Road Pricing Leadership Summit

Transport Futures Road Pricing Leadership Summit

After decades of inaction, Ontario made erratic road pricing progress in late 2016. It began timidly on September 15 when the Liberal government commenced their High Occupancy Toll Lane pilot project. Then, on January 27, the province rejected Toronto Council’s bold request for authorization to toll the city-owned Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway. Ironically, Premier Kathleen Wynne made this announcement in York Region five days before the provincially-owned Highway 407 East and 412 started collecting tolls on February 1.
This type of inconsistency demonstrates that political leadership and coordination is essential to successful road pricing implementation – especially when traffic congestion is worsening, funding isn't available to meet all infrastructure needs and elections are on the horizon. To keep Ontario moving forward, Transport Futures held a Road Pricing Leadership Summit where over 100 delegates...:
  1. heard the latest GTHA road pricing research that is being conducted by government and academic researchers;
  2. learned from US and BC elected officials who have a comprehensive understanding of tolls in their respective jurisdictions;
  3. found out that Ontario politicians couldn't achieve a consensus on road pricing costs and benefits;
  4. learned about proven communication techniques that gain public acceptance for tolling;
  5. helped create a framework for a GTHA-based public education campaign. It will be designed to support political incumbents and candidates in advance of the 2018 provincial and municipal elections, keep current road pricing projects in place and get Toronto’s toll aspirations back on track. 

Here are a few comments received from our delegates:

  • "The Summit had insightful presentations that spurred thoughtful and animated discussion on the future of road pricing."
  • "I gained knowledge and found the discussion interesting."
  • "A variety of speakers focused on identifying both impediments and solutions."
  • "The gap between how the politicians view road pricing and how academics perceive the issue is surprisingly wide. It seems to me that we need a massive educational and marketing push to close this gap and get the public onboard. The way you structured the agenda brought this need into stark relief!"
  • "Very informative. I did not realize how much transportation relies on the gas tax."
    "Interesting to understand history of tolling, learn about positive and negative impacts; how to manage congestion, impacts on infrastructure and society as a whole. The different choices for toll rates."
    "Thanks for organizing a great day! Lots to think about."
  • "Great conference as usual! I always like the inclusion of different viewpoints -- this time, the difficult political viewpoints."
  • "It was a good day. Lots to learn on this interesting topic. Opens up dialogue for more ideas."
  • "Well organized  and educational. I truly enjoyed the Summit -- and it stayed on time!"
  • "Excellent way to re-build momentum for road tolls. Professional, well run conference."

We are now developing the road pricing public education campaign and planning our next conference which will take place on November 27, 2017. Please subscribe to our listserv or contact us if you are interested in getting involved!

Transport Futures Leadership Summit Panorama