As our cities grow larger, more opportunities for work, education and housing become available. However, these opportunities are often dispersed across communities, so that individuals tend to travel farther for work and school or to spend time with family and friends. As commuting distances increase, efficient, effective transit service becomes even more important. Yet transit is not just about getting people from point A to point B. It is increasingly being recognized as an opportunity to limit our impacts on the environment, better adapt to changing demographics, reduce our overall costs of living and build healthier communities. Successfully planned, investment in transit also has the potential to be the launching pad for a wide range of initiatives aimed at strengthening communities and increasing economic competitiveness.
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. Their aim is to assist urban planners, transit planners, developers and others, working in communities of all sizes, in creating an environment that is supportive of transit and developing services and programs to increase transit ridership.
Understanding that transit-supportive planning requires coordination among a broad range of actors, from community planners to transit agencies, these guidelines include considerations related to both planning and transit operations. These guidelines include transit-supportive principles and strategies to promote development patterns that make transit less expensive, less circuitous and more convenient and to enhance the service and operational characteristics of transit systems to make them more attractive to potential transit users.
The strategies, case studies and resources presented in these guidelines are to be used at the discretion of municipalities and other planning authorities as an important reference in their planning and decision-making processes. The guidelines are not a statement of provincial policy but present ways of meeting the objective of building transit-supportive communities in support of provincial policies and directions. Understanding that circumstances will vary from place to place, it is expected that municipalities will adapt these guidelines and examples to their own individual situations and develop solutions and approaches beyond those provided here. In implementing these strategies, municipalities are responsible for ensuring that they comply with any applicable legislation, policy or standards.