It often appears as if the GTHA’s current transportation system is designed and operated with the needs of the transportation provider in mind, rather than those of the traveller. With limited resources available to them, local transit agencies have had to focus on meeting immediate demands.

To achieve an effective transportation system, this must change. The comfort and convenience of the traveller must be the primary consideration in how the transportation system is planned, designed and operated. Regional travel must be made more convenient and barrier-free as travellers transfer between modes, services and across municipal boundaries. Travellers must have the information they need to make the best choices about whether, when, where and how they travel. Planning a trip with certainty, regardless of destination or mode, should be easy for travellers or commercial users. Most of all, the system needs to strive to make transportation a more reliable and enjoyable experience for users.



An information system for travellers, where and when they need it.

5.1 Create a regional transportation information portal that is accessible online and by telephone, e-mail or smart phone that provides all users of the transportation system with comprehensive, easily accessible and standardized information on the full-range of transportation alternatives and optimal routings available to them, as well as the status of all of the elements of the transportation network.

PDA Get information about schedules or delays sent to your cell phone or PDA.
Real-time information Real-time information at transit stations will tell you when the next transit vehicle will arrive.
online trip planner An online trip planner will help you choose the best way to get to your destination.

5.2 Establish region-wide standards and public reporting requirements for all transit services in the GTHA that are appropriate to the local context, and that address customer service issues such as minimum service frequency, crowding, safety, service reliability including ontime performance and cancellations, cleanliness, responsiveness and customer satisfaction.

5.3 Coordinate schedules among transit service providers, including demand-responsive services for persons with disabilities. Establish best practices that ensure GO Transit and local transit agencies provide each other with a minimum 90-days’ notice before implementing any changes in service, to allow time for agencies to adjust and coordinate their schedules.

5.4 Establish customer service centres at all mobility hubs where travellers can obtain information on schedules, connecting trips, fares and other information for any transportation provider in the region.

5.5 Equip all mobility hubs, and key transit stations and stops with real-time information displays that tell transit riders the arrival time of the next transit vehicle, and what alternatives are available in the event of a service disruption.

5.6 Phase out the restrictions that currently prevent transit agencies from picking up passengers while passing through neighbouring jurisdictions.

5.7 Encourage developers to provide information about transportation alternatives, including local transit routes and schedules, and active transportation networks, to new home buyers.

Regional transportation information portals in places such as Helsinki, Lyons and Singapore provide travellers with information on a wide range of matters including:
  • schedules, routes and fares for public transit as well as inter-city motor coach and rail services;
  • real-time location and arrival time of individual transit vehicles;
  • walking and cycling routes;
  • accessibility of stations, stops and vehicles;
  • road and transit closures, construction and detours;
  • planned infrastructure improvements;
  • school bus cancellations;
  • parking lot locations, costs and availability;
  • carpooling and car-sharing opportunities;
  • air quality conditions and smog alerts;
  • a personal carbon footprint calculator that allows people to compare the environmental impacts of their transportation options; and
  • opportunities for contributing to local carbon offset programs.

5.8 Undertake individualized social marketing campaigns directed at the household level to reach every household near rapid transit approximately every three years with information about transportation alternatives, including local transit routes and schedules.

5.9 Develop a consistent set of procedures, visual and audio cues, and wayfinding measures, that make the transit system easier to use and navigate, including consistent numbering and naming of transit stations and stops, consistent schedules, and common transit signage standards.

5.10 Expand the availability of overhead display boards on roads and highways that show the estimated time to key destinations and notify travellers of delays and alternative routes.

Portland, Oregon was the site of the first large-scale individualized social marketing project in North America. The project, called TravelSmart, reached more than 14,000 people in 2004 after a new MAX light rail line was opened. Thousands of households in the TravelSmart area received information on transit, walking and cycling. Subsequent surveys showed that after the light rail line opened, the growth in transit trips was 24 per cent in the area where there was no individualized marketing project, but 44 per cent — almost twice as much — in the TravelSmart area.


5.11 All relevant decision-making, such as planning, designing, financing and operating the transportation system, locating major trip generators, and designing communities and individual buildings, should promote a shift in travel behaviours to the maximum extent that is feasible, based on the following passenger transportation hierarchy:

  1. Trip reduction, shortening or avoidance
  2. Active transportation
  3. Transit
  4. Ride-sharing and taxis
  5. Single-occupant vehicles

5.12 The needs of all travellers, including transit users, cyclists and pedestrians, shall be considered as part of all planning decisions by:

  • obtaining the input of transit agencies and public health departments on all major planning and transportation matters; and
  • requiring, as part of planning applications, a comprehensive transportation impact study that is integrated with the applicable municipal Transportation Master Plan and that considers the impacts of the new development on all forms of transportation as well as the impacts of induced traffic.

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