Integrated Public Transportation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE

We will be reaching out to stakeholders within our region to envision positive transportation solutions as a working group.
Please join in with your name and ideas. Every insight helps!

Visit our website:

www.gettingthere.ca

You can’t get there from here might have some meaning for residents of our region of SW Ontario. Looking at the needs of our region, there seem to be increasing challenges in transportation, and especially public transportation. Public transportation has been a part of our culture for a long time, going right back to the Last Spike and the creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Although roads have replaced rails in many places, public transportation itself is a public service that we still seem to want as part of our landscape.  Much like other developed nations, we don’t expect everyone to provide their own transportation. Just as our roads, airports and the auto industry are subsidized, so we expect public transportation to have some support from our transportation budgets. Not everyone has a car, not everyone can drive.

What if you want to commute to work on a train and work on your computer on the way to work and home again? What if you’re a senior and prefer a train to using a car on highways that are fast and crowded?  What if you have an illness requiring specialized care and you need public transportation to get you to appointments in medical centres?  What if you’re a student or a young professional, expecting to work on-line to some degree, but to have access to job centres, colleges and universities via reliable public transportation? What if you’re unemployed and required to respond to job offers within the region- but you can’t get there?  What if you are assisting family and don’t have your own transportation? What if, what if, what if. There are quite a few what ifs, along with a few givens.

As far back as early canals, trains and coaches, and into the future of regional transportation programmes in Europe, all systems anticipated TOD, or Transit Oriented Development-  which has indeed happened. Build reliable public transportation and development will follow, with enhanced communities, businesses and services locating along transit lines, ideally rail, given the convenience of systems independent of traffic and weather, and  “user-friendly.

In France, a regional system has been established, where regions of the country determined their own public transportation needs, and how they would be met.  In a form of partnership, the central government and the regions worked together to create a remarkably efficient system responsive to the needs and designs expressed by each region. This required initial financial commitment, but increased ridership to such a degree that it is now beginning to turn a profit- even before the completion of high speed rail lines anticipated to increase ridership even more.

We need to have a discussion in SW Ontario.  We are a region, highly dependent on public transportation, on a personal level for individuals, and on business levels for companies and employees.   CFUW Stratford, the Canadian Federation of University Women, working together with other regional groups and within Stratford will be inviting the residents of SW Ontario to enter into a discussion, a conversation, about integrated public transportation policy.

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