Let’s Talk Transportation Policy Solutions

This is a guest blog written by Joanna Kyriazis. The opinions expressed in this article are of the author’s, and are not necessarily reflective of the views of GreenPAC.

The transportation sector accounts for 23% of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—second only to the oil and gas sector (accounting for 25%). Provinces such as Ontario have made great strides reducing emissions from industry and electricity sectors over the past ten years; however, not much progress has been made cutting emissions from transportation. What can we do to improve our transportation policy and reduce harmful emissions?

Canadian environmental policy leaders have at least three key opportunities to cut transportation-related emissions available to them right now. They can (1) increase public transit ridership by aligning land use and transportation planning; (2) promote electric vehicles (EVs) powered by low-carbon grids; and (3) encourage active transportation by enhancing cycling infrastructure. How will we make headway on these opportunities in Canadian communities? We need your help putting pressure on local, regional and federal government representatives to show strong environmental leadership and deploy innovative transportation policy solutions today.

Transit-Oriented Development

The first opportunity is to increase public transit ridership. Automobiles currently make up about 81% of all trips in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) area of Ontario. This share rises to 90% when honing in on outer ring municipalities (those farther from the downtown core). Many would attribute this trend to individual preferences and an affinity for personal vehicles, but something else could also be at play.

A joint report by the Pembina Institute and RBC looked at homebuyer preferences in the Greater Toronto (GTA) and found that81% of respondents prefer walkable, transit-friendly neighbourhoods to car-dependent locations. Respondents said t