Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, ridership - commuting, mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - bike, mode - pedestrian


Traffic free zones, Toronto (Canada), Structural design, Streetcars, Regional transportation, Rapid transit, Railroad transportation, Rail transportation, Pedestrian tunnels, Pedestrian trafficways, Pedestrian precinct, Pedestrian phase, Pedestrian facilities, Pedestrian control signals, Pedestrian areas, Pedestrian actuated controllers, Ontario (Province), Motorways, Intrastate transportation, Intracity bus transportation, Intermodal transportation, Intermodal systems, Heavy rail transit, Freeways, Design, Cycling, Controlled access highways, Commuting, Bus transit, Bus services, Building design, Bicycling, Bicycle lanes, Auto free zones


Toronto, Ontario, is known for its concerted efforts aimed at accommodating a wide variety of transportation modes in a balanced system. Considerable attention is directed to balance the needs of commuters into Canada's premier commercial center, the needs of residents in old and new neighborhoods, and the needs of visitors. Approximately 300,000 commuters travel into the downtown during the peak period on a typical weekday. A freeway network brings in come commuters from the northeast and west, but major elements of this network were never completed. The regional rail transit system (GO Transit) provides some compensatory capacity. Downtown Toronto is crisscrossed by streetcar and bus services operating in mixed traffic. In order to make these services more attractive during peak periods, while retaining the flexibility of mixed-traffic lanes during off-peak times, transit priority measures are being implemented on an increasing number of routes. An expanding network of on-street bicycle lanes has been implemented for recreational as well as utilitarian cycling. These lanes complement trails in Toronto's extensive network of ravines leading down to Lake Ontario, where the Martin Goodman Trail provides a continuous bicycle and pedestrian path across the Toronto waterfront. The high pedestrian volume during the morning peak has been part of the inspiration for development of an extensive "underground city" of interconnected shopping facilities and pedestrian pathways. The PATH system extends for over 10 km (6 mi) and connects virtually every major office, commercial complex, and transit station downtown. Other programs aim to make Toronto's streets more pedestrian friendly, including a rapidly expanding network of audible pedestrian signals and use of a community-based advisory committee for prioritizing installations.