Written for the Toronto Observer.
John Tory plans to create Big Data Innovation Team to find solutions to traffic congestion in Toronto.
Last week Tory announced his plan to use travel data to better understand people’s travel habits to combat congestion in the city. Tory’s announcement comes after Dutch navigation company Tom Tom released it’s annual traffic index which revealed that Toronto has the second highest rate of congestion in the country.
Using the travel data, Tory wants to understand “how, where and when people travel” to improve travel by all means of transportation. The city’s Transportation Services department created “Big Data Innovation Team” and will spend months developing strategies to “improve travel by all modes.” The team will work with McMaster University and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) improve to analyze past travel patterns and improve streetcar service.
Tom Tom’s survey revealed that traffic congestion in Toronto has been steadily on the rise and is likely to get worse. The report showed that congestion in Toronto increased from 27 per cent in 2013 to 32 per cent in 2014. Toronto has the second highest traffic-congestion percentage in Canada after Vancouver, which has an overall level of 35 per cent.
A survey by the Angus Reid Institute revealed that the strains of traffic are particularly hard on millennials living in Toronto. The survey revealed that 55 per cent of Toronto-based millennials spent an hour or more travelling to school or work. In addition to these abysmal stats, 48 per cent of millennials say they are unsatisfied with their commute time but cannot afford to live any closer. Tom Tom’s survey also revealed that traffic congestion causes 84 hours in delays for the average TTC rider, five hours more than the national average. According to the survey, there is the a 23 minute delay per day for a 30 minute commute.
Toronto Observer asked commuters about their experiences with traffic:
“It’s annoying not knowing when the delays are. How can anyone plan for that?” Radihka bemoaned.
“It takes over an hour just to get into the city, it’s disgusting,” Sam said.
“It sucks,” said Owen.
“Travelling in a city that heavily relies on public transit, becomes really inconvenient,” Samantha said.
“Being a person who is not so great with time management, delays often make me late to things,” Aashna said.
“End result of 30 years of failed urban planning,” said Winston.