February 9, 2004

Toronto to support regional Smart Commute Initiative

To help reduce pollution and traffic congestion, Toronto has pledged its support for a regional Smart Commute Initiative, which will develop transportation demand management (TDM) programs across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Federal government funds will cover approximately one third of total costs of the Smart Commute Initiative, up to a maximum of $2.5 million over three years. The private sector and municipalities across the GTA will share the remaining costs of the $7.7 million project.

"Smart Commute represents a fresh approach to tackling the connected issues of urban transportation and greenhouse gas emissions," said Mayor David Miller. "The city will do its part in building widespread acceptance and on-going support for TDM strategies from both GTA residents and private sector participants."

The programs will provide commuters with alternatives to driving alone. "Several TDM measures are at the core of the Smart Commute Initiative," said Paula Dill, the city's commissioner of urban development services.

"These include: establishing ride-matching for carpooling, along with a "guaranteed ride home" program; helping to introduce initiatives such as employer vanpools, carsharing, shuttle services, pedestrian and cycling programs; promoting the inclusion of TDM measures as part of the development review process; and creating regional marketing and education campaigns."

The city applied last May for partial funding of the Smart Commute Initiative under Transport Canada's Urban Transportation Showcase Program (UTSP). This federal program supports municipal initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. The Smart Commute Initiative is one of eight chosen from across Canada to receive federal support.

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