Introduction

Purpose of this Report

Metrolinx, the transportation authority for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area has embarked on a $36-billion program of capital investment that it calls The Big Move. The program includes more than 30 schemes, ranging from new surface bus rapid transit lanes to subway construction. According to Metrolinx, The Big Move will:

  • double the number of transit riders by 2031, from 2.1 to 4.2 million per day (implying an increase in the share of GTHA commuters using transit from 26% to 39%);
  • reduce average daily commute times from 82 minutes today to 77 minutes.[1]

Metrolinx claims that without The Big Move, transit mode share would continue to fall and average commuting times would increase to 109 minutes per day as traffic congestion worsens.

Metrolinx already has about $11 billion of “committed” funding, and has embarked on several of its “Top 15” schemes. It describes its plans as “aggressive, bold, and doable.” [2] It is now consulting on a variety of new regional taxes and charges to raise a further $25 billion to fund the “Next Wave” of projects.

This report is intended to answer the following questions:

  • Will the Big Move projects achieve the Metrolinx objective of doubling transit ridership?
  • Are these projects consistent with Metrolinx’s own “guiding principles”?
  • Are they well-designed, consistent with international best practice, and integrated with other transport infrastructure?
  • Will they support a shift of inter-regional travel onto transit?
  • Are there alternative, more effective schemes that should be considered?
  • What institutional changes would help Metrolinx produce better results?