Public Transportation Problems and Policies to Solve Them
For decades, Canadians have mainly been reliant on transportation in order to get to their destinations such as their place of work, education centers, social hubs and so forth. Public transit has been an emerging urban issue since it is the most used mode of transportation specifically across Toronto since we live in such a dense, multicultural and urbanized city. Accompanied by the immense number of immigrants that come into Canada continuously, policies are always in the need to change and expand in order to accommodate the population equally. As Toronto is a diversified growing city, accepting many immigrants day-by-day and as the rate of urbanization is on a constant rise, this has raised an issue for the people that are public transit users as public transit is causing significant setbacks. Public transportation has emerged an urban issue in regards to keeping up with its population that improving their policies or to enforce new ones as it has become an ongoing political debate amongst the people and political leaders. US as an example as per research and data collected in 2016 for the high number of votes that are for and support public transportation. This is a remarkable source to investigate how political action is necessary towards matters of transit since the political leaders serves the public actions and concerns need to be voiced (Manville & Adam, 2018). The help of the policymakers, political leaders and the government are needed in order to make this as effective, efficient and safe as possible, by implementing policies towards public transit infrastructure such as ‘Metrolinx’ and the ‘TTC’ (Toronto Transit Commission) in the city of Toronto. First, accessibility to public transit services represents an advantage and a drive towards economic growth. Second, affordable transit fares particularly amongst immigrants, low-wage workers and students in regards to help enhance social livability/disadvantage of its residents. Lastly, traffic congestions promote environmental sustainability to reduce carbon gas emissions. Public transit benefits are not always distributed equally among different population groups.
My paper will examine the effects of urban transportation infrastructure by examining sustainability, affordability and accessibility. Specifically, this topic is important because public transportation is a huge contribution to the city’s social livability of its residents, environmental sustainability and economic growth that all interrelate in driving towards a successful urban city.
Public transit is a strong source for a growing economy mainly because they reduce traffic congestion due to the volume of traffic due to our overpopulated city. In despite of the social and economic aspects, efforts into the sustainability of the environment relies on rightful human actions so efforts need to be made into this to benefit the environmental. This is because sustaining the environment is crucial in the urban development of the city.
One major concern that has seriously risen for Torontonians is the traffic congestions which is decreasing the populations mobility to social environments and discomfort due to overpopulation. Traffic congestion is known to have negative impacts on a person’s social livability, which is important due to, increase in stress levels, for instance, if an employee is heading to a meeting and there is traffic, this results in being late. The reason for this is that majority of the people do not wish to use these services due to poor quality that is causing crowding discomfort, which is linked to psychological factor is due to “Over-closeness appears as the most relevant CCD (Centre City District), more than half of respondents rank this feature as the most unpleasant” (Haywood et al., 2017). This is in results of overcrowding in public transit services that are causing invasion of personal privacy space.
Evidently, the method of traffic signal priority (TSP) systems for streetcar systems is seen as a strategy to observe on road traffic conditions and how transit systems can alter the way they proceed and stop through traffic, to ensure stronger passenger security and/or safety, this meaning that we need to improve our tram systems network since this has demonstrated to cut down on commute on a safer ground (Currie & Amer, 2008). In addition, another strategy ‘Nexus’ as an allowance to determine possible failures within a train network for example as a use of service disruption that can be further advanced to shorten commute times through this source of technology, so that these failures are dealt with sooner. This source helps on providing a useful planning tool for sustaining better quality of services and accumulation for public transports in and around the city as a method (Srikukenthiran & Amer, 2017). The reason for this is because, emphasis on the service quality is highly efficient and important by basing this off the methods of statistics, behavioral surveys, and the ‘binary logistic regression model’, and shows how gaining a smart strategy in advancing services will aid in popularity (Imaz et al., 2014). “The findings indicated that traffic congestion has an impact on a large proportion of companies to a major degree, particularly when one considers road haulage costs, delivery schedules from the company, and staff punctuality” (O’Mahony & Finlay, 2004). Services need to be reliable since it creates and promotes economic opportunities since it creates job opportunities so maintenance is strongly important this enabling alternate mobility options are important. This should be done through adding more transit stops are implemented, then this will not only reduce the commute time but will also reduce the time people sit at the stops. A study through identifying the “effects of time, reliability, waiting time, and riding time as measures to calculate the high density and the length of time that travelers use transit” demonstrated that safety measures need to be implemented to our policies in order to destruct crowing in public transit stops (Tirachini et al., 2013). This also helps in reducing the time it takes to commute from place to place which holds people back going to places. causing poor quality of life for existing and future public transit users which will lead them into less use of it which will encourage the public to drive instead.
Policies need to regulate and create better services towards affordable fare rates in order to attract the population to take use of these services. Their life quality is dependent on this since those who are of low-wage status, normally do not own vehicles therefore depend on public transit to be of low cost. In result, this will allow people to reside in their communities more comfortably instead of having financial and commuting stress. “Study the change in quality of life, instrumentalized as perceived and measured social capital, socio-economic well-being, and quality of public infrastructure after transit developments in Medellin, Columbia” (Milan et al., 2017). An academic scholar in support of this is, argues that the need of affordable public transit fares, especially when living in the suburbs since these groups of people will depend on travelling via ‘GO Transit’ since he argues that low-income workers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GHTA) use transit less in accordance to high service fares (Legrain et al., 2016). In result, once changes pursue towards our public infrastructure then this can help eliminate social isolation that it may also cause. Thus, a change in urban design and form such as the expansion of the transit and bus line to rural communities at the same rate as the cost of residents living in the urban core of the city to promote equal services to every region of Toronto.
Public transport is like a huge version of carpool since the capacity of these services are large whereas cars cause individual pollution since majority are driving cars individually. In spirit of further leading to carbon dioxide emission gases that will lean towards global warming due to its relatively high temperature in the Earth’s core. Various methods such as an ‘SD model’ (Systems Dynamic) since it is used as a mathematical technique model in order to support in aid for better transport over the next 30 years as a ‘smart strategy’ emphasizing free bus service (Cheng & Yung, 2015). This will help enhance carbon free public transit service which is a solution for future environmental concerns. Lastly, the desperate need for an extreme policy change over public transit; to be taken into consideration for a better lifestyle for its residents. The importance of this issue abides by the fact that automobiles engage in high carbon emissions which may lead to environmental concerns for today and for the future.
Subsequently, this has been a threat to one’s social life is the high cost of transit fares especially amongst the low-wage workers living in the rural regions of Canada that depend on travelling via the ‘GO Transit’. This is evident through a study conducted by the Census Tract (CT) data to examine the demography that use the GO Transit bus living in Hamilton a suburban area in Toronto, that travel from this particular area to central Downtown Toronto at a high fare cost (Legrain et al., 2016). This study was examined through collecting data from ‘2011 National Household Survey (NHS)’ by Statistics Canada that examine passengers that use the transit over a 24-hour time period per week and results showed that “the multiplicity of transit providers, fares vary widely by scheme and cost, with most single ride fares around $3.00 CAD, whereas on GO Transit fares are based on distance travelled” (El-Geneidy et al., 2015).
In addition to low-wage workers in the rural, such planning policy ideas are also applied to immigrants that are immigrated into the city. This is to help fix the income gaps for immigrant groups that have recently moved to the city, since public transit is the only cheap mode of transportation rather than owning a vehicle since they are trying to settle in Canada. In reference of this, a study was done that explores the gendered perspective on public transit and finds a result of immigrant women whom are reliant on welfare for a temporary period, are most likely to use the public transit due to their current conditions where they can’t afford to buy a car, statistics demonstrated that interviews with a small sample of women immigrants using transit whether it is on the rails or busses in Toronto between the years of 2006 and 2011, was extremely high (Amar & Teelucksingh, 2015). This social structure of society, is also one of Canada’s main duties as per its democratic system which gives the residents who do not own a vehicle a sense of belonging to the city life. This allows them to participate socially resulting which will exclude them from social activities ‘gravity-based accessibility’ measures and how these groups are seen as a minority in a city since they don’t have a sense of having a social life. This source can best be used as one of the major social approaches when observing social isolation and exclusion which is becoming a mandatory social necessity for the people and explains the disconnections and its implications around its social boundaries” (Foth et al., 2013).
Ideally, urban transportation planning in Ontario needs to focus on improving short accessibility to public transit stops since this encourages more people to use. Limited transit accessibility is an ongoing issue for many people since they rely on services to engage in daily economic activities whether it’s a trip to shopping centers, medical clinics, education, workforce and so forth. This is because accessibility plays an important role for driving towards economic growth in a city. Currently, this is mainly concerning the youth, students and low-wage workers, immigrants of the city which are primarily seen as socially disadvantaged groups in Toronto. Considering the fact that the youth under the age of 16 that cannot obtain a driver’s license as per Ministry of Transportation in Ontario and for post-secondary students who attend College or Universities that can’t afford to drive. In accordance to the ‘CNL model’ (Clinical Nurse Leader) have been conducted as methods of research that explores the behavior of post-secondary students and their modes of commuting to universities in the city of Toronto (Hasnine et al., 2018). Results proved that students generally choose public transit as the most used method of transportation by surveying and collecting data from a large sample of students through a diary survey online. Similarly, accessibility in respects to low-wage workers, accessibility to public transit services as a ‘sense of poverty’ due to unequal access to public services since demands in accessible public transit services are needed (Velaga et al., 2012). Thus, improving the current transportation planning policies that are operated by the Big Move’ (Metrolinx) Transportation Act, as policies should alter when transportation is advancing (Filion & Kathleen, 2007). Policies need to be implemented in order to have a stable and equalized social aspect of transportation planning.
Similarly, immigrants are also disadvantaged when it comes to accessing public transit as well. When moving to a new area, transportation is a huge deal specifically when moving into an urban city such as Toronto. As immigration is constantly flourishing in Canada, as per its statistics “in 2006, 6.2 million immigrants were living in Canada. This represents an increase of 13.6% over 2001, and accounts for almost 20% of the nearly 32 million people living in the country” (L.Lo et al., 2015). This is to understand that lack of accessibility is equally important to newcomer residents the same way that it is important for low-wage works since the immigrant population is on the rise that need to be accommodated. Thus, this is to take into consideration that immigrants are newcomers that takes them to time to financially settle, “in Canada, the declining role of the inner city as immigrant reception areas and the increasing importance of the suburbs as new reception points became obvious in 1981 as per Statistics Canada” (L.Lo et al., 2015). This is a result of the high numbers of immigrants increasing in the suburbs due to the low-cost housing market. For instance, public transit needs to expand their subway lines to equally distribute services to such disadvantaged regions, “how the use of technologies support flexible and demand responsive transport services in rural areas” (Velaga et al., 2012). Additionally, accessibility is also beneficial for the city’s economy since shorter accessibility (distance) between residential homes to nearby public transit raises house values in the real estate market. Many desire to have public transport be placed in their neighborhoods since this will increase their land values as per its close accessibility. This is bought by focusing on the power relationship of property values and railway stations; the positive and negative significances that railway stations might cause based on the location of the property on the basis of urban economics. In support of this, residential house values are much higher when in resale if it is nearby a railway station due to convenient accessibility (Debrezion et al., 2007). Evidently, “Quebec City (Canada) through a spatio-temporal analysis of house price variations, the hedonic price model shows that the new service generates an increase in house price ranging from 6.9% to 2.9%, for those properties located close to the service corridor where the population is quite dense” (Dube et al. 2011). This is important because Canada’s economy is heavily dependent on the rising housing market sector.
Accessing and applying these issues to create policies where the means of travel will be far more comfortable and convenient accessible to all. This also enables communities to have more accessibility to public transit when it decides to extend so emphasis on policies towards extension should be placed as per the large budget of the government. Therefore policies need to be enforced and planned around having these services expand in areas where it is most needed in, highly emphasizing on economic improvement.
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