For more than a century, public transit has contributed positively to the quality of life for citizens of Thunder Bay and supported their need for access and mobility. Nationally, Transit is widely recognized as an important part of the solution to challenges including economic prosperity, climate change, public health, safety and security. Public transit is not an end in itself. Rather, it is an enabler for the communities we strive to create, a healthy economy and a good quality of life.
Looking ahead, Canada’s public transit industry faces pressures arising from the accelerating pace of change. Fast-approaching opportunities and challenges will drive major shifts in how the transit industry can meet the needs of Canadians, and in how society can offer transit the support it requires to succeed.
Recognizing that the future is something to be shaped and not simply responded to, CUTA has created Transit Vision 2040. This important document sets a course for public transit to maximize its contribution to the quality of life in Canadian communities over the next three decades. The Vision identifies six strategic “themes” to direct the future of transit in Canada. Each of the six themes includes specific strategic directions that intend to guide the implementation of the long-term vision of the 2040 document. The six themes include putting transit at the centre of communities, revolutionizing service, focusing on customers, greening transit, ensuring financial health, and strengthening knowledge and practice.
By 2040, accelerating urban growth and aging of the population will drive an increase in the number of Canadians who rely on transit to get around, but who may also require a higher standard of accessibility and security. The active elderly will face growing mobility challenges and will be an increasingly prominent aspect of our society. They will remain, and expect to be, socially and economically active and independent. On the whole, more people will be open to, and reliant on, transit. There will be increases in the number and types of people reliant on transit to actively engage in all aspects of community life.
There are many variables that are outside of transit’s control that influence ridership and, as a result, revenue generation. These include land use densities and socio-demographics of the population served. All of these changes to the way service is delivered means that costs will likely increase for both regular and specialized services. Therefore, transit must focus on responding in the most effective and efficient, yet equitable, manner possible.