Tag: transportation

Driving Oakville Forward

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce encourages Town’s Infrastructure Readiness for connected and autonomous vehicle technology

As our communities become more “connected” through the collection of data, artificial intelligence and technology, it is vital that we are prepared for the business climate of the future.  To that end, the Chamber is encouraging the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning.  Moreover, it is crucial that this Strategy is aligned with the Town’s Economic Development Strategy to ensure that the needs of the business community are top priority.

Transportation infrastructure and congestion remains a top concern for the Oakville community. Congestion on Oakville roads is a barrier to business, and members cite that Oakville does not have the road infrastructure for the development it needs. Additionally, Oakville’s economic growth is an important factor in the success of the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area (GTHA).

According to the Provincial Ministry of Finance, the Greater Toronto Areas (GTA) population is projected to increase from 6.9 million in 2017 to 9.7 million in 2041. Halton is projected to be the fastest-growing census division in Ontario over the projected period, with growth of 56.2 per cent to 2041. [1] 

Similarly, our economy is growing.  Currently, according to the Town’s Draft Economic Development Strategy our local economy supports approximately 116,300 jobs; and between 2013 and 2018, the local economy grew by 9,763 jobs.  However, 64% of residents are commuting to jobs outside of Oakville with most commuting to jobs in Toronto, Mississauga, and Burlington. Oakville is a net importer of labour, with companies attracting a total of 65 per cent of workers from outside of Oakville. This indicates an opportunity to attract the local resident labour market into Oakville employment opportunities. [2]

Increased employment growth, as well as population growth, is positive for our local economy; however it also underlines the Chamber’s call for building a resilient transportation network that works for all modes of transportation to supply the movement of goods and people. 

That’s why the Chamber is calling on the Town to engage with Chamber business and industry leaders.  Oakville is well-positioned in the automated vehicle industry due in large part to the businesses located in Oakville that are leading the way in economic development; such as automotive as well as the information and technology sector, to position itself as an economic development leader around automated and connected vehicle technology.  

Oakville is not alone in needing to explore this space.  Researchers and academics working in the field of connected and autonomous vehicles have strong relationships with their counterparts, paralleled by discussion between provincial and federal governments and information-sharing between municipalities.  It is important that as a community we engage with our local talent as well as reach out to other jurisdictions, including those with similar structures and similar environments.

This underscores the need for the Town to develop a working group of stakeholders.  Working with businesses and a broad set of stakeholders is essential to foster employment and investment growth.  Cross sector collaboration is essential for competitiveness.  This cannot be done in isolation.

Innovation is also key to our communities’ success surrounding the Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning Strategy. The Chamber believes that the strategy needs to incorporate a plan on innovation that includes partnering with the business and tech community, and piloting projects that drive smart city initiatives. 

Finally, the Oakville Chamber strongly encourages the Town to develop a Strategy for Urban Mobility and Transportation Planning that ensures that town policies, programs and activities create an attractive climate for business investment and job creation for economic growth as well as a transportation network that makes the movement of goods and people a priority. 

On behalf of the Chamber members we will look forward to working with the Town on this important initiative and we will be strident in our efforts for results.

[1] Ontario’s Ministry of Finance Population Growth Census Data, June 25, 2018

[2] Town of Oakville, Draft Economic Development Strategy


By Faye Lyons
Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy

Long-Term Transportation Plan Fundamental to Ontario’s Diverse Transportation Needs

This week the Ontario Chamber of Commerce released Moving Forward: Towards a Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs (Part I), a policy report calling on the Ontario Government to develop a Long-Term Transportation Plan. To address the current and future transportation needs of the province, the report highlights three areas of opportunity that will help improve the movement of goods and mobility of Ontarians.

In a recent Ontario Chamber survey, 58 percent of Ontario businesses rated existing transportation infrastructure as fair or poor. With much of the existing infrastructure in Ontario built in the 1950s and 1960s and nearing the end of its useful life, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce recognizes that the costs of investment are high, and Ontario is far behind when it comes to building new and maintaining old infrastructure.

“Transportation is the backbone of our economy, affecting the movement of people and goods and the everyday lives of Ontarians and businesses,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “Yet, congestion, limited transit connectivity, population growth, aging assets, unique regional needs, and a historic under-investment in infrastructure have led to a significant gap between the actual and needed infrastructure in Ontario. This has led to real challenges faced by Ontario residents and businesses every single day.”

The Ontario Chamber developed an initial thirteen strategic and pertinent transportation recommendations for a stronger Ontario within three critical areas. Although not an exhaustive review of all transportation modes and regional needs across the province, this approach will help to address the current and future transportation needs of the province with a focus on:

  1. Transit planning governance (with an initial focus on the GTHA);
  2. Moving people and goods by rail; and
  3. Autonomous vehicles.

The report points to short- and long-term opportunities, including CN Rail’s Milton Logistics Hub, the use of advanced signalling technology to increase capacity on subways, VIA Rail’s High Frequency Rail proposal, bringing two-way all-day GO Train service to the Innovation Corridor, developing ‘Union Station West’, and the return of passenger rail to Northern Ontario.

Ontario was also the first province in Canada to implement a pilot regulatory framework to allow for the testing of autonomous vehicles and driverless technology. The report calls attention to the readiness of the province for the reality of autonomous vehicles in the near future, recommending Ontario capitalize on its first-mover status in this space. The OCC urges all levels of government to work together with industry to attract future investments, innovation, and jobs, as well as ensure Ontario is the first province to reap the benefits associated with this technology.

“50% of Ontario businesses view transportation infrastructure as critical to their competitiveness. The province needs a plan that is strategic, provides value for public dollars, optimizes existing assets, leverages the private sector and technology, and takes into account the unique needs of our province,” added Rossi. “Moving forward, we will continue to consult our members on the province’s vast and diverse transportation needs.”

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has been active on the transportation file for years, and will continue to provide thought leadership on other transportation modalities as part of its ongoing advocacy on the province’s transportation planning and priorities.

Read the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s report: Moving Forward: Towards a Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs (Part I).




Transportation: What are the Mayoral candidates saying?

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce released A Roadmap for Business Success, a campaign outlining the Oakville business community’s priorities for the upcoming 2018 municipal election: Business Competitiveness, Transportation, Recruit and Retain Talent, and Innovation. Read the Mayoral Candidate statements below highlighting how they will address transportation challenges in Oakville. 

What is your plan to address transportation challenges in Oakville, both movement of goods and movement of people?


Julia Hanna
Smart Traffic Technology Investments
Many proactive communities around the world are benefiting from improved traffic flow through smart traffic management systems. These systems can provide centrally-controlled traffic signals and sensors that regulate the flow of traffic through the city, in response to demand.
 
Oakville needs to manage growth before the growth happens. With almost all growth planned a decade or more in advance, and with the Town of Oakville levying some of the highest development fees on new home construction in North America ($73,900 in municipal development charges. Source: Atlas Group Report, April 2018), the Town should be able to better anticipate and manage traffic congestion on Town roads.
 
As Mayor, I will support increasing capacity on Oakville’s arterial roads to keep people moving. I will champion the implementation of smart traffic technologies. And I will work with Council to improve the Town’s planning process to ensure we align the implementation of congestion management strategies with future development.
 
Advocate for GO Transit Improvements
GO Transit is a vital link for thousands of Oakville residents every day. Metrolinx has been making significant improvements to the frequency of service and the infrastructure supporting it to make service more reliable. As Mayor, Oakville’s GO riders can count on me to be a tireless advocate at every level of government to continue this progress. Fast, reliable public transit is one of the best ways to get people home in time for dinner.

John McLaughlin
Efficient and economical transportation, is critical to economic competitiveness and mobility.  Oakville doesn’t need “more” roads, it needs “more” from its roads.  Congestion (and commuter delays) is largely a problem of a growing regional population, new development beyond traditional urban areas, as well as increased longevity.  That population is largely on the “go” over existing road networks, increasing gridlock, noise, pollution and placing more stress on operating & capital budgets, as well as accelerating the decay of those assets.  I will quickly introduce zero-emission electric vehicles, both public & personal transit, reducing pollution, noise and operating costs. This de-carbonized transportation is also innovative, environmentally friendly as well as more “fun”.  I will encourage a municipal rebate zero-emission purchase/use program as well as special “green transit” lanes on our roadways.  Single person/per vehicle trips are no longer sustainable, rather multiple person/per trips are preferred, removing the number of cars on the road during peak travel times, as well as preserving the environment and reducing travel times for both goods and persons.  Behavioral changes to transportation thinking are necessary, beginning with Oakville transit which will run “grid” return routes, with electric-vehicles at a $2 flat fare (PRESTO integrated) anytime rate, on a 24 hour basis (reduced service after 11:00 p.m.) with connections to GO stations — and also run a “special” 4 time daily trip to Milton return, to serve that growing labour & residential market.  Ride “sharing” will finally be rewarded, with gas tax revenues (expected to decline) funding a “rebate” program for 2 or more in a car!  Free parking (24/7) will also be instituted Town wide, to promote business, tourism & recreation.

Rob Burton
Our regional and provincial partnerships are at the core of improving Oakville’s movement of goods and people.
 
The largest projects are with Metrolinx, for grade separations at Burloak Drive and Kerr Street. These will give commuters and commercial traffic faster, safer access to the QEW. Future rail electrification, with its associated 10-minute GO service, forecasts an increase in demand for rail service. We’re asking the province to increase station capacity with a GO station expansion on the west side of Trafalgar Road. This would provide faster access for commuters from the north and east. We continue to ask our provincial representatives to move forward with the construction of our “missing link” highway interchange at Royal Windsor Drive.
 
Halton Region has agreed to my request to move forward with the Wyecroft Road Extension and Bridge. This crossing will benefit merchants and shoppers and commuters.
 
Halton Region’s Advanced Traffic Management System will assess real time traffic conditions and in turn, trigger traffic signal response to current demand on a 24/7 basis.
 
Locally, commercial and residential users will benefit from the Speers Road Reconstruction Project which will see the Speers Road Corridor rebuilt from Third Line to Kerr Street. Road capacity increases are also set for Bronte, Dundas, Trafalgar, and Cornwall. The new roads will include separated bike lanes, providing direct access to GO transit for active transportation users.