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Backgrounder on Mississauga's BRT Project
 

Background

Recent estimates indicate that over the next 30 years, the number of people living in Ontario will grow by as many as four million - with the majority living in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Our GTA transportation infrastructure is already strained to the limit to support current levels of population and movement. Other solutions are required.

Higher-order transit

One important way of addressing traffic congestion is to transition commuters from individual vehicles to higher-order transit solutions (also referred to as "mass transit"). Higher-order transit is the most efficient and sustainable way to address increased traffic requirements in a city setting.  Having a more extensive, reliable and convenient transit system will be critical in order for Mississauga and the GTA to accommodate anticipated growth.

The City of Mississauga faces some challenges in this effort due to the high costs of supporting transit for the City's population and employment while still servicing high-volume corridors of travel. The City recognizes these challenges and has developed a comprehensive plan of timely, cost-effective solutions for addressing increased congestion. These are summarized in the City's transit ridership growth strategy, which establishes a five-year target of achieving a 25 per cent increase in the use of higher-order transit in Mississauga.

The transitway

Central to this plan is the development of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System -- a high-efficiency transitway and service being developed in partnership with the Federal Government, Province of Ontario, GO Transit (a Division of Metrolinx) and the City of Mississauga.  Modeled on successful transit systems from progressive municipalities around the world, the transitway represents a highly efficient, comparatively low-cost solution to moving high numbers of people across the region.  It's similar to rail-based transit in terms of providing a dedicated right-of-way for transit vehicles, except instead of a costly rail system, it will use dedicated roads and buses.

Mississauga's segment, running from Winston Churchill Boulevard to Renforth Drive, will be part of a 100 km transit corridor connecting municipalities from Oakville to Pickering. The transitway will complement and connect with local bus services and inter-regional transit and subway systems, linking high-density development and employment centres across the city. Mississauga's 12 designated stations will provide key connection points. Several stations will feature passenger pick up and drop off and/or park-and-ride facilities.

The transitway will support extensive express bus service for thousands of riders per day, making it faster and easier to travel to, from and through Mississauga and the GTA. It will play an important role in the continued evolution of the GTA, Canada's largest population and business centre. Mississauga's role in this development is pivotal due to:

  • Location: Mississauga is strategically located between Halton Region to the west, Brampton to the north, and Metro Toronto to the east, effectively forming the hub for all travel in the western half of the GTA.
  • Integration: MiWay's ties in directly to the transit systems of its neighbouring municipalities. It is served by GO trains on three different rail lines, as well as numerous GO buses. It is also home to Canada's largest international airport.
  • Population: Mississauga is home to more than 700,000 people, many of whom need to travel quickly and safely within Mississauga and into neighbouring jurisdictions each day.
  • Business: Mississauga is a major employment centre for industry and commerce, home to more corporate head offices than any other jurisdiction in Canada.

Development

The Mississauga segment of the transitway will cover 18 kilometres along Highway 403 and Eglinton Avenue, connecting Winston Churchill Boulevard in the west to Renforth Drive in the east.

Planning and investment began over a decade ago, when the City of Mississauga and the Ministry of Transportation Ontario entered into a partnership to support the future transitway by upgrading the shoulders along Highway 403 from Erin Mills Parkway to Mavis Road, and by building Centreview Drive from the Mavis Road/403 interchange into the core of the Mississauga City Centre. This partnership and vision proved to be a success, as GO Transit introduced a precursor to the transitway service in 2001 followed by the opening of the Bus Bypass Shoulders (BBS) along Highway 403 from Erin Mills Parkway to Mavis Road in 2003. Since the opening of the BBS, GO Transit's transitway precursor bus service has been able to save up to 10 minutes per trip on the congested section of Highway 403 between Erin Mills Parkway and the City Centre transit terminals. Ridership on GO's transitway precursor service has grown from 4,000 to over 12,000 passengers per day since 2003.

Construction of the new transitway infrastructure is expected to commence in 2009 and will focus on two main sections. The west section, "transitway west", will provide dedicated bus lanes adjacent to Highway 403 between Winston Churchill Boulevard and Erin Mills Parkway, and will connect with the existing BBS along Highway 403 between Erin Mills Parkway and Mavis Road (connected to the City Centre by Centre View Drive). The east section, "transitway east", will run along the 403/Eastgate Parkway/Eglinton corridors from the City Centre to Renforth Drive. The entire project is slated for full operation in 2017.

The transitway west, from Winston Churchill Boulevard to Erin Mills Parkway, will be the responsibility of GO Transit. The transitway stations with Park and Ride lots will be built at Winston Churchill Boulevard and Erin Mills Parkway. 

The City of Mississauga is responsible for the construction of the transitway east from the City Centre to Renforth station (Commerce Blvd.). The transitway stations with Park and Ride lots will be built at Cawthra Road and Dixie Road. Additional transitway stations will be constructed at Tomken Road, Tahoe Boulevard, Etobicoke Creek, Spectrum Way and Orbiter Drive.

The Renforth Gateway station and transitway connection from Commerce Boulevard to east of Matheson Boulevard onto Eglinton Avenue in Toronto will be the responsibility of GO Transit.

For more information, please visit: GO Transit - Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project.

Funding

The transitway proposal has already been reviewed and approved by each level of government, and the development plan is well under way. The transitway is a key component of Ontario's Smart Growth plan for development of the GTA, as well as Mississauga's own Rapid Transit Program. 

Total costs for completion of the Mississauga portion of the system are approximately $259 million which is equitably funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, GO Transit and the City of Mississauga. The Province and the Federal Government have already committed $173 million to the development of the transitway in Mississauga because they understand its importance to the economic and social fabric of the GTA and, ultimately, the country as a whole. The City of Mississauga has also received budget approval for its share of the development and operating costs as part of its overall transit strategy.

User fares will go towards the operating costs of the service. While fare structures have not yet been determined, projections indicate that the cost of using the transitway will be less than the cost of maintaining and fueling a private automobile for the same amount of travel. You won't just save time on the transitway, you'll save money, too.


[1-4] Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund Submission, March 2007


 

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