Effective Congestion Relief: Smart Commute Initiative eliminates 10,000 cars off GTA and Hamilton roads.

Toronto, Canada – Ten thousand cars per day.  That’s how many vehicles are no longer on Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton roads thanks to Smart Commute.  The Initiative has worked with local employers and commuters over the last three years to help more people walk, cycle, take transit, telework and carpool, and the results have shown some amazing successes.

“Not only have we helped relieve congestion, but we’ve taken action on climate change, too,” says Ryan Lanyon, project director for the Smart Commute Association.  “Commuters who decided to smart commute with us have prevented enough greenhouse gas emissions to fill the Rogers Centre almost six times.”

The Initiative has also been active in cleaning the air in the GTA and Hamilton, by reducing air pollution by 100,000 kg – or the same as if residents smoked more than three billion cigarettes.  And there are even more benefits to public health and the local economy.

“I congratulate the Smart Commute Association on yet another great achievement,” said Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Lawrence Cannon.  “Smart Commute’s work supports Canada’s New Government’s overall environmental agenda to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases and protect the health of Canadians and the environment.  Our government is pleased to support commuters’ efforts.”

More than 50 employers with 150,000 employees have signed on to the Smart Commute program including IBM, DuPont, ING Direct, York University, Maple Lodge Farms, Enbridge Gas Distribution, Hatch and the Canadian Automobile Association.  Members of the public can also access services such as the Carpool Zone, an online ridematching service, at www.smartcommute.ca.

Smart Commute is a partnership between the towns, cities and regions of the GTA and Hamilton with the support of Transport Canada’s Urban Transportation Showcase Program.  The Initiative was designed to be a showcase for Canada’s efforts to curb traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging the use of commuter options like transit and carpooling.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and member of the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA) Board of Directors for Peel Region says she is looking forward to Smart Commute aligning with the GTTA.  “Cities need to look at all options for fighting congestion and working with Smart Commute is an effective way for the GTTA to relieve the pressure on our roads and highways,” said McCallion.

Choose Your Way. For more information about Smart Commute visit www.smartcommute.ca.

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:
Ryan Lanyon
Project Director
Smart Commute Association
416-338-0498
ryan@smartcommute.ca

Backgrounder – Smart Commute Initiative

Smart Commute Initiative

The Smart Commute Initiative operated from May 2004 to March 2007 as a partnership of the towns, cities and regions of the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton, with partial funding from Transport Canada and private sector partners.

The Initiative established six local Smart Commutes in Markham and Richmond Hill (404-7), Mississauga, Brampton-Caledon, Northeast Toronto, Halton as well as Newmarket and Aurora (Central York).  These were based on the successful model of Smart Commute North Toronto, Vaughan, which has served the area around York University since 2001.  Future Smart Commutes are planned for Durham, Hamilton and downtown Toronto.

Results of the Initiative

From May 2004 to March 2007:

  • 75 million km of car travel eliminated
  • 1.3 million trips by lone drivers eliminated
  • 10,000 cars removed from the roads per weekday (2006-07)
  • 17,400 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions prevented

(equivalent volume to almost six times the Rogers Centre)

  • 100,000 kg of air pollution prevented

(equivalent NOx emissions to smoking more than three billion cigarettes)

Commuter Recognition

Smart Commute brand name is recognized by 10% of all commuters who reside within the GTA and Hamilton.  Carpool Zone ridematching service is recognized by 17%.

Financial Support

  • May 2004 to March 2007 total of $6.7 million:
    • Municipalities = $3.5 million
    • Transport Canada = $2.2 million
    • Private sector = $1 million

Carpool Zone

  • Launched November 24, 2005
  • More than 9,000 users have joined the system
  • More than 800 carpools have formed
  • Reductions of 65-75 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per month

Smart Commute and the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA)

At the August 24, 2007 meeting of the GTTA Board of Directors the following motion was adopted:  “Staff be directed to proceed expeditiously with an integration of the Smart Commute initiative within GTTA’s operations in accordance with report 07-B44”.

Moved by Hazel McCallion, Mayor, City of Mississauga

Seconded by Bill Fisch, Chair, Regional Municipality of York

About Smart Commute
Commuter benefits program for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

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