Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents: Quick Links

  1. What is the resumed GTA West Study and why is it still a good idea?
  2. Under what authority is MTO conducting this Environmental Assessment Study?
  3. What has happened since the project was suspended in 2015?
  4. What are the recommendations from Stage 1?
  5. Why is a highway-based solution needed - why can't we just expand transit initiatives and improve other modes of transportation?
  6. What is the study process and what are the key steps for Stage 2?
  7. What are some benefits of the GTA West transportation corridor?
  8. What will the new corridor look like?
  9. What was the Northwest GTA Corridor Identification Study?
  10. Why is my property now within a "focused analysis area" when it was outside of the Northwest GTA Corridor Identification Study?
  11. When will stakeholders know where the new multimodal transportation corridor will go?

1. What is the resumed GTA West Study and why is it still a good idea?

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is undertaking Stage 2 of the Environmental Assessment (EA) Study for the GTA West multimodal transportation corridor. Building on the recommendations from Stage 1, the EA Study will identify the route, determine interchange locations and complete the preliminary design for a new multimodal transportation corridor within the Route Planning Study Area. The new multimodal transportation corridor will include: a 400-series highway, transitway and potential goods movement priority features. The study continues to follow the GTA West Corridor Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference, which was approved by the Ontario Minister of the Environment on March 4, 2008.

The GTA West multimodal transportation corridor is vital transportation infrastructure that will help meet the projected growth in both population and employment identified in the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, and will deliver multiple benefits including

  • Greater connectivity between urban growth centres;
  • Enhanced people and goods movement;
  • Improved commuting; and,
  • Greater economic vitality.

The Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) is an economic driver for the province and addressing transportation needs in the GGH is essential to the competitiveness of our economy. The need for the GTA West Study remains and is reinforced by the Greater Golden Horseshoe population and employment growth forecasts, which identifies more people and jobs by 2041. Building more transportation infrastructure would help alleviate traffic congestion and improve goods movement in the Greater Toronto Area. Protecting a multimodal transportation corridor supports growing communities – it is good practice to do long-range planning for areas under development pressure. More broadly, the ministry is also undertaking the Greater Golden Horseshoe Transportation Plan to identify a strategic network to 2051 and beyond.

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2. Under what authority is MTO conducting this Environmental Assessment Study?

The GTA West Transportation Corridor Route Planning and Environmental Assessment Study is being undertaken as an Individual EA in accordance with the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act and the GTA West Corridor Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference, which was approved by the Ontario Minister of the Environment on March 4, 2008.

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3. What has happened since the project was suspended in 2015?

December 2015

  • The GTA West Study was suspended.
  • Prior to the study suspension, the GTA West Project Team had identified a Technically Preferred Route, but had not yet presented the route to the public.

Spring 2016

  • An independent Advisory Panel was asked to assess the GTA West Study in light of changes in government policies since 2008 and new transportation technologies.

February 2018

  • The Advisory Panel released their report. Then Minister of Transportation announced that the province would not proceed with the GTA West Study.
  • The Ministry of Transportation and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), with support from the Ministry of Energy, initiated a study called the Northwest GTA Corridor Identification Study to identify a protected corridor for future infrastructure needs (transportation and utilities).

November 2018

  • The government releases the 2018 Fall Economic Statement stating that Ontario is doing the work necessary to resume the GTA West Study.

June 2019

  • The GTA West Study was resumed.
  • With the GTA West Study resuming, the Northwest GTA Corridor Identification Study will be discontinued.
  • The GTA West Study will protect lands for a future multimodal transportation corridor (with the exception of utilities).

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4. What are the recommendations from Stage 1?

The Stage 1 Transportation Development Strategy was completed in November 2012. It recommended a multimodal strategy including:

  • Optimizing the existing transportation network;
  • Improving non-roadway transportation modes such as transit and rail;
  • Widening of existing highways; and
  • A new transportation corridor.

Further details on the specific recommendations of the Transportation Development Strategy developed during Stage 1 can be found in the Transportation Development Strategy Report (PDF 19 MB), available below.

Final Transportation Development Strategy Report (November 2012) – Complete

Even with optimizing the existing transportation network, widening existing highways, and the transit expansion projects identified by Metrolinx, additional road capacity is needed.

Stage 2 of this study focuses on the recommendation for a new transportation corridor extending from Highway 400 in the east to the Highway 401/407 ETR interchange area in the west, that includes a 400-series highway, transitway, and potential goods movement priority features.

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5. Why is a highway-based solution needed - why can't we just expand transit initiatives and improve other modes of transportation?

Stage 1 of the Environmental Assessment (EA) focused on taking a broader look at the transportation needs in the western Greater Toronto Area (GTA). As part of this process, the Stage 1 Project Team identified a number of transportation problems and opportunities, and considered a range of potential multi-modal transportation solutions to address the problems and opportunities identified.

Our transportation forecasting was based on the assumption that all transit projects identified in Metrolinx’ Regional Transportation Plan The Big Move (2008) would be implemented. Even with these transit improvements, our transportation forecasting indicated that the highway component of the GTA West transportation corridor is needed to support the growth in population and employment that is coming to this region. As such, Stage 2 of this EA continues with a focus on identifying the route and developing the preliminary design for a new transportation corridor within the identified study area.

The process used during Stage 1 followed a two-stage approach that began with a comprehensive assessment of all of the individual modes of transportation alternatives, including transportation demand management, transportation systems management, transit, freight rail, inter-modal (i.e. transportation of freight in a container or vehicle using multiple modes of transportation like rail, ship, or truck without any handling of the freight itself when changing modes), air, marine, as well as roads and highways, to assess their ability to address the future transportation problems and opportunities. Several alternatives were developed for each individual mode of transportation, and these alternatives were subsequently combined into a broader multi-modal network alternative based on a “building block” approach.

The philosophy of this approach was premised on first including alternatives that would optimize the existing transportation network, followed by non-roadway infrastructure improvements (e.g. freight rail, transit, air, etc.), followed by expansion of the existing highway network. At each stage, the team stopped to assess whether the alternative was capable of fully addressing the transportation problems and opportunities. In this way, a new highway corridor was only considered after the potential for all other modes of transportation, and the expansion of the existing highway network were fully considered and accounted for.

Ultimately, the findings of this work indicated that while there were opportunities to optimize the existing transportation network, improve non-roadway modes of transportation and expand the existing highway network, a new highway corridor extending from Highway 400 in the Regional Municipality of York to the vicinity of the Highway 401/407 ETR interchange in the Regional Municipality of Halton was still required to address the future transportation demands. The need for the GTA West Study remains and is reinforced by the Greater Golden Horseshoe population and employment growth forecasts, reflecting more people and jobs by 2041.

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6. What is the study process and what are the key steps for Stage 2?

The study is being undertaken as an Individual Environmental Assessment in accordance with the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act and the GTA West Corridor Terms of Reference (ToR), which was approved by the Ontario Minister of the Environment on March 4, 2008.

Stage 2 Overall Process Flowchart from 2014 to 2023

Consultation opportunities including Public Information Centres (PICs) and Community Workshops will be held throughout the study to allow interested stakeholders to comment on the alternatives that are generated, as well as the Project Team’s assessment and evaluation of the alternatives, the selection of the Technically Preferred Route, and the preliminary design.

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7. What are some benefits of the GTA West transportation corridor?

The 2006 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe forecasted the population of the area to grow to 11.5 million by 2031. Without changes, by 2031 the average commuter times are expected to increase by 27 minutes a day. The updated 2017 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe forecasted the area to grow to 13.5 million people and 6.3 million jobs by 2041. Building more transportation infrastructure would help alleviate traffic congestion and improve goods movement in the Greater Toronto Area.

The GTA West transportation corridor will help to address the transportation problems and opportunities, resulting in other benefits for local and regional communities and economic development because it will:

  • Help to accommodate future travel demand;
    • Overall demand that will be served is over 300,000 auto vehicles trips/day in 2031; and,
    • Relieve traffic on local roads and parallel highways.
  • Provide a designated transitway as a multimodal alternative;
  • Reduce travel times for commuters and goods;
  • Provide greater connectivity between urban growth centres, with both transit and highway facilities;
  • Provide better connections to residential and employment lands;
  • Address the needs for goods movement in the west GTA and regions beyond;
  • Help to accommodate ‘just in time’ delivery for goods movement (i.e. suppliers help in controlling inventory costs by reliably getting products to the customer just before the customer needs them);
  • Provide greater economic vitality; and,
  • Provide an alternate route in the event of an incident or road closure on local and regional roads.

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8. What will the new corridor look like?

The new multimodal transportation corridor is anticipated to be a 4- to 6-lane highway (within a 110m right-of-way) with a separate adjacent transitway (within a 60m right-of-way). Transitway stations will be located at interchanges and connection points.

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9. What was the Northwest GTA Corridor Identification Study?

The North West GTA Corridor Identification Study (NW GTA), was a joint planning study to identify lands for a multipurpose linear infrastructure corridor. This study aim was to identify a narrow corridor of lands that could be protected over the long term for potential development of future linear infrastructure, as approved through applicable EAs. With the resumption of the GTA West EA, the NW GTA study will not be proceeding.

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10. Why is my property now within a “focused analysis area” when it was outside of the Northwest GTA Corridor Identification Study?

The GTA West Study is resuming from the point of suspension in December 2015 and is following the Individual Environmental Assessment process and GTA West Corridor Environmental Assessment Terms of Reference, which was approved by the Ontario Minister of the Environment on March 4, 2008. As a result, the Focused Analysis Area (FAA) from December 2015 is back in place for the short-term while the Project Team updates and completes the route evaluation. The 2015 Focused Analysis Area (2015 FAA) is a zone surrounding the short list of route alternatives. Properties located within the 2015 FAA could be directly impacted by the GTA West multimodal transportation corridor, ancillary uses, or if refinements are made to the route alternatives. At Public Information Centre #2, which is anticipated for Fall 2019, the Technically Preferred Route and a reduced FAA will be shown to the public.

We recognize the potential impacts of the temporary expansion of protected lands and are moving quickly to get to Public Information Centre #2 in Fall 2019.

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11. When will stakeholders know where the new multimodal transportation corridor will go?

The Technically Preferred Route for the new multimodal transportation corridor will be presented at the second round of Public Information Centres (PIC), which are tentatively scheduled for Fall 2019. While preliminary design of the corridor will still be required to identify specific property impacts, stakeholders will have a good indication of where the new transportation corridor will be located at PIC #2. At the third round of Public Information Centres, the Project Team will present the preliminary design of the preferred route, which will identify the associated potential property.

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