Background and Purpose
Over the last several decades Central Ontario has evolved from a Toronto-based employment centre to a large geographic region with many centres of economic activity and concentrations of employment and population. Travel demand is now more dispersed, with travel occurring between many employment areas and residential areas within and outside the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Future population and employment growth in major urban centres will result in an increase in travel demand for both people and goods movement between these centres that are spread across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).
To meet the challenges of future growth in the GGH, the Province released the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe in February 2006. The Growth Plan outlines a set of policies for managing growth and development and guiding planning decisions in the GGH over the next 30 years. A GTA West Corridor is identified in the Growth Plan as part of the policies for infrastructure to support growth.
Prior to approval of the Province’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (February 2006), a number of studies, including MTO’s Central Ontario Strategic Transportation Directions (Draft 2002) indicated that MTO should examine the long-term transportation needs to address a number of areas including future growth in the GTA from Highway 400 westerly to the Guelph area. The GTA West Corridor, identified in the Growth Plan as a “Future Transportation Corridor”, represents a strategic link between the Urban Growth Centres in the west of the GTA such as Downtown Milton, Brampton City Centre, Vaughan Corporate Centre and Downtown Guelph.
As economic activities in the Greater Golden Horseshoe evolve from a Toronto Central Business District based condition to an economy of multiple centres, the Guelph Kitchener/ Waterloo Cambridge triangle is becoming an important area in addition to Downtown Toronto and the several economic centres that surround it.
The concentration of population and employment in the Guelph Kitchener/ Waterloo Cambridge triangle introduces new transportation challenges in the western portion of the Greater Golden Horseshoe. It is important that these economic centres be better linked. This is true not only for the continuing needs of commuter travel which provide the economic workforces, but also for the increasing needs of goods movement between these centres.
In meeting the challenges as described above, it is important that MTO take a comprehensive and long-term approach in planning for future transportation infrastructure. The study will reflect the government policy objectives as outlined in the Growth Plan. These policy objectives call for a transportation network that links Urban Growth Centres through an integrated system of transportation modes characterized by efficient public transit, a highway system for moving people and goods with improved access to intermodal facilities, international gateways (e.g. border crossings), airports and transit hubs.
In addition, the following provincial, federal, regional and local policy documents will help to establish the policy framework within which transportation problems and opportunities and potential solutions will be identified as part of the study:
- Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal, February 2006;
- Greenbelt Act and Greenbelt Plan, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, February 2005;
- The new Provincial Policy Statement (March 1, 2005);
- Central Ontario Strategic Transportation Directions, MTO, (Draft) February 2002;
- Southwest Ontario Strategic Transportation Directions, MTO, (Draft) February 2002;
- Official Plans applicable to area municipalities;
- Straight Ahead – A Vision for Transportation in Canada, Transport Canada, February 2003;
- Niagara Escarpment Plan (June 2005); and,
- Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan (2002).
Metrolinx recently released a draft Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. MTO is using the 25-year plan from the draft RTP to assist with the development of future travel demand in the GTA West Corridor Study. Metrolinx is planning to present the final RTP to the Province in late Fall 2008, following public consultations in late October 2008. MTO will revisit the network assumptions used in the EA study once the RTP is finalized.
The purpose of this EA study is to examine long-term transportation problems and opportunities to the year 2031 and consider alternative solutions to provide better linkages between Urban Growth Centres in the GTA West Corridor Preliminary Study Area, including Downtown Guelph, Downtown Milton, Brampton City Centre and Vaughan Corporate Centre, as identified in the Growth Plan. The Preliminary Study Area is available to download on the Maps and Reports page of this website.