Report: Waterloo-Toronto highway congestion costs average GTA household $125 a year
Anyone that has ever travelled from Toronto to Waterloo, along the Corridor, understands how frustrating it can be due to congestion and delays.
And according to a new report from the Toronto Region Board of Trade, these problems can cost anywhere from $500 to $650 million per year, which works out to cost the average household $125 a year.
The Toronto-Waterloo corridor is Canada’s largest manufacturing and transportation hub, and according to the board, “one million tonnes or $3 billion worth of goods are trucked through the region every day.”
The report, which was released Wednesday, looks at the current movement of commercial goods through the Corridor and has given four recommendations that would drastically improve the goods movement strategy and cut down on additional costs to the city and to GTA residents.
“The Corridor is Canada’s economic engine, with an unparalleled density of manufacturing and technology, a fully-integrated cross-border supply chain and the country’s largest cargo airport,” said Jan De Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade in a statement.
“Our unparalleled advantage is severely hindered by the lack of a strategy to address congestion and delays, which limits the ability of companies, from every sector, to move goods within and across borders, rely on timely inventory and stay competitive in the global marketplace.”
One of the main takeaways is that the Corridor isn’t taking advantage of existing technologies currently available, this includes the use of smart signals.
Smart signals were installed throughout the GTA this past fall as part of a pilot project and are more effective than traditional traffic signals because they are able to independently adjust to real-time traffic conditions.
According to the report, smart signals would help eliminate an advance left turn signal if no cars are waiting in line to turn left. On the other hand, smart signals could allow extended green signals for turning trucks trying to clear an intersection.
Additional recommendations from the report include maximizing the existing infrastructure, which includes opening up paved shoulders on the Don Valley Parkway during rush hour, using variable speed limits, and clearing accidents more quickly – all of which would help to improve congestion on GTA highways.
The report also suggests moving truck traffic to Highway 407 and improving public transit in the region, to get more vehicles off the roads.
While it remains unclear if and when these recommendations could take place, they are a step in the right direction to get Toronto moving.