. Station locations would generally be the same as those of regional rail, but with faster and more frequent service.

Average Speed: 50 – 80 kilometres per hour
Frequency: as low as five minutes between trains
Capacity: 25,000 – 40,000 passengers per hour
Stations: two to five kilometres apart



River Line River Line (New Jersey)
Deux-Montagnes Line Deux-Montagnes Line (Montréal)
GO Train GO Train (GTHA)

Diesel-electric or electric trains serving primarily longer-distance regional trips.

Average Speed: 30 – 50 kilometres per hour
Frequency: as low as 10 minutes between trains
Capacity: 5,000 – 20,000 passengers per hour
Stations: two to five kilometres apart



Toronto Subway Toronto Subway (Toronto)
Tunnelbanan Tunnelbanan (Stockholm)
Metro DC Metro (Washington D.C.)

High capacity, heavy rail transit that is fully-grade separated from other traffic, predominantly underground.

Average Speed: 25 – 50 kilometres per hour
Frequency: as low as 90 seconds between trains
Capacity: 25,000 – 40,000 passengers per hour
Stations: spacing varies depending on desired speeds



T3 Tram T3 Tram (Paris)
Rede Integrada de Transporte Rede Integrada de Transporte (Curitiba, Brazil)
RandstadRail RandstadRail (Netherlands)

A broad category that includes Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), Automated Guided Transit (AGT) and other technologies that operate completely or mostly in their own rights-of-way, separate from mixed traffic. Also includes buses operating in mixed traffic on controlled-access expressways that employ congestion management such as tolls, thereby allowing the buses to maintain high average speeds. Speed and reliability can be increased significantly with gradeseparation from other traffic (i.e. above-ground or below-ground) that allows the transit to bypass or have priority at signalized intersections.

Average Speed: 15 – 40 kilometres per hour (higher for dedicated bus transitways on controlled-access expressways or in mixed traffic on tolled controlled-access expressways)
Frequency: as low as 90 seconds between trains/buses
Capacity: 2,000 – 25,000 passengers per hour
Stations: spacing varies depending on desired speeds

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