You know that feeling when you're hurried to get to work or an appointment downtown but the subway trains are all packed? So you fidget with angst until a less jam-packed car zooms into the station? Now, multiply that stress by 20 times. That's what it feels like to be a disabled man or woman waiting for a subway train in Toronto, at any time of day.
Premier Kathleen Wynne's solution to the transportation infrastructure problem is to spend a whopping $50 billion of taxpayer money over the next 25 years to build an expansive rail network. By 2040, Toronto may finally have the subways that other cities built nearly 200 years earlier. But can you imagine what the world will look like in 2040? We are on the cusp of explosive new technologies that will revolutionize how we commute. Innovative tech startups are fixing the problems we currently have with cars: that they pollute too much, are too expensive for many, and congest our overcrowded roads. Here are three notable examples of ideas and companies that will change transportation as we know it.
The recent announcement by the federal government that it will fund Toronto's subway system is not good news for Canada. It means more of the same style of infrastructure funding we have always had. Instead of predictable, reliable and rules based projects, Canada is riddled with a mish mash of almost completed and almost dead projects politicians pick and choose to save (or not).
Gridlock in the Toronto region costs the economy billions of dollars a year, harms our environment, and leaves lower income people literally sitting on the bus for hours each day. If I were advising the new Premier of Ontario today, my advice would consist of one simple statement: Get the shovels in the ground now. Build the transit lines that we already have funding for -- then speak to the people about how to pay for the remaining lines. We must seize the moment when the funding and political will exist if we are to meet the needs of our residents and businesses and overcome decades of inertia.
Public transit riders in Toronto have been coming face-to-face with farm animals thanks to an ad campaign that asks "Why love one but eat the other?" We expected strong reactions to the campaign and we got them.
There are thousands of commuters pouring into the city every day, and I suspect many of them would vie for public transit if it were accessible, reliable and seamless. But initiatives always seem to get shelved for the same reasons -- there's no funding, or one level of government points to another as the unwilling partner.