What is the Future of Urban Transportation?

Featuring Ahmed El-Geneidy, Professor, McGill School of Urban Planning; Howaida Hassan, General Supervisor – Urban Growth, City of Edmonton; Timothy Papandreou, Founder & CEO, Emerging Transport Advisors; and Tania Wegwitz, Senior Transportation Planner & Transit Lead, Watt Consulting Group

5 Key

A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation

1. Transportation is an essential service

Within a short time frame, transportation services across Canada have transformed in order to meet the continued demand during COVID-19. Most importantly, public transportation ensures that Canada’s front-line workers find their way to work each and every day. Will COVID-19 change the way we value public transportation in the long-term?

2. Transit is an equity issue, now more than ever

Not all Canadians have the luxury of owning a car and as such, there are many Canadians who continue to rely on public transportation. Not all demographics use public transportation at the same rate and this remains true during COVID-19. How can we ensure that public transportation is providing the best service possible for those who need it most?

3. We need to reevaluate the cost of transportation

With reduced ridership and the implementation of free transit across many Canadian cities in response to COVID-19, there are serious concerns about how municipal governments will continue to fund these services.  While the costs of public transit are tangible, it would be valuable to gain a better understanding of the costs of empty roads. Have we been over-subsidizing the private car ownership model?

4. Window of opportunity for active modes of transportation 

With the increased uptake of cycling and other outdoor pursuits, COVID-19 presents a unique window of opportunity for the promotion of active modes of transportation. Perhaps behaviours adopted during this time will continue after social distancing restrictions are lifted.

5. The time for bold ideas is now

As we transition out of this pandemic, there is an incredible opportunity for Canadian cities to pursue new and innovative ideas when it comes to both the use of public space and the provision of public transportation. The time for bold ideas is now.