Cities and Transportation

While the wait list for social housing in Toronto increases, the number of units available doesn't

While the wait list for social housing in Toronto increases, the number of units available doesn't

Back in December, Toronto councillors voted to use 11 city-owned surplus plots of land to build new affordable housing — something that is much needed in a city with more than 105,000 people on the waitlist in Q4 2018; one where most of the affordable housing units were built in the late 80-90s. It’s difficult to estimate how many affordable housing units are in the city because of a patchwork of multiple waitlists, but most belong to Toronto Community Housing as either geared-to-income (30 percent of monthly household income before tax), affordable or market rent units. But, a housing market analysis report produced by the city in February explains the need for more affordable housing.

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With $200 million already spent, Doug Ford is still interested in changing Toronto transit plans

With $200 million already spent, Doug Ford is still interested in changing Toronto transit plans

The provincial government is prepared to fund major transit projects in Toronto — including a three stop Scarborough subway extension, Eglinton West extension, Relief Line South and Yonge subway extension to Richmond Hill — but only if it has control over them. This is according a letter sent to TTC Chief Executive Officer Rick Leary and City Manager, dated March 22, and a follow-up letter dated March 26. The letters outlined some large differences between the city and province when it comes to major transit projects.

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What to do if your flight is cancelled or delayed

What to do if your flight is cancelled or delayed

Flight delays and cancellations definitely aren’t something people expect and can often leave people feeling helpless and stranded — both literally and physically. Considering the number of people flying each day it’s safe to assume that at one point, you might experience a flight delay, but many people don’t realize (unless the airline volunteers the information) that they’re entitled to compensation, meal vouchers, hotel vouchers, or a combination of all three.

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Where the boeing 737 MAX 8 is grounded and what airlines use it most

Where the boeing 737 MAX 8 is grounded and what airlines use it most

The world is on the edge following the tragic crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on Sunday — a flight from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya, in which all 157 people onboard were killed, including seven crew members, a security official and 19 UN staff members. The pilot requested to return to the airport when the plane started experiencing technical issues and the control tower lost contact with the plane at 8:44 am, with wreckage discovered near Bishoftu later, 62 kilometres from where the plane took off from, The Guardian explains. On Twitter, flight tracking website Flight Radar tweeted “that vertical speed was unstable after take off”.

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This is what is happening when the TTC is experiencing "signal delays"

This is what is happening when the TTC is experiencing "signal delays"

It's an occurrence that happens regularly on the Toronto Transit Commission, happening at any time — the dreaded “Line 1 is delayed due to signal issues” message over the PA system. The TTC runs mainly on an outdated backend system and because it cost so much to replace it, it could be decades before the whole system has it installed. In a nutshell, the important thing to remember is delays generally happen because of all the moving parts that make up the traditional signalling systems — once ATC is implemented systemwide and computers are controlling the signals, this should cease to be an issue.

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Crossing the border with Global Entry, Nexus and PreCheck, explained

Crossing the border with Global Entry, Nexus and PreCheck, explained

Frequent travellers will know the joy of belonging to an expedited screening program — but they also know that between Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, Nexus and Sentri, the options are confusing. But once you’ve figured out which program is the best fit for you (for which the Department of Homeland Security has a handy quiz), paid the membership fee and, in some cases, gone in for an interview, it’s easy sailing.

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Toronto's Quayside neighborhood, being built "from the internet up", is facing a lot of resistance

Toronto's Quayside neighborhood, being built "from the internet up", is facing a lot of resistance

The world’s latest smart city, a proposed neighbourhood in Toronto located near the Port Lands, is facing fierce criticism after it was revealed by the Toronto Star last week that the company is aiming to develop more than the 12 acres of waterfront land it had told the public it was interested in. In fact, representatives from Waterfront Toronto were in Ottawa on Thursday to answer questions over the Sidewalk Labs smart city project and whether it will really benefit the city. Waterfront Toronto is an agency — a partnership between all three levels of government that is responsible for redeveloping and enhancing the waterfront, including the public transit and housing in the area.

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Why does it cost so much to fly in Canada?

Why does it cost so much to fly in Canada?

There always seems to be deals on flights on sale within Canada — WestJet and Air Canada send out emails for new promotions on the weekly — but it’s actually quite expensive to fly either in or to/from Canada to another destination. Frequent fliers will know as much, so it probably won’t surprise them to know that in a 2015 study, Canada ranked 130 out of 138 in terms of cost. One of the biggest reason for high fees is the way that the airport system is typically run in Canada — the actual land that the airport is based on is federally owned land, but then the land is leased to non-profit companies. This means that the organizations have to pay back money for ground leases and rent, which added up to approximately $305 million — adding up to $7 of each ticket sale in 2005, according to a document from the Calgary Airport Authority.

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Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway

Don't be so quick to blame the TTC for delays on the subway

In 2018 Toronto’s subway system had 153 delays caused by door issues, 532 because of speed control equipment and a staggering 3,216 caused by ill passengers. The city dealt with more than 47,682 minutes of delays in total — which equates to approximately 33.11 days — due to 182 different reasons. It’s important to note that many of these delays aren’t the actual fault of the TTC, but are caused by customers who are unruly and disruptive, ill, or those who pull the passenger assistance alarm for no reason. These precise numbers come from Toronto’s Open Data catalogue, which is a regularly updated online resource to track things like TTC delays, bikeshare usage and more.

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The GTHA still doesn't have harmonized fare payments and it's hurting commuters

The GTHA still doesn't have harmonized fare payments and it's hurting commuters

The rollout of PRESTO has inarguably been a bumpy ride — with consistently unreliable machines leading to an estimated million free rides to calls from the transit union and mayor for the issues to be fixed, a website dedicated to hating it and even a 1.5 star review on Yelp — things certainly haven’t gone to plan. But with one payment device working in each vehicle 99.5 percent of the time, things are certainly getting better for the technology, which is laying the groundwork for an improved system that could allow for a regionally integrated fare system.

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There are over 30 "sponge cities" in China that are helping to clean up the environment

There are over 30 "sponge cities" in China that are helping to clean up the environment

Throughout the world, cities are struggling to deal with urban migration and development in flood-ridden areas — China faced this issue most prominently during the devastating floods in Guangzhou in 2010 and Beijing in 2012 and Chongqing, while India is dealing with the influx of unregulated development in the wetlands. Urban flooding and issues with groundwater collection are becoming major issues not only in Asia, but in cities everywhere as they struggle to come with worsening flood impacts.

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San Francisco just removed parking requirements on new developments and other cities should take note

San Francisco just removed parking requirements on new developments and other cities should take note

Throughout the United States, cities are built with parking and automobiles in mind — but with public transportation being better for the environment and for cities, they’re slowly correcting this mistake. On January 20, a new bylaw will go into effect in San Francisco eliminating the minimum parking requirements citywide, which was unanimously recommended after a review of the city’s transit, walking and cycling corridors. It will become the first city to remove minimum parking requirements for new housing and will greatly help with the new “transit first” policy.

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A few questions that Toronto's SmartTrack project brings up

A few questions that Toronto's SmartTrack project brings up

The City of Toronto, Metrolinx and the TTC have been working on their GO Regional Express Rail and SmartTrack projects since 2015, with them blending with each other to offer not much differentiation between the two. Even though the latter has been pared down significantly since it was proposed by John Tory as part of his campaign for mayorship in 2014, it’s still going strong and remains a centrepiece of his second term.

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The United Kingdom's deregulated bus system and why it's a big flop, explained

The United Kingdom's deregulated bus system and why it's a big flop, explained

Buses in the UK are the most commonly used mode of public transportation, with 4.44 billion trips being made in England in the 2016/2017 reporting period ending in March, with journeys inside London accounting for half the country’s total. Local bus services across the Great Britain — made up of England, Wales and Scotland — accounted for 59.2 percent of all public transportation trips, compared to only 20.7 percent for the National Rail network.

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Uber is lobbying for a congestion charge in NYC — but whether it will work is uncertain

Uber is lobbying for a congestion charge in NYC — but whether it will work is uncertain

Two months ago New York City approved a limit on the number of Uber, Lyft and other on-demand ride services and voted to halt issuing for-hire licenses for 12 months while it studies the industry in more detail. During the cap, both companies will still be granted licenses for wheelchair-accessible vehicles and by 2021, 25 percent of vehicles in their fleet will be required to be wheelchair accessible, which Uber isn’t happy about. Now Uber is putting its money and resources into helping fix New York City’s traffic congestion problem, by investing $10 million over three years on a “campaign for sustainable mobility” — with the centrepiece being congestion pricing in high-density parts of the city. This is surprising, coming from a company that accounts for 65,000 of the 103,000 for-hire vehicles in NYC.

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By building a new capital city, Egypt could end up in a Chinese debt trap

By building a new capital city, Egypt could end up in a Chinese debt trap

Egypt is building a new capital city in a desert plot 45 kilometres east of Cairo — currently a vast construction site sits there, but by 2020 it will resemble a sprawling megacity in the making. Situated between the Nile River and Suez Canal, it is being built to boost Egypt’s economy, curb congestion throughout the capital region and inject new development in the country, hopefully boosting the economy in the process. Work is already far underway on the city, with government institutions set to move to the space by the end of 2018. More than 1.5 million new jobs will be created during the construction period and eventually, the unnamed city will house between 6.5-7 million people, boasts President Abdel-Fattah el-Siss.

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Estonia's e-resident program is its answer to a shrinking workforce

Estonia's e-resident program is its answer to a shrinking workforce

Currently many countries in Europe are facing a dire crisis, with fertility rates falling drastically and increasing government costs as a result. An older population requires more space in elderly homes, more to be spent on healthcare and an increase in registered nurses to care for the aging sector of the population. Between 2010-2015, 83 countries had below-replacement fertility levels, accounting for 46 percent of the world’s population. These countries included China, the USA, Brazil, Russia, Japan, Germany and the UK. Even worse is the predicted global fertility rate, which is expected to fall from the current 2.5 births per woman to 2.2 in 2045-2050 and 2.0 in 2095 to 2100, according to projections.

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Boston is embracing public transportation with a 25-year investment plan

Boston is embracing public transportation with a 25-year investment plan

Massachusetts state officials are looking to the future of public transit, with the DoT and MBTA publishing a draft 25-year investment plan positioning the region to meet the needs of the population by 2040 titled Focus40. The report "reflects what the region will need to be sustainable, livable, equitable, and economically competitive," and is meant to be a framework for changes that will help the agency adapt to a more technological era and withstand the worsening New England winters.

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When it comes to public transit, frequency is freedom

When it comes to public transit, frequency is freedom

There's specific reasoning behind why some public transportation routes and systems as a whole are successful while others aren't, and a 2016 study by TransitCentre seeks to find out why that is — though the study is slightly outdated, the principles of it still apply today. For example, Seattle's light rail extension from the downtown core to the University of Washington has boosted ridership from 35,000 to nearly 57,000 riders per day, but the ridership of the Atlanta streetcar is only 1,200 riders per day. This survey aims to find out why there's such a disparity between different transit systems and their ridership, and what makes them more successful in the eyes of riders.

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The Ford administration has changed its mind on Ontario's basic income pilot tests

The Ford administration has changed its mind on Ontario's basic income pilot tests

The Ontario government has changed course on Ontario's Basic Income pilot and will be cancelling it as soon as possible, and will also cut the planned 3 percent welfare increase in half. Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod said that the increase scheduled by the previous Liberal party would be reduced to 1.5 percent while the PCs begin a 100-day revamp of social assistance programs that help more than one million people. The Conservatives did not pledge to cut welfare increases during their campaign, but did promise to cut $6 billion from the budget without impacting jobs.

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