Sustainable Transportation Planning: York Region as a Case Study

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Gu, Yihao Jr
Sustainable transportation planning, York Region, Criteria
Increasing population and greater demand for convenient transportation has resulted in more vehicles and corresponding negative effects on society and the environment. As a result, sustainable transportation planning that considers all social, environmental, and economic aspects is needed to reduce or eliminate negative impacts and make transportation more accessible and efficient. York Region, the case study for this research is in in south Ontario, with a size of 1776 km2. The population of York Region was 1.1 million in 2013 and will reach 1.8 million in 2041. York Region operates more than 5000 kilometers of different roads and highways for vehicles and nearly 1000 kilometers of active transportation roads. By 2041, the traffic demand will increase by 60% and automobiles will account for over 86% of the total traffic. The research goal is to assess the sustainability of York Region Transportation Master Plan 2016 (TMP) and York Region Official Plan (OP) Consolidation 2016. This will inform on how sustainable the future planning may be. The literature review of this research mainly focused on the definition of sustainability and sustainable transportation, the definition and process of transportation planning, and the impacts of transportation. The method of the research is a document analysis of the TMP and OP and both are evaluated using Schiller’s (2010) sustainable transportation criteria. The results indicate that the two plans meet the majority of the criteria applied in this analysis. However, there are still some areas for improvement, including: adding additional analysis of economic, social, and environmental impacts through a broader evaluation and adding more detailed analysis of social organization and transportation hardware. The future research can be conducted on the three directions, including the effectiveness of the “last mile” concept, the impacts of technology, and the possible update of Schiller’s (2010) criteria.
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