Ontario’s Freight-Supportive Guidelines help municipalities better understand and plan for the vehicles that transport goods through their communities. In addition, they provide direction on how to best plan the available land, design sites and manage municipal transportation networks, to keep communities financially stable and competitive.
The document includes over 50 guidelines and almost 350 strategies to help urban planners, municipal engineers, developers and others create safe and efficient freight-supportive communities. The Guidelines include best practices and implementation strategies that apply to many communities, both urban and rural, drawing on past experiences in Ontario, North America and around the world.
Freight-Supportive Guidelines (PDF - 13.1 MB)
Why is planning for freight important?
Efficient movement of freight is essential to the economy.
The movement of goods plays a major role in the province’s economy, generating large revenues and supplying hundreds of thousands of jobs. Ontario’s economy is multi-faceted, ranging from farming to manufacturing to knowledge-based businesses, all of which depend on the movement of freight in some way. An increase in municipal planning for freight improves the economic health and competitiveness of communities of all sizes.
Planning for freight supports community livability and safety.
More information on how freight moves through communities can improve planning while reducing problems involving freight trucks and trains, pedestrians, cyclists, transit vehicles and cars. Long-term planning for both freight and travel-intensive land uses allows residential areas, schools, hospitals and other similar developments to be more appropriately located, either set away from freight facilities or shielded using strategically placed landscaping, screens and/or walls.
Efficient movement of freight can help protect the environment.
Supporting freight efficiency reduces transportation-related pollution and lessens the need for future investment in transportation infrastructure. Several best practises, such as the “close to market” approach, which places freight facilities closer to the markets they serve, reduce travel distances and make the transportation system more efficient.
Top 10 Freight-Supportive Strategies
1 Prepare a Freight Audit
Take a proactive approach to freight transportation planning by undertaking a freight audit. Identify issues affecting local freight movement and collect baseline information. Establish planning, policy and infrastructure priorities needed to support the safe and efficient movement of freight.
2 Protecting Employment Areas and Freight Facilities
Consider freight movement needs as part of the long-range planning process, including linkages to future or existing employment areas. Identify and protect major goods movement facilities and corridors within and between neighbouring jurisdictions. Identify areas for new freight facilities and freight-intensive land uses and plan for future freight corridors.
3 Site Access Arrangements
Design accesses to accommodate the turning radii requirements of expected trucks and provide proper lane widths for on-site driveways. Locate accesses and turning lanes in relation to intersections. Provide adequate driveway length at access driveways and consider the provision of turning lanes for trucks leaving the site.
4 Loading Docks
Loading docks are the arrival and departure points for shipment of goods by delivery trucks. Design loading docks to consider:
- Types of trucks required to serve site needs;
- How often truck shipments occur;
- How long the trucks will stay in loading/unloading areas;
- Site-specific requirements; and
- Building security issues.
5 Site Design to Support Freight Mobility in Existing Urbanized Areas
Create designated loading zones on-street when space is insufficient for rear loading dock yards. Consider loading zone lay-bys, where appropriate, keeping in mind the paths likely to be traveled by pedestrians and cyclists. Where possible, locate loading areas underground, at the rear of buildings in an alleyway or service lane, or accessed from side streets that are not heavily travelled by pedestrians and cyclists.
6 Site Design to Support Freight Movement in New Mixed Use Areas
Implement strategies for the efficient and safe flow of goods during the design stage. Locate loading areas to separate freight access from pedestrian access. Designate truck accesses and truck loading/unloading areas using proper signage. Consider adding short term drop-off space for couriers, located close to main entrance(s).
7 Site Design to Coordinate Freight Transportation with Public Transit, Cyclists and Pedestrians
Design sites and adjacent roads taking into consideration movement of both trucks and transit vehicles/passengers. Accommodate trucks, cyclists and pedestrians simultaneously through strategies such as signage, lane and pavement markings, signals, separate site access routes, and reduced curb radii, where appropriate.
8 Access and Intersections
Accommodate trucks merging with through traffic, provide adequate infrastructure that allows trucks to exit the road without blocking through traffic, and implement traffic control devices that promote truck traffic progression and help trucks stop safely. Design inner turning radii and curb radii at access points to facilitate turning movements of large trucks. Provide way-finding and truck route guidance.
Plan for safe and efficient movement of trucks along corridors using various strategies, including signal timing, network connectivity and geometric improvements as appropriate. Design facilities that accommodate truck characteristics when crossing a divided highway. Accommodate truck characteristics when ascending or descending grades.
10 Requirements, By-laws, Policies and Practice
Harmonize truck-related requirements and by-laws across municipalities to support seamless movement of freight across jurisdictional boundaries. Manage and communicate information about the daily operations of truck route networks. Encourage multimodal integration and opportunities within the freight transport system to promote efficient and competitive service delivery.