Transportation Czar to fight Congestion

As Mayor, Karen will create Transportation for Toronto – a single, accountable Transportation Czar that will replace the four different divisions and agencies currently responsible for Toronto’s transportation system.

“The City of London, England, was facing a crisis of congestion and did a total re-think on how it served its transportation customers. It brought every transportation-related service under one person. A Transportation Czar…One person whose mission is to ensure that all transportation customers get to where they are going safely, reliably and with minimal delays…One person who knows everything that is happening on our city streets. One person continuously thinking about how to serve those transportation customers better… And do it in the most cost-efficient way… cutting through out-dated bureaucratic barriers…I think it’s time we leveraged this thinking because the payback…is huge.”

Karen Stintz, February 26, 2014

The Challenge – Congestion causing frustration and costing jobs

Congestion is a daily frustration for Toronto families and businesses and costs the regional economy more than $11 billion in lost productivity and jobs.

Congestion affects everyone regardless of whether they drive, take transit, cycle, or walk. And the City is not in a position to successfully fight congestion because responsibilities and accountabilities are spread across multiple City bureaucracies.

It is also not in Torontonians interests to have four different bureaucracies all fighting over the same limited funding resources. These bureaucracies also all have their own plans – parking plans, construction plans, bike plans, pedestrian plans, multi-year TTC plans, and GO plans – but there is no one leader bringing all of these plans together.

It is time to bring all these groups together, create one transportation plan, pool all available funding, and make the best transportation decisions on behalf of Torontonians, regardless of how they choose to get around the City.

Transportation for Toronto

As mayor, Karen will establish Transportation for Toronto to integrate and coordinate all City transportation services, infrastructure and related investments. This agency will be the City’s Transportation Czar responsible for keep the City moving.

The Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto Transportation Services, Toronto’s Parking Enforcement Unit, and the City’s Taxi Licensing and Standards unit will be consolidated into this new agency.

Transportation for Toronto at a Glance

Transportation for Toronto will be accountable to City Council through a Board of Directors chaired by the Mayor and composed of members knowledgeable about transportation systems. The key responsibilities of the agency will include:

1. Integrating management and investment in transportation services and infrastructure (e.g., transit, roads, bridges, cycling, pedestrian ways);

2. Leading long-term transportation planning and funding strategies;

3. Overseeing taxi regulation and parking enforcement;

4. Developing and executing “Smart Commuting” and effective transportation management through the modernization of the City’s transportation systems and development of customer tools;

5. Providing real time information to commuters and taking real time action to address events causing gridlock (e.g., illegal parking, unsynched traffic signals);

6. Coordinating construction efforts with local utilities and other stakeholders; and

7. Liaising with Metrolinx and other municipal transportation agencies.

A single, accountable Toronto Transportation Czar is essential to tackling the political and bureaucratic gridlock that is impeding real world solutions to solving traffic gridlock.

Are there precedents to support this model?

In England, Transport for London (TfL) is responsible for the planning, delivery and day-to-day operation of London’s public transport system. It is directed by a Board whose members are chosen for their understanding of transport matters and appointed by the Mayor of London, who chairs it. On a day-to-day basis, TfL manages London’s buses, subway and light rail and river services. It also manages a 580 km network of roads, all of the city’s 6,000 traffic lights, regulates taxis and runs Barclays Cycle Hire.

Transport for London has been very successful in tackling congestion, most recently with its efforts to coordinate traffic management across various nodes for the London 2012 Olympics.