Toronto Mike

Toronto Traffic Issue

Are you feeling frustrated with Toronto’s worsening traffic congestion?  Well you’re not the only one.

Toronto is obviously Canada's largest city as well as being one of the most active and it is facing a big issue: worsening traffic conditions. As the population increases and traffic grows, the city is struggling to keep up with the demand for transportation. Below are some factors contributing to Toronto's worsening traffic problem to think about:

Population Growth and Urban Expansion:

According to Statistics Canada, Toronto's population(1) has been steadily growing over the past couple of years, reaching over 3 million residents recently. This population growth is made possible through immigration and childbirth. This year, a total of 500,000 people came into Canada from immigration alone and this trend has been continuing and will continue given current governmental policies.  As more people decide to move into the city, the demand and need for transportation options and planning have skyrocketed.

Vehicle Ownership and Usage:

The increase in the number of vehicles on Toronto's roads contributes highly to traffic. Data from the Toronto Transportation Services Division shows that the city had over 2 million registered vehicles in 2020(2), a very large increase from before. The fact is the number of kilometers driven per vehicle in Toronto rose by a noticeable amount, which shows that Toronto citizens have a greater need for cars to get them through the day.

Public Transit Challenges:

While Toronto officials say that the city has a large public transit network, from buses to streetcars and subways run by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), it still faces many issues. Overcrowding, Delays, and maintenance issues have led citizens to switch to private vehicles, increasing issues of congestion on the roads even further.  TTC also lags behind other municipalities of similar size around the world.  As an example Toronto has 70 subway stations and New York has almost 500, not to mention the number of different transit lines servicing those stations.

Economic and Environmental Issues:

Businesses in Toronto face challenges with transporting their goods, which causes increased costs and delays in shipments and deliveries and increases the overall cost of doing business in the city. Adding onto that, idle cars in traffic greatly add to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, worsening the air quality and causing a risk to public health.  Peter, the owner of ErinMillsLimo who has been in business for over 25 years, says that the current traffic situation is not sustainable. It has gotten to the point that he is having to book extra hours for clients to make sure he doesn’t miss engagements.  His wedding limo services, as an example, are now having to account for the nearly constant traffic, with other services such as booking limos for or prom nights affected even by late night congestion.  When speaking last time, Peter was nearly fuming by the news, as covered by the Toronto star, about gardiner lane reduction, reducing the number of lanes to two in certain sections.

Efforts and Solutions:

City officials and transportation experts in the industry talk about finding ways to solve Toronto's traffic mishaps. This includes investments in public transit expansion, bus rapid transit corridors, and new subway lines. As well as ways to promote alternative modes of transportation, such as biking and carpooling initiatives.

All the above don’t even take into account contentious topics such as increase in bike lanes.  The new bloor street bike lane has certainly seen it’s share of public discourse.

According to BlogTO (3), in February, it was reported that traffic congestion costs the city $11 billion per year.

Toronto's traffic conditions are starting to become a serious issue driven by population and economic growth, increased ownership in private vehicles, and growing public transit issues. Data shows the severity of this issue, underlining the urgent need for new and sustainable transportation solutions. As Toronto grows, talking about traffic growth will become a big topic to secure a thriving city environment for all of its residents.

Some references:

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