Torontonians Voice Their Opinions About Toronto's Street Furniture

Toronto's Coordinated Street Furniture Program - Highlights (CNW Group/Astral Media Inc.)

Torontonians agree that Toronto's Coordinated Street Furniture Program is a role model for other Cities

TORONTO, March 12, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - To mark the five year anniversary of Toronto's Coordinated Street Furniture Program, Astral Out-of-Home asked Torontonians what they think of the program and new street furniture including bus shelters and benches. The results show that Torontonians like what they see, with 96 per cent saying it contributes to the functionality of our streets.

"For five years Astral and City Staff have worked closely to ensure the program and each piece of furniture on the streets meets the needs of our city," said Ron Hutchinson, Senior Vice President, Real Estate with Astral Out-of-Home. "As we reach year five of the 20 year program it is important that we hear from the people who use the furniture each day, and find out how it is contributing to the functionality and vibrancy of our city streets."

Astral Out-of-Home commissioned Canadian research firm, Leger Marketing, to poll Torontonians about their opinions on the program, and the results suggest it's on the right track.

When asked to compare the city's old street furniture, to the newly designed furniture by Astral and the City of Toronto, the new furniture was the overwhelming choice.  Eighty-four per cent prefer the new bus shelters, while 88 per cent chose the new benches, and six-in-ten like the newly designed litter bins.

When asked how they'd like the street furniture program to be funded 72 per cent of Torontonians said by advertising revenue. That is exactly how the program operates. Astral has assumed responsibility for the design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance of all street furniture with revenue generated from advertising on only two types of street furniture - bus shelters and information pillars.

As one of the Canada's largest public-private partnerships, the program is saving tax payers money, while providing funding for city improvement projects. In fact, over the 20 year contract, the City of Toronto will receive $915 million of value from the program.

Astral has committed to doing all of this, while keeping the amount of advertising on city streets capped. To-date, advertising clutter in Toronto has been decreased by 46 per cent and 3,800 ad bearing litter bins and 1,000 ad bearing benches have been removed.

What do Torontonians want next? Eighty-nine per cent of Torontonians say they are interested in having transit shelters that show emergency information like Amber Alerts. This technology is already available in other cities and could be made available in Toronto in the future.

In 2007, Astral Out-of-Home, a division of Astral Media Inc., was selected by Toronto's City Council to manage what is one of the world's largest street furniture programs with more than 25,000 pieces of street furniture. Since then, Astral Out-of-Home has installed new elements of street furniture, raising the quality of design and replacing outdated and unattractive old shelters and litter bins. The program now contributes twice the amount of revenue it did before Astral took over in the fall of 2007 and provide funding for City streetscape and pedestrian projects.

"The results show us that we are on the right track, but as we look towards the next 15 years of the program we are working with the City of Toronto to make it even better," said Hutchinson.

Astral Out-of-Home
Astral Out-of-Home is one of Canada's leading out-of-home advertising companies with more than 9,500 strategically-placed advertising faces in key markets in Québec, Ontario, and British Columbia. As a forward-looking company, Astral Out-of-Home has embarked on a series of green-and-clean initiatives to reduce its ecological footprint and actively participate in sustainable development.

Astral Media Inc.
Founded in 1961, Astral is one of Canada's largest media companies. It operates several media properties—pay and specialty television, radio, out-of-home advertising and digital media properties—among the most popular in the country. Astral plays a central role in community life across the country by offering diverse, rich and vibrant programming that meets the tastes and needs of consumers and advertisers alike. To learn more about Astral, go to astral.com.

About the Survey
A survey of 539 Torontonians was completed online between December 28, 2012 and January 2, 2013 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb.  A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 4.2%, 19 times out of 20.

Image with caption: "Toronto's Coordinated Street Furniture Program - Highlights (CNW Group/Astral Media Inc.)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130312_C4109_PHOTO_EN_24468.jpg

SOURCE: Astral Media Inc.

For further information:

Media Contact
Abigail Bueno
abueno@webershandwick.com
416-642-7893