As Toronto continues to grow, the number of people who rely on transit is increasing. Subway and light rail lines require considerable time to build. Traffic congestion significantly impacts the speed and reliability of buses and streetcars, and new strategies are needed to move more people quickly and comfortably.

Benefits of Transit Priority Solutions

Supporting Toronto’s Growth

Toronto is growing and changing. Toronto’s Growth Plan (2020) forecasts 3.65 million people and 1.98 million jobs in the city of Toronto by 2051. As Toronto grows, the number of people who rely on transit increases, while roadway space dedicated to transportation remains the same. Transit priority solutions will help move more people quickly and comfortably.

Addressing TransformTO Goals

TransformTO is Toronto’s ambitious climate action strategy, which includes a set of long-term, low-carbon goals and strategies to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions and improve our health, grow our economy and improve social equity. The TTC is already doing its part by expanding its electric bus fleet, and aims to be about 40 to 50 per cent electric by 2030.

Transforming our roadways through investments in transit priority solutions will help Toronto meet TransformTO goals. When buses and streetcars are given priority, they will operate more efficiently and reliably. As well, improved service reliability can provide people with a practical travel option other than driving personal motor vehicles.

Improved Transit Equity

Enhanced surface transit priority corridors improve access to economic opportunities, City and other government services and spaces, food, health services and recreation. This is vital for Neighbourhood Improvement Areas (NIAs) where enhanced public transit helps improve access to employment, healthcare and community services for the city’s most vulnerable populations.

While TTC bus ridership decreased to 21 per cent at the lowest point (April 2020), bus routes that serve NIAs remained active and ridership did not decline as much as in other parts of the city. Bus customers are more likely to work in jobs that cannot be done from home and tend to rely more on transit for their mobility needs.

Providing enhanced public transit, such as priority bus lanes, advances Action 7.2.1, of the City Council approved Poverty Reduction Strategy 2019-2022 Term Action Plan, to explore bus transit lanes on heavily-used bus corridors in the inner suburbs to improve speed and reliability.

Improved Bus & Streetcar Network

Buses and streetcars makes up the bulk of the TTC network and 70 per cent of TTC journeys require the use of a bus or streetcar (2016). Data collected between January 2019 to February 2020 showed that 22 per cent of buses and 34 per cent of streetcars experienced delays.

Surface transit improvements can make our transit system more reliable, reducing delays and making transit travel times shorter. Improving the reliability of surface transit will make it a practical option for travel in the city.

Reports to City Council

Priority Bus Lanes Dashboards

Eglinton East Bus Lanes

Related Plans & Studies

The RapidTO: Bus & Streetcar Plan will bring together the learnings from previous and area-specific studies and plans to form a consolidated program for delivering bus and streetcar projects in the City of Toronto over the short and long term.

Examples of these studies and plans include:

  • TTC 5-Year Service Plan & 10-Year Outlook and RapidTO: Priority Bus Lanes: identifies service-related improvements to public transit in the City of Toronto between 2020 to 2024 and beyond, including five corridors identified by the TTC for implementation
  • TTC Line 3 Bus Replacement and SRT Corridor Study: TTC’s plan to run bus services in Scarborough to replace Line 3 SRT
  • Metrolinx Ontario Line: a planned subway from Exhibition Place to Ontario Science Centre
  • MoveTO 2021-25: an action plan that will help manage congestion and build a more resilient, modern and safe transportation system; provides improvement to all road users in the next five years
  • Vision Zero Road Safety Plan: a comprehensive action plan focused on reducing traffic-related fatalities and serious injuries in the City. Prioritizes the safety of the most vulnerable road users through a range of extensive, proactive, targeted and data-driven initiatives
  • Complete Streets: Streets that are designed to be safe for all users: people who walk, bicycle, take transit or drive, and people of varying ages and levels of ability