Posts Tagged ‘Parapan Am’

shifting how we think about transportation

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

shifting how we think about transportation

One of the great things about huge events like the Pan Am and ParaPan Am Games is seeing how people adjust to the changes the event brings. Leading up to the Toronto 2015 Games, there were some concerns that the Games would cause severe traffic congestion. But thanks to some extra emphasis put on transit and carpooling across the GTA, people have been exploring other choices in how to get around. This, in turn, has likely helped reduce traffic congestion. Whether it’s taking transit, bicycling or carpooling to make use of HOV lanes, every little bit helps.

It’s a shift that takes some getting used to, adjusting to a new routine using a new mode of transit. And it’s this “modal shift” that is so important when developing transit for a growing community.

Most days of the week, many of our roads and intersections are at capacity or beyond. They’re not going to get any less congested as our cities and regions continue to grow, and since there’s limited space in the GTA for roads, there are really only two ways to address congestion.

The first way involves road design, traffic signals and traffic detection systems – known as Intelligent Transportation Systems or ITS, York Region uses this approach to make our existing roads better.

The other approach, which is known to traffic engineers as transportation modal shift but to everyone else as reducing our reliance on cars, is probably the best long-term strategy to reduce traffic congestion. Modal shift means cutting down on the number of trips made by one form of transportation by shifting to other forms of transportation, including transit, cycling or walking.

Modal shift may sound a little technical, or maybe it’s hard to imagine – as if people would get out of their cars all at once and climb onto buses and trains. But really it’s just a matter of small changes in behaviour: taking the bus to the GO station or subway every now and then; carpooling with your co-worker; walking to the convenience store instead of driving; helping the kids bike to school instead of giving them a ride.  All great ideas that the people at Smart Commute and Pembina Institute advocate for.

For successful modal shift, major infrastructure and land use decisions need to be in place, followed-up by investments.  Transit needs to be convenient and reliable; shops and schools need to be within reasonable walking distance; there need to be bike lanes; and jobs need to be located near housing.

Fortunately, all of the long-term decisions and investments that will eventually encourage and enable more people to reduce their reliance on cars are already underway in York Region.  Modal shift away from cars will be able to happen because people will be offered easier, more convenient and reliable ways to get around.

A gradual shift toward other modes of transportation will reduce congestion on our roads. It’s a long-term process, requiring patience, careful planning, and commitment.  It’s also a big part of the vivaNext vision, and with every rapid transit project we build more transportation choices, and the vision becomes an exciting reality.


when transit is the star, good things happen

Friday, July 17th, 2015

more riders transit legacy

One of the most valuable legacies of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games is the reliance on transit. In fact, the first vivaNext rapidway on Highway 7 East in Markham and Richmond Hill is actively being used during the Pan Am Games.

And it turns out there’s more to the story.

In an article in this morning’s Globe and Mail, urban transportation reporter Oliver Moore points out that the experience of all these Pan Am transit riders is painting a picture of how great having effective efficient mass transit can be when transit systems are in place, and when transit is actively supported and promoted.

For example:
• The transit agencies across the GTHA are working together more
• People are changing their habits as drivers become riders
• Buses on HOV lanes maintain schedules or are often ahead of schedule

“For riders, it is a glimpse of how fast and reliable surface transportation can be – offering a real alternative – if it does not have to compete with other traffic,” notes Moore.

Now’s that’s a legacy we @vivaNext can get excited about!

Click to read the article.

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moving the masses: Pan Am and Parapan Am Games rely on mass transit to make it all happen

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Get ready, the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games are coming to the Greater Toronto Area!

Get ready, the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games have arrived! This is the world’s third-largest international multi-sport games. That means 250,000 visitors, and over 7,000 athletes converging on the GTA this July and August.

When you want to move the masses, you need mass transit.

Imagine 1.4 million spectators [that’s how many tickets there are for the Pan Am Games] potentially trying to make their way to over 300 events all over the GTA from July 10 to 26. Or 50,000 people all going downtown on a single night to attend the Opening Ceremonies at Rogers Centre on July 10.

Without transit, getting people to mega-events like this would be traffic chaos. The Toronto Pan Am/Parapan Am Games is relying on mass transit infrastructure to make it all happen. Organizers have adopted what they call a “transit-first approach” – doing all that they can to get people to take transit during the Games.

  • Tickets to the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games include free transit with local services such as GO Transit, Toronto Transit Commission [TTC], YRT/Viva  and many more.  Just show your Games ticket and ride for free.
  • Extra TTC and GO train service will run during the Games and subway service will start at 6am on Sundays instead of the usual 9am.
  • Several games venues won’t have parking. [Accessible parking is allowed, but should be pre-booked.]
  • Apps and online tools can help people optimize their transit and driving routes.
    • Triplinx is Metrolinx’s interactive transit trip planning tool, which launched in May, and provides step-by-step, real-time directions for transit riders.
    • 2015 Games Trip Planner provides real-time driving and transit routes during the Games.
    • The ‘Call One’ Call Centre, run by York Region Transit, will allow Games spectators to book specialized transit, coordinating service between GO Transit and all nine specialized transit service providers in the Games area, including York Region Transit Mobility Plus.

Our first rapidway on Highway 7 East in Markham and Richmond Hill is ready for the Pan Am Games. While it wasn’t planned specifically for this event, the rapidway will make travelling to events at Markham Pan Am/Parapan Am Centre near Kennedy Road and Enterprise Boulevard much easier.

Major international events like this will often spur the creation of transit infrastructure. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games led to the creation of the Canada Line, a light rail train in Vancouver that connected the city to the airport.

Vancouver Olympics organizers encouraged spectators and commuters to turn to transit during the Games, just as Pan Am/Parapan Am Games planners are doing now.

Transit service in Vancouver experienced record ridership during the Olympics, up 31 percent with an average daily ridership near 1.6 million.

There was also an amazing, surprising after-effect. Once people got used to riding transit, they kept riding, even when the Olympics were over.

Ridership increased by nearly eight percent that year, excluding the Olympics numbers, which was partly due to the new Canada Line, and partly due to people keeping up their Olympic transit habit.

Now that’s a legacy for the future.

For mass events, transit just makes sense. When everyone has so many places they need to be all at once, it’s so much easier to be car-free, sit back and enjoy the ride.