Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersOntario’s Transit Supportive Guidelines

Ontario’s Transit Supportive Guidelines


As cities across Canada grow larger and our population becomes more concentrated in urban areas, more opportunities for work, education, recreation and housing become available. However, these opportunities tend to be dispersed across communities, so in many cases individuals are travelling farther for work, school and to spend time with family and friends. As commuting distances increase, efficient, effective transit service becomes increasingly important. There is a strong relationship between transit ridership and land use patterns. If towns and cities grow at low densities, and development is not coordinated with transit, provision of transit becomes difficult and communities become increasingly dependent on the car. In order to make transit efficient and increase ridership, we must reconsider how cities and towns grow. Concentrating densities and a mix of uses in and around transit stops and stations is necessary to place more people close to transit at both ends of their trip. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has developed the Ontario TransitSupportive Guidelines to support continued progress in building more compact, transit-supportive communities. The Guidelines bring together the most current thinking on transit-supportive urban planning and design and best practices in transit planning and delivery of customer-oriented transit service. The document emphasizes the inter-dependent relationship between transit ridership and land use patterns: that higher density communities need dependable transit systems to thrive, and in turn, transit systems rely on transit-supportive land uses to sustain and increase ridership. The Transit-Supportive Guidelines were released as draft in January 2011, completed later in 2011 and published, following translation and accessible formatting, in January 2012. The Guidelines include over 50 guidelines and almost 450 strategies, with detailed guidance to assist communities of all sizes in promoting development patterns that make transit less expensive, less circuitous and more convenient. The Guidelines also include, for the first time, strategies to enhance the service and operational characteristics of transit systems to make them more attractive to potential transit users through a range of tools, management approaches and technologies. The document covers a broad range of topics, including: • Developing a transit-supportive community structure and regional mobility planning 1 • District-level and site-specific planning strategies (e.g. layout of streets and open spaces, intensification strategies, creating complete streets and parking management) • Transit improvement guidelines (e.g. service and operations, planning and performance monitoring, accessibility and promotion strategies) • Implementation (e.g. innovative planning approaches and consultation strategies) • Current, in-depth case studies from across Canada and the United States, as well as links to relevant resources for each guideline topic. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Transportation planning