Transit Equity Planning in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

Michael Collens, 2016
Vol. 22 No. 8 ISSN 1702-3548 (online)


This portfolio consists of four sections written as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) degree. Section 1 consists of my research and written contributions towards a report co-written with Sean Hertel and Roger Keil entitled Switching Tracks: Towards Transit Equity in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (Hertel et al, 2015). My contribution comprises Parts 3-7, where a definition of transit equity is advanced, how inequity impacts different publics is highlighted, and some solutions used to address transit inequities are explored. The contents of Section 1 sets the stage for each subsequent section. Section 2 is a long abstract and presentation prepared for an academic conference, co-written and presented with Sean Hertel, intended to situate and connect the work conducted in Section 1 within an academic milieu. The presentation in Section 2 closes with questions posed for further research on how to identify symptoms of transit equity and how to situate transit equity objectives within the planning profession. A proposed methodology towards future research was proposed as a launching point for the research project contribution in Section 3. Finally, Section 2 is intended to help continue the dialogue on transit equity sparked by the Greater Toronto Suburban Working Group (GTSWG), co-chaired by Roger Keil and Sean Hertel, presented by The City Institute of York University (CITY) and hosted by Metrolinx, bringing together academics, planners, community activists, representatives from the development industry and non-profit service sector. Section 3 consists of a research project conducted as a contribution towards a report co-written with Sean Hertel and Roger Keil entitled Next Stop: Equity: Routes to Fairer Transit Access in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (Hertel et al, 2016). I used a case study approach anchored by the literature review conducted in Section 1 to explore five specific neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to illustrate how transit inequity manifests in various ways at the neighbourhood scale. Section 4 of the portfolio is an article co-written with Sean Hertel to engage with the planning profession, published in the Ontario Planning Journal. Section 4 presents a synopsis of the work on transit equity in Section 1, Section 2, and Section 3. The article establishes the imperative for planners to be active participants in achieving transit equity. The article advances a working definition of transit equity as it applies to transit planning, why equity in transit planning is important for achieving provincial planning objectives, and how transit equity objectives are situated within the planning regime in Ontario.