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Value of 407 ETR as a PPP Project To Support Sustainable Urban Transportation For the GTA


In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), traffic congestion is a significant issue. All levels of government recognize that there is no one approach to deal with congestion, and have attempted to address it through a variety of initiatives including roadway expansion, improving public transit, coordinated land use and transportation planning and travel demand efficiency measures (e.g. HOV). There is also increasing attention and emphasis on having healthy and sustainable communities. An added complication is the challenge for the government to finance sufficient infrastructure to promote trade and address congestion, given other equally worthy budget priorities such as health care and education. Value pricing infrastructure through public-private partnerships has long been a worldwide means to address demand for roads. Ontario has a road pricing experience with its first toll highway — 407, which is also the world’s first all-electronic toll highway. Highway 407, through its operational and contractual obligations forms a key part of a sustainable transportation plan for the GTA. The objective of this paper will be to illustrate how and to what degree the development and privatization of Highway 407 has met the government’s expectations for delivering infrastructure in a timely fashion, providing congestion relief and assisting in achieving sustainable transportation. This will be accomplished through a discussion of the tolling mechanism and congestion relief provisions in the contract between the government and Concessionaire 407 ETR, the required actions by 407 ETR to fulfill its obligations, and the role and performance of Highway 407 in the provincial network focusing on how sustainability is being achieved. Operational data will be analyzed to illustrate how Highway 407 contributes to the rationing of travel demand during peak hours as well. Additional discussion will be included on the transitway which has been protected within this corridor, as well as key issues on lessons learned from the 407 experience. In addition, private sector funding for highway expansion and upgrades enables the province to otherwise redirect highway funding towards public transit initiatives supporting more sustainable transportation.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Amy Ibrahim
Julius Gorys