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Guidelines for Municipal Official Plan Preparation and Review

2. Transportation Planning Policies and Guidelines

Transportation Planning Policies and Guidelines

Municipalities will be required to demonstrate that their official plans conform to the transportation-related policies in the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) and in relevant provincial plans such as the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Greenbelt Plan, Niagara Escarpment Plan, Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan and Parkway Belt West Plan where applicable.

The transportation-related policies of the PPS and Growth Plan are complemented by various implementation tools – including, but not limited to, other provincial plans, guidelines and best practices. These tools and materials are available to assist planning authorities and decision-makers with implementing the policies of the PPS, Growth Plan and Regional Transportation Plan by illustrating ways for the policies to be implemented.

2.1 Transportation Planning Policies

2.1.1 Provincial Policy Statement (PPS)

All municipal OPs in Ontario are required to be consistent with the policies set out in the PPS. The PPS contains clear overall policy directions on matters of provincial interest related to land use planning and development. The "shall be consistent with" rule means that municipalities are required to ensure that policies under the PPS are applied as an essential part of the land use planning decision-making process.

Sections 1.6.5 and 1.6.6 of the PPS relate specifically to transportation and infrastructure policies. However, policies included in many other sections of the PPS could influence transportation systems and will be taken into account during MTO's review of the OP. OPs shall be consistent with the PPS in its entirety.

MTO, in collaboration with MMAH, will review municipal plans to ensure conformity with the PPS under the One Window Planning System, and in some cases, through the Municipal Plan Review process. For more information:

2.1.2 Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe

In addition to the considerations listed above, all official plans for municipalities within the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) are also required to conform to the policies of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The Growth Plan was released in June 2006 and outlines a set of policies for managing growth and development and guiding planning decisions in the Greater Golden Horseshoe over 25 years. This broad-based plan represents a planning "vision" for the GGH. The Places to Grow Act (2005) requires that planning decisions made by the province, municipalities and other authorities conform to the policies contained in the Growth Plan.

Within the Growth Plan, Sections 3.2.2, 3.2.3 and 3.2.4 contain specific transportation-related policies with which municipal OPs must conform. These policies include the promotion of transit, bicycling, walking, and transportation demand management, the identification of multi-modal corridors and the facilitation of efficient goods movement. In addition, policies in other sections of the Growth Plan have important implications for transportation, especially those regarding where and how the region will grow, such as in Sections 2.1 and 2.2 which promote compact, complete communities that are walkable and transit-supportive in planning and design. The policies of the Growth Plan must be viewed in their entirety when considering transportation planning, and OPs must conform with the entire Growth Plan

For more information:

2.2 Other Plans, Guidelines and Best Practices

2.2.1 HOV Network Plan

The Province has drafted a plan to reduce traffic congestion on many of the highways in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) by adding high occupancy vehicle ( (HOV) lanes. HOV lanes provide an incentive for people to carpool or take transit; thus they move more people in fewer vehicles. Giving people better alternatives to driving alone is one of the most effective ways to tackle congestion now and to provide a transportation system that is more sustainable in the future. Official plans should incorporate the priorities and objectives of the HOV network plan.

For more information:

2.2.2 Transit-Supportive Guidelines

In communities of all sizes, environmental, social and economic concerns provide an impetus for creating more transit–supportive communities. The Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) includes a number of transit-supportive planning policies that all Ontario communities must be consistent with. MTO’s 2012 Transit-Supportive Guidelines are intended to assist municipalities in implementing the policies and objectives of the PPS as well as those of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, where applicable.

The Transit-Supportive Guidelines provide strategies, case studies and resources to assist land use planners, transit planners, municipal politicians, developers, transportation engineers and others in creating an environment that is supportive of transit and in increasing transit ridership.

These guidelines are a distillation of transit-friendly land use planning, urban design and operational practices, drawing from experiences in Ontario, elsewhere in North America and abroad. They include transit-supportive principles and strategies to promote development patterns that make transit less expensive, less circuitous, more efficient and more convenient, and to enhance the service and operational characteristics of transit systems to make them more attractive to potential transit users.

For more information:

2.2.3 A Guide to Preparing a Transit Ridership Growth Plan

In 2005, MTO, with the support and assistance of the municipal sector, developed A Guide to Preparing a Transit Ridership Growth Plan. The guide was developed to assist municipalities in preparing their own municipal transit ridership growth plans. The Guide is a generic best practices guide that outlines general strategies to achieve ridership growth. It also suggests commonly used initiatives for both conventional and specialized transit.

For more information contact MTO's Provincial Transit Policy Office at 416-585-7387.

2.2.4 Bicycle Policy

The ministry’s Bicycle Policy, which defines MTO’s role in supporting cycling, is under review. While the policy is under review, municipalities that would like to construct cycling facilities that impact provincial highways, or which would require changes to provincial highway infrastructure, are invited to contact MTO's Regional Offices to discuss their plans. MTO reviews cycling proposals on a case by case basis and will allow changes to take place on provincial highway structure only after an analysis of the impact on safety and traffic operations. MTO does not currently provide funding support for new cycling infrastructure.

For more information on the Bicycle Policy, or assistance in contacting the appropriate Regional Office, please contact MTO's Sustainable Transportation Office at

2.2.5 Ontario Bikeways Planning and Design Guidelines

MTO publishes the Ontario Bikeways Planning and Design Guidelines. This document contains a set of guidelines that show geometric designs for a number of bicycle facilities. We would encourage municipalities to review best practices in bicycle design in other Canadian provinces and US States for additional guidance. Also, national cycling guidelines are available through Transportation Association of Canada.

For more information, please contact the MTO's Design and Contract Standards Office at (905) 704-2293.

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