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frequently asked questions



Why does York Region need rapid transit?

More and more people are coming to York Region every day, to live, to work and to shop. This growth will bring with it many benefits, including more choices for housing, employment and recreation. But it also means our roads are getting increasingly congested. World-wide experience shows that the top priority to reduce traffic congestion is to have a great rapid transit network in place, making it easier for people to get around.

What is vivaNext?

VivaNext is the name for York Region’s exciting plan to bring true rapid transit to York Region. The vivaNext network of bus rapid transit, subway extensions and light rail transit is creating a rapid transit system that makes it easy to travel in and around York Region and connect to other transit systems across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

What is Metrolinx?

Metrolinx is a provincial agency created to improve the coordination and integration of all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The organization’s mission is to champion, develop and implement an integrated transportation system for our region that enhances prosperity, sustainability and quality of life.

What is rapid transit?

Rapid transit is defined as a public transit system that provides fast, frequent service, is able to move a lot of people, and runs on its own dedicated tracks or lanes. Examples of rapid transit include subways, light rail transit, and bus rapid transit.

What is bus rapid transit?

Bus rapid transit [BRT] provides fast, convenient service on dedicated lanes using buses. Because it’s built on roads, it offers some flexibility and is faster and less costly to build than rail-based transit. BRT has a higher passenger capacity [ridership], and more frequent service than conventional bus service, carrying up to approximately 8,000 passengers per hour. Light rail and subway are generally considered where future ridership is expected to be higher.

What are rapidways?

What are rapidways?

Rapidways are dedicated lanes in the centre of the road for Viva vehicles only. In response to emergencies, police, fire and ambulance vehicles use the rapidways and cross the median at designated intervals. Stations will be placed every kilometre or so, with passenger access located at intersections. Rapidways will allow Viva vehicles to zip past congested traffic.

What is bus rapid transit?

How much will vivaNext projects cost? Who is paying for them?

Federal, Provincial, and Regional sources fund vivaNext projects with a total budget of $3.2 billion. Of this, $2 billion is for bus rapid transit [BRT] projects on Highway 7, Yonge Street and Davis Drive, in Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Newmarket. BRT costs include road widening for rapidways, vivastations along each corridor, and new facilities, terminals, and vehicles. The York Region section of the Spadina Subway extension north of Steeles Avenue has a budget of $1.1 billion, and $0.1 billion is dedicated to strategic initiatives, including preparations for a Yonge Subway extension. In June 2016, the Province of Ontario committed over $55 million to advance design work on the planned Yonge Subway Extension to 15%.

How will traffic patterns change?

Rapidways will change how motorists will access properties and streets between intersections. Drivers will make safe, easy left turns and U-turns using the dedicated left turn signals at intersections. Each project keeps the same number of lanes for traffic, plus the rapidway lanes down the centre of the road for Viva.

What is the impact of removing mid-block left turns?

Traffic studies show that making turns using left and U-turns at traffic signals is safer and easier than making left turns mid-block.

How do the police, fire and ambulance services travel where there are rapidways?

Emergency service vehicles can use the rapidways and cross the median at designated intervals, to improve their response time and bypass congestion. Emergency services have been, and will continue to be, consulted throughout design and construction.

What about the protection of heritage communities?

Traffic congestion affects our heritage communities. We believe improved mobility is good for everyone. To preserve and protect heritage areas, we have designed Viva to re-join mixed traffic where rapidways cannot be accommodated. For example, there are no rapidway lanes planned through the historical areas of Yonge Street in downtown Richmond Hill and Aurora.

How can I see what is being planned and share my thoughts?

Public input has been really important to the design of our projects, and we are committed to making it easy for you to share your thoughts, suggestions and questions. Exploring is your best way to keep up to date as our projects unfold, learn about exciting new developments, and read about upcoming public meetings. It’s also easy and convenient to get email updates simply by signing up here. We’ll let you know when something is being planned for your neighbourhood. For comments and general enquiries please visit our contact page.