Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, infrastructure - track, planning - route design, planning - history, planning - signage/information, ridership - commuting, organisation - management, place - urban, place - airport, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, mode - mass transit, mode - subway/metro, mode - bike, mode - bike


Vehicular traffic control, Urban transit, Underground railways, Transportation systems, Transportation industry, Transportation, Transport, Transit, Traffic management (Traffic control), Toronto (Canada), Subways, Streetcars, Street traffic control, Roads, Regional transportation, Rapid transit, Public transit, Motorways, Mass transit, Local transit, Intrastate transportation, Installations, Information processing, History, Highway traffic control, Heavy rail transit, Freeways, Facilities, Data processing, Cycling paths, Cycle tracks, Controlled access highways, Computerized traffic control, Complexes, Commuting, Bikeways, Bicycle trails, Bicycle routes, Bicycle paths, Airports, Aerodromes


Over the past 150 years, as Toronto has grown into the financial and industrial capital of Canada, it has been the focus of many extensive improvements to its transportation system. It also has been the home of numerous innovations in transportation, covering the entire range of facilities from roads and freeways to computerized traffic control, transit, regional rail, airports, and bicycle facilities. Generally, Toronto's road system follows a grid pattern. Notable roads include Yonge Street, the longest street in the world; Prince Edward (Bloor Street) Viaduct, an outstanding example of forethought and planning; Gardiner Expressway along the city's waterfront; Highway 401, the key commercial and commuter link across Toronto; and Queen Elizabeth Way, the first superhighway in North America. The busy intersection of Bloor Street and Yonge Street was home to Toronto's first traffic signal in 1925. Today's Integrated Traffic Control Centre combines the operation of a corridor system with a traffic signal control system and was installed in 1989. A franchise to operate public transportation in Toronto was granted to the Toronto Street Railway Company in 1861. The idea of a subway was first suggested in 1910, but it took until 1949 before digging started on the 7.4-km Yonge subway, which opened in 1954. Today, the city's streetcar network continues to be one of the largest and most active in North America. The Toronto Transportation Commission has been declared a "transportation showcase" and continues to expand its reputation worldwide. The GO Transit commuter train is a unique heavy rail system serving the business district in downtown Toronto with double-decker heavy rail train cars. Malton Airport, later renamed Toronto International, and presently called Pearson International, opened in August 1938. It now has three terminals with a total of 124 gates, including the Trillium Terminal 3, which was privately built and opened in 1991. Toronto was rated the number one cycling city in North America in December 1995 and has a comprehensive regional parkland system of over 4,600 ha, which contains over 80 km of trails capable of accommodating pedestrians and cyclists.