Sustainability inSight

Words and Terms

Below are definitions for some words and terms related to sustainability that appear in this document:

511 is an information system that advises travellers of border wait times, road conditions, construction activities, transit schedules, and queues end warning systems.

Accessibility (related to the transportation sector) refers to the ability to reach goods, services, activities and destinations.

Advanced Road Weather Information System (ARWIS) is a system that provides information about pavement and weather conditions in Ontario.

Aging in Place is the ability to live in one’s own home– wherever that might be – for as long as confidently and comfortably possible.

Climate Change is the change in average weather over time and over a region, including temperature, wind pattern and precipitation changes.

COMPASS is a high-tech freeway management system that MTO developed to respond to traffic congestion problems on urban freeways. COMPASS uses a network of communications equipment to detect and respond to highway incidents or slowdowns.

Eco-driving makes use of driving practices that reduce fuel consumption, release fewer greenhouse gasses and result in lower accident rates. These practices typically include maintaining a steady speed, decelerating smoothly, checking tire pressure and driving a well-maintained vehicle, among other practices.

Environmental Assessments (EAs) are conducted under the Environmental Assessment Act, 1990 to promote good environmental planning. They assess the potential effects of infrastructure projects before construction begins. The act applies to most public and some private projects, including roads, landfills, water and sewer undertakings and electricity projects.

Fossil Fuels are natural gas, petroleum, coal and any form of solid, liquid or gaseous fuel derived from such materials that are used to generate heat or combustion.

Greenhouse Gases (GHG) trap heat reflected from the surface of the planet in the lower atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary GHG. It is believed that GHGs contribute to about two-thirds of climate change.

High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes are dedicated highway lanes that may be used only by vehicles with more than one occupant (single-occupant electric vehicles will also be permitted in Ontario’s HOV lanes until 2015). HOV lanes offer users a faster, more reliable, commute, easing congestion in regular lanes and moving more people in fewer vehicles.

Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) use technology to improve the overall function of the transportation system (e.g., monitoring congestion levels and taking actions to respond, like rerouting buses, and providing information to travellers that will help them plan their routes).

Multimodal Transportation refers to combining more than one transportation mode to reach a destination (e.g., cycling, using public transit and walking).

Speed Limiters are devices that are installed on vehicles to keep them from exceeding a set number of kilometres per hour.

Sustainability refers to development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Road Pricing is direct charging for the use of roads. Some road pricing mechanisms include flat tolls, fees for vehicle miles traveled, and congestion pricing.

Transportation Demand Management (TDM) refers to a variety of strategies to improve travel choices, reduce reliance on single-occupant vehicles and help manage rush hour congestion.

Traveller’s Road Information Portal (TRIP) is a web site that provides 24/7/365 access to the Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) road information on provincially maintained highways.