About the Greater Golden Horseshoe

The Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) is the urban region centred around the City of Toronto, located at the western end of Lake Ontario. It stretches north to Georgian Bay, south to Lake Erie, west to Wellington County and Waterloo Region, and east to the counties of Peterborough and Northumberland. Home to 10 million people and 4.9 million jobs, the GGH is the economic engine of Ontario and one of the fastest growing regions in North America.

Regional map showing key components of the current Greater Golden Horseshoe transportation network.
Regional map showing key components of the current Greater Golden Horseshoe transportation network. View a larger version of this map (PNG).

The plan

The GGH transportation plan will help inform how we make decisions about policy and infrastructure investments and provide direction to municipalities, transportation agencies and service providers as they plan. The plan will help ensure our transportation system supports continued prosperity and quality of life and meets the environmental, economic and social needs of our families, businesses and communities.

What this means for you

Transportation is part of everyone’s life – whether you are getting to school or work, medical care, the arena or the mall, shipping goods for your business or visiting family and friends. But how will that change in the future? How will people and goods move differently 30 years from today in the face of a rapidly changing society and disruptive technologies?

Why we need a plan

Ontario strives to be a world leader in the safe, efficient and sustainable transportation of people and goods to support a globally competitive economy and high quality of life.

Our plan will:

  • prepare our transportation system to serve an expanding economy and population as the GGH grows from 10 million to 14.9 million people over the next 30 years
  • prepare our transportation system to serve an expanding economy and population as the GGH grows from 9 million to 13.5 million people over the next 25 years
  • help us identify necessary actions to address mobility and congestion in the GGH
  • guide and support Ontario’s transportation investment decisions
  • help us coordinate strategic planning across the region for the next 30 years
  • help prepare for new technology and changes, like automated vehicles and mobility, as a service platform that could change the way we move around the region

System approach

The GGH transportation plan will consider a range of transportation options including:

  • trucks
  • cars
  • public transit
  • railways
  • cycling
  • walking
  • air
  • marine

This approach can help identify how various components of the transportation system can work together to provide improved mobility and transportation choice for people and goods.

Overall study process

Foundation

The foundation for the study identified existing conditions, trends and outlooks that will influence the transportation needs of the GGH over the long-term.

Goals and objectives

Goals and objectives were developed to help us evaluate transportation system options for 2051. We developed them based on existing plans and aspirations of the province and our partners and refined them using feedback from stakeholders and the public.

System analysis

We found potential future transportation gaps in the region and identified strategic opportunities to improve the way people and goods can move around the GGH. We used up-to-date modelling tools, technical analysis and considered existing and committed transportation investments by all providers.

Strategy and plan development

We worked with partners to develop and evaluate options for a 2051 transportation system, such as:

  • municipalities
  • Indigenous communities and organizations
  • community and business stakeholders
  • transportation providers
  • the public

Our proposed vision

In summer 2021, we released a discussion paper to seek your feedback on a proposed long-term vision for mobility in 2051 and a selection of near-term actions to help us achieve it.

We collected your feedback on our discussion paper from June 29, 2021 to August 28, 2021.

Your feedback will help us deliver the best long-term transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and ensure it meets the environmental, economic and social needs of families, businesses and communities.

Next steps

We are using the input we received to help develop a 2051 transportation plan for the region, which will be released later this year.

What we heard – Fall 2020 survey

From September 11 to October 26, 2020, over 2,200 people shared feedback to help us develop a plan for transportation in the GGH. The feedback from the survey informed the proposed vision and actions described in our new discussion paper

Top priorities

We asked people to choose their top three transportation priorities for the long-term (the next 30 years). The top priorities identified were:

  1. Make transit as convenient as driving for getting where I need to go (66%)
  2. Make getting around healthier for me and for the planet (50%)
  3. Make better use of the roads, railways and other infrastructure we already have (40%)
  4. Make it easier to work and get what I need close to home (35%)
  5. Make it easier to get places by transit without going through Toronto (29%)

Regional travel behaviour

We asked people how often they used different modes of transportation prior to COVID-19.

  • 75% use a car daily or 1 to 2 times a week
  • 75% walk daily or 1 to 2 times a week
  • 34% use public transit daily or 1 to 2 times a week
  • 31% cycle daily or 1 to 2 times a week

Then, we asked people how difficult their travelling experiences were prior to COVID-19.

  • 60% of the respondents found driving on local roads/highways “very easy” or “somewhat easy”
  • 25% found driving on controlled-access highways (for example, Highway 401 or QEW) “very easy” or “somewhat easy”
  • 39% found taking public transit within their city, town or community “very easy” or “somewhat easy”
  • 38% found taking a train between communities “somewhat easy”

COVID-19 travel experience

We asked people how they made essential trips after the provincial state of emergency was declared in March 2020 (for example, going to the grocery store, medical appointments, etc.). We also asked if they found it easier to travel compared to before March 2020.

  • 86% used cars, and 44% of them found it easier
  • 62% walked, and 37% found it easier
  • 32% cycled, and 43% found it easier
  • 20% used public transit, and 21% found it easier to travel, while 38% answered it was more difficult

We asked people about their top concerns about travelling more as Ontario reopens businesses and activities.

  • 1,366 respondents said road congestion
  • 994 respondents said physical distancing while walking, cycling or using public transit
  • 920 respondents said safety on transit

Based on their experience during COVID-19, people said the following government actions would help them most when travelling (respondents could choose more than one option, hence the totals are higher than 100%).

  • 68% want government to support flex-time, remote work, work-from-home and other initiatives to reduce the travel demand during rush hours
  • 62% want government to integrate transit systems for seamless service and easier transfer (for example, integrated fare system)
  • 53% want government to provide more transportation options that allow me to maintain social distance while travelling (for example, bike lanes, walking, on-demand transit services)
  • 48% want government to find ways to reduce or stop viral spread in crowded areas like public transit (for example, increasing sanitation, enforcing physical distancing)
  • 48% want government to invest more in improving the pedestrian experience (for example, clearer wayfinding, reallocation of road space or reducing traffic-related accidents)

Provincial resources

The GGH transportation plan will align with, and build upon, other provincial initiatives, including:

Updated: September 20, 2021
Published: September 11, 2020