November 13, 2014
We proudly released this letter today as it is Transport Futures' sixth anniversary!
Six years flies by fast! The inaugural Transport Futures Road Pricing Forum took place on November 13, 2008. Back then, talking about tolls was considered “radioactive” and even uttering the word ”toll” was not a good thing to do. Indeed, Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee wrote that I was “standing on the far margins” as I “waged a lonely crusade to put a price on driving city roads and highways”.
Despite this reaction, my partners and I forged ahead with our learning events expecting that road pricing and other demand side measures would be included in Metrolinx’s Big Move -- both as a way to pay for the $50 billion regional transportation plan and to reduce traffic congestion, emissions and health care costs. Using a rational and non-partisan approach at our 13 major events and smaller roundtable discussions, Transport Futures has invited over 100 international experts to educate professionals and the general public on traditional highway tolls, High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes, congestion charging systems and kilometre-based user charges as well as the pros and cons of parking fees, gas taxes and transit fares. In 2013, Metrolinx added HOT Lanes to its list of revenue tools and the government budgeted funds so that the Ministry of Transportation could start their own research. While we congratulate them on taking these exploratory steps, much more needs to be done.
In its ongoing approach to evidence-based solutions, Transport Futures will continue to examine the need for comprehensive mobility pricing policies, especially since congestion levels and related impacts haven’t decreased in the last six years -- despite record investments in transit and road infrastructure. To gain public acceptance for road pricing and parking measures, our upcoming workshop’s interactive agenda will consider cutting edge business case approaches and pilot projects currently underway or implemented in other jurisdictions. In so doing, delegates will be inspired to work on Ontario pilot projects that demonstrate the benefits of tolling and parking to the public. Now that elections are finished, we invite the provincial and local governments to be willing partners in this process.
As the only Canadian organization to focus its efforts entirely on making mobility pricing an integral component of Ontario’s transportation system, Transport Futures is proud of what we’ve accomplished since November 13, 2008. In recognition of this milestone, we are offering everyone a 15% discount on our Road Pricing and Parking Workshop fees. Seating is limited so please register today using discount code (DC) TFAN6. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments.
Thanks for your support during the last six years and I look forward to welcoming you to Transport Futures on November 24!
Martin Collier, MES (Pl.)
Founder, Transport Futures
Director, Healthy Transport Consulting