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November 7, 2008
City launches Smart Commute Toronto - Central to promote environmentally friendly commuting
  
Mayor David Miller and Colleen Bell, General Manager of Metrolinx Community Relations and Initiatives, joined downtown commuters today to launch Smart Commute Toronto - Central. Smart Commute is a region-wide initiative that promotes commuter options such as walking, cycling, carpooling, public transit and telework -- sustainable alternatives to the single occupant vehicle.

Smart commuting recognizes that there are many alternatives to traveling by car, said Mayor Miller. Options such as cycling and public transit, which not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but improve economic prosperity and the quality of life in our City.

Smart Commute Toronto - Central is run by the Toronto Environment Office and receives support and funding from Metrolinx. Smart Commute staff will work directly with employers in downtown Toronto to promote environmentally friendly commuting, curb traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Almost 30 employers have already expressed interest in the program.

Were very pleased to work with the City of Toronto to help downtown commuters choose effective and environment-friendly ways of getting to work, said Rob MacIsaac, Chair of Metrolinx.

The Smart Commute Toronto - Central program is a component of Torontos efforts in tackling climate change. The program is included in the Citys Climate Change: Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan and the Sustainable Transportation Initiatives Plan, which were unanimously supported by City Council.

Also at todays event, an innovative photo contest was launched: Once Upon A Commute calls for photographers to capture their commuting story in a collection of images. The winning submission will be published in Spacing in 2009.

More information about Smart Commute Toronto and the Once Upon A Commute photo contest is available at http://www.smartcommutetoronto.ca

Smart Commute and the Carpool Zone are programs of Metrolinx (Greater Toronto Transportation Authority). Smart Commute is delivered in partnership with local municipalities and community organizations across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). More than 100 employers with over 250,000 employees have signed on to Smart Commute. Metrolinx, an agency of the Government of Ontario, was created by the Government of Ontario to provide seamless, co-ordinated transportation links throughout the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Toronto is Canadas largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Torontos government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Mark Singh, Smart Commute Program Manager, Toronto Environment Office. 416-392-9714, msingh@toronto.ca
Jacquie Menezes, Senior Associate, Public Affairs and Media, Metrolinx. 416-874-5923,
647-289-4523 (cell), Jacquie.Menezes@metrolinx.com


Backgrounder

Smart Commute Your Commute. Your Choice. Choose Your Way!

Smart Commute is designed to provide the tools and resources to help people make the switch from driving alone to more sustainable forms of commuting such as carpooling, public transit, walking, cycling and teleworking an approach known as transportation demand management. Smart Commute strives to help make commuting easier, healthier and more enjoyable all in an effort to reduce traffic congestion and to take action on climate change through transportation efficiency.

The Smart Commute Initiative is a partnership between Metrolinx, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and the cities and regions of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The Smart Commute Initiative is made up of a central coordinating body, the Smart Commute Team at Metrolinx, which provides communication and evaluation services to the local organizations called Transportation Management Associations (TMA). Local TMAs are geographically based and provide services directly to employers in their respective regions. Smart Commute Toronto - Central is the newest TMA and will serve employers, landlords and community groups in downtown Toronto.

Smart Commute plays an important role in Torontos climate change agenda. The program was included in the Climate Change: Clean Air and Sustainable Energy Action Plan and the Sustainable Transportation Initiatives Plan, which were unanimously supported by Toronto City Council. At the corporate level, Smart Commute Toronto - Central is a function of the Toronto Environment Office.

Smart Commute offers a wide array of services to make it easier to commute sustainably:
Carpooling: exclusive ride-matching programs for employers via Carpool Zone
Site-specific assessments and surveys to understand commuting behaviour
Shuttle programs
Emergency Ride Home programs
Employee Work Arrangement Solutions: telework, compressed work weeks and flex hours, workshops, lunch and learns, and seminars
Incentives and promotions to encourage alternative commuting
Clean Air Commute, Carpool Week, Bike to Work Day and other events

Over the last four years, Smart Commute has made excellent progress in the fight against climate change, congestion and poor air quality. Region-wide results from May 2004 to March 2007 include:
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
100,000 kg of air pollution prevented

The Evolution of Smart Commute

2001 The City of Toronto co-founds the Black Creek Regional Transportation Management Association, centered around York University (presently called Smart Commute-North Toronto, Vaughan).

2002 The City of Toronto, Region of Peel and York Region apply to Transport Canadas Urban Transportation Showcase Program for funds to build on the Black Creek model for a region-wide Smart Commute initiative. This application was successful and led to the launch of the region-wide program which has now grown to include nine TMAs.

2005 The City of Toronto launches its own program for its employees as a pilot project out of the North York Civic Centre.

2007 A corporate-wide Smart Commute program for City employees (across 397 work sites) is rolled out to reduce employee trips to and from work.

2008 Smart Commute Initiative receives the 2008 FCM-CH2M Hill Sustainable Communities Award for Sustainable Transportation.

The Smart Commute Toronto - Central TMA is launched with a waiting list of 30 large employers/property managers in downtown Toronto seeking transportation demand solutions at their work places.

The Toronto - Central TMA is lead by Project Manager Mark Singh. Kristina Hausmanis and Marco Iacampo are the Program Coordinators.


 

 

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