Mobility 2040

The Future of Transportation in the City of Brampton

Sometimes it hard to imagine what is going to happen next week let alone by 2040. But that’s what the City of Brampton Transportation Planning staff are trying to do as they envision how transportation in this City will evolve by the year 2040. They are launching a study to update the current 2015 Brampton Transportation Master Plan into a new Brampton Mobility Plan that will guide the City’s investment in transportation over the next 17 years. They are looking for your input. Join a virtual public meeting on July 18th at 7:00pm. And you can provide comments in a survey and map that is available until the end of July.

Brampton’s 2040 Vision process was started in the spring of 2017 and involved thousands of City residents from all walks of life, plus businesses and other stakeholders. The final vision document, which was endorsed by City Council in 2018, includes elements about the environment, jobs and urban centres, neighbourhoods, transportation, social matters, health, arts and culture. Achieving the Brampton 2040 Vision means transportation in the City should be moving to become : a mosaic of safe, integrated transportation choices and new modes, contributing to civic sustainability, and emphasizing walking, cycling, and transit.”

Today, more than 80% of transportation trips in the City are made by car. For many of those trips, the car holds only one occupant. This is bad news for the community for many reasons.

Cars add significant pollution to our environment, including particulates, noxious gases and C02 emissions. About 60% of Brampton’s carbon emissions come from transportation with 80% of that produced by car travel.

Cars create road congestion along with road wear and tear. Road and gas taxes pay for only a fraction of these costs. The general taxpayer subsidizes the rest.

Car travel contributes to and encourages sedentary lifestyle which is a major cause of cardiovascular, respiratory and other diseases such as Type II Diabetes. The economic costs of our lifestyle choices run into the billions of dollars for Peel Region alone, to say nothing of the human suffering these diseases inflict.

Car travel also contributes to our sense of social isolation. North American roads tend to be “over-engineered” leading to travel speeds higher than the posted limit. Wide, multi-lane roads act as both a physical and psychological barrier to anyone wanting to travel by anything other than personal automobile.

Studies have shown that people who live on busy streets had fewer friends and acquaintances those living on quieter roads. On a heavily trafficked street, people feel besieged by cars while those on a quieter road felt more a sense of community. Others have noted that the pattern of commute travel by car common in most suburbs, “makes it virtually impossible to encounter the strangers who are my neighbours, apart from those immediately next door.” If we see our neighbours as strangers, then what does that imply for our feelings toward other motorists, or pedestrians and cyclists.

The increased incidence of speeding, street racing, and road rage provides an indication of what our roads might look and feel like if the current trends continue into 2040 as Brampton’s population approaches a million.

We have to recognize that single occupancy car travel is becoming increasingly costly, environmentally, socially, and economically. Building and maintaining road infrastructure, as well as places to store cars, has created an unsustainable public debt burden.

There must be a better way and there is. It involves compact communities where the majority of goods and services are within a 10-15 minute walk or bike ride away. Building cities in this way allows us to connect to transit and make better use of land. It also requires us to build fewer road lanes and makes more public space available for parks and recreational activities.

We don’t need to wait for the future to build compact communities. Many of us are living in one right now. More than half of the transportation trips in the City are 7 kilometers or less. Seven kilometers is about a 20 minute bike ride. So, where possible make the sustainable transportation choice. And let City staff know you want them to support you in making those choices by making streets easier and safer to get around by walking and cycling.

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