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Metrolinx 2041: Building on the Big Move plan [free access]

April 1, 2018

In March 2018, Metrolinx released a Draft Plan Engagement Report for the 2041 Regional Transportation Plan (2041 RTP) to develop an integrated transportation system for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The 2041 RTP builds on the success of an earlier plan, The Big Move, which was released in 2008 and involved an investment of over CAD30 billion in rapid transit by 2031.

 

Transportation in GTHA

 

GTHA has a population of 7.2 million and covers 30 municipalities. There are nine conventional municipal transit agencies, eight specialised transit agencies, and one regional transit agency (Metrolinx) in the region. The total annual ridership is about 728 million passengers. Figure 1 provides key facts about GTHA’s transportation system.

 

Figure 1: Key facts about GTHA transportation system

image001_831

Source: 2041 RTP Draft

 

The Big Move

 

The Big Move identified nine major transit projects and 10 strategies to create an integrated multimodal transportation system by 2031. Of the planned action and policies, 31.5 per cent is completed, 62 per cent is in progress and 6.5 per cent is to be initiated.

 

The recently completed projects under the Big Move include the following:

 

 

A total of 14 transit projects are in progress (under construction or in engineering design stage). These include GO RER, five light rail transit (LRT) systems, three BRT systems, four GO Transit extensions and a subway extension. Table 1 provide details of the upcoming transit projects.

 

Table 1: Transit projects in progress

Project

Mode

Route/Description

Length (km)

Expected date of completion

Yonge BRT (North)

BRT

Savage Road to Davis Drive

2.4

2018

Yonge BRT (South)

BRT

Highway 7 to 19th Avenue/Gamble Road

6.5

2018

Highway 7 West BRT

BRT

Yonge Street in Richmond Hill to Helen Avenue in Vaughan

16

2019

Bloomington GO Extension

Commuter rail

Gormley to Bloomington Road and Highway 404 in Richmond Hill

4

2019

Eglinton Crosstown LRT

LRT

Mount Dennis to Kennedy

19

2021

Hurontario LRT

LRT

Port Credit GO station in Mississauga to Steeles Avenue in Brampton

20

2022

Niagara GO Service

Commuter rail

Confederation in Hamilton to Niagara Falls

62

2023

Bowmanville GO Extension

Commuter rail

Oshawa to Bowmanville

20

2024

Hamilton B-Line LRT

LRT

McMaster University to Eastgate Square in Hamilton

14

2024

GO Regional Express Rail (RER)

Commuter rail

Not applicable

Not applicable

2024

Scarborough Subway

Subway

Scarborough Centre to Kennedy

6

Before 2028

Sheppard East LRT

LRT

Don Mills to east of Morningside Avenue

13

Before 2028

Source: 2041 RTP Draft

 

Table 2 provide details of the transit projects in planning stage.

 

Table 2: Transit projects under planning

Project

Mode

Scope of work

Route

Length (km)

Brampton Queen St. BRT/LRT

BRT/LRT

Upgrade of existing Queen St. Zum to rapid transit; links downtown Brampton and York Region

Downtown Terminal in Brampton to Highway 50 at the Vaughan border

13

Dundas BRT

BRT

BRT corridor along Dundas Street; linking Toronto, Mississauga and Oakville

Kipling Station in Toronto to Bronte Road in Oakville

22

Dundas West Priority Bus

Bus

Priority Bus along Dundas Street

Brant Street in Burlington to Bronte Road in Oakville.

18

Durham-Scarborough BRT

BRT

Upgrade of existing DRT Pulse service to BRT along Highway 2

Sincoe Street in Oshawa to Scarborough Centre in Toronto

36

Eglinton East LRT

LRT

Extension of Eglinton Crosstown LRT eastward

Kennedy Station to Sheppard Avenue East in Toronto

10.7

Eglinton West LRT

LRT

Extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT westward to Pearson Airport

Mt. Dennis in Toronto to Renforth Gateway and Pearson Airport in Mississauga

12

Highway 7 East BRT Extension

BRT

Extension of the Highway 7 rapidway eastward

Unionville GO Station to Cornell in Markham

5.5

Highway 7 West BRT Extension

BRT

Extension of the Highway 7 Viva rapidway westward

Helen St. in Vaughan to Highway 50 at the Brampton border

11.5

Relief Line Subway

Subway

New subway line linking downtown Toronto, Bloor-Danforth Subway and Sheppard Avenue

Osgoode Station to Sheppard Avenue East in Toronto

18

Waterfront East LRT

LRT

LRT corridor along the waterfront

Union Station to Coxwell Ave. in Toronto

7

Waterfront West LRT

LRT

LRT corridor along the waterfront

Union Station in Toronto to Port Credit GO Station in Mississauga

22.3

Yonge BRT (Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket)

BRT

BRT along Yonge Street; links Richmond Hill, Aurora and Newmarket

BRT along Yonge Street; links Richmond Hill, Aurora and Newmarket

14.5

Yonge North Subway Extension

Subway

Extension of the Yonge Subway north into York

Finch Station in Toronto to Highway 7 in Richmond Hill

7.4

Source: 2041 RTP Draft

 

2041 RTP goals and strategies

 

The 2041 RTP aims to create a ‘people-centred’ transportation system, which provides attractive choices to passengers. It has three goals and five strategies, which are illustrated in Figure 2.

 

Figure 2: 2041 RTP goals and strategies  

image003_1363 

Source: 2041 RTP Draft

 

Each strategy includes a number of priority actions, which have been identified by screening alternative projects, programmes, and policies against key performance criteria. Table 3 lists the planned priority actions by strategy.

 

Table 3: 2041 RTP Priority actions by strategy

Strategy

Priority action

Complete the delivery of current regional transit projects

  • Complete projects in progress by 2025
  • Advance projects in planning stage
  • Establish Union Station as the centre of GO RER
  • Co-ordinate planning and implementation of projects with provincial government, federal government and VIA Rail Canada
  • Maintain focus on high speed rail, high frequency rail, shared resources such Union Station and rail corridors,  and service integration

Connect more of the region with frequent rapid transit

  • Implement a comprehensive and integrated Frequent Rapid Transit network by 2041, which includes
    • existing subway, transitway and BRT services
    • 15-minutes GO RER
    • transit infrastructure to remove key gaps
    • Completion of BRT and LRT projects
    • Priority Bus and Priority Streetcar systems to connect existing and planned LRT and BRT
    • Strengthen local transit to provide reliable service in areas of high demand
    • Provide connection to the Frequent Rapid Transit Network
    • Implement a 24-hour transit network composed of strategic regional routes to address growing off-peak markets and destinations
    • Deliver a regional Express Bus Network to serve long-distance transit markets not served by GO RER
    • Improve access to airports and prioritise transit use by airport passengers and workers
    • Strengthen connections between the GTHA and Waterloo Region

Optimise the transportation system

  • Advance the integration of transit services and fares
  • Expand first- and last-mile choices at all transit stations
  • Set consistent high-quality standards for traveller experience
  • Develop and implement a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) strategy
  • Place universal access at the centre of all transportation planning and design activities
  • Eliminate transportation fatalities and serious injuries as per the regional Vision Zero programme
  • Make transportation demand management (TDM) a priority
  • Expand the current high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane network
  • Integrate planning and operations of road traffic and public transport
  • Define and support a regional goods movement system
  • Promote integrated planning for rail corridors

Integrate transportation and land use

  • Develop an approach and framework for Metrolinx to review and provide input to secondary plans, publicly funded development plans and large scale planning applications (e.g., at GO stations) to ensure alignment with the 2041 RTP
  • Make project investments contingent upon transit supportive planning
  • Focus development at mobility hubs and major transit station areas along priority transit corridors identified in the Growth Plan
  • Evaluate financial and policy-based incentives to support transit oriented development (TOD)
  • Plan and design communities to promote shift in travel behaviour consistent with Ontario’s passenger transportation hierarchy
  • Assess the need for a Transportation Planning Policy Statement and a Transportation Master Plan regulation (as provided for in the 2006 Metrolinx Act) to support the implementation of the 2041 RTP

Prepare for an uncertain future

  • Develop a regional framework for on-demand and shared mobility
  • Develop a region-wide plan for autonomous mobility
  • Improve climate resiliency of the transportation system
  • Ensure the safety, security and emergency preparedness of the transportation system
  • Prepare for a future with low-carbon mobility options
  • Develop a regional transportation big data strategy
  • Develop a strategy for innovation in mobility

Source: 2041 RTP Draft

 

Deliverables and outcomes

 

The full implementation of the 2041 RTP will increase the length of the Frequent Rapid Transit network more than 25 times and introduce a regional cycling network that doubles the current length of dedicated cycling facilities, as well as add over 1,000 lane-km of HOV lanes to the region's highways. Figure 3 illustrates the proposed deliverables and outcomes of the 2041 RTP.

 

Figure 3: 2041 RTP proposed deliverables and outcomes

 image005_1118

Source: 2041 RTP Draft

 

Challenges

 

Following are the potential challenges in implementing the policies and actions in the plan:

 

 

Conclusion

 

The implementation and funding of 2041 RTP are the shared responsibilities of Metrolinx and its partners, including federal, provincial and municipal governments. Metrolinx has developed a paper entitled ‘Making It Happen’ that explores analysis and engagement options to implement the plan. Metrolinx intends to further consult with stakeholders – including the provincial government, municipalities and passengers – as it starts each of the projects and to improve the timelines for delivering them.