OTTAWA, Jan. 19 /CNW/ - Two of Canada's leading think tanks released a
new report today that compares air pollution and greenhouse gas
emissions from road and rail transportation. The report confirms that smog in the GTHA could be reduced significantly by moving
car commuters to rail, such as LRT and subway, and freight trucks to freight trains.
The Sustainable Prosperity, Pembina Institute report "Putting Transportation on Track in the GTHA" provides the most up-to-date data comparing transportation emissions from rail with those of cars and trucks in
urban centres similar to the GTHA, concluding that rail is by far the
cleaner, greener and more sustainable option.
Key findings of the report include:
Road transportation is responsible for a majority of smog-producing
criteria air contaminants (CACs), causing illness and resulting in 440 deaths in Toronto alone and costing $2.2 billion per year. The death toll in Ontario is 9,500 per year.
Road-based passenger travel contributes significantly more GHG emissions
than rail and is two to four times as emission-intensive as rail, yet
currently 70-90% of transportation in the GTHA takes place on roads.
Freight trucks contribute 12 times as much GHG emissions and are five
times as emission-intensive compared to rail.
"Current discussions between decision-makers and the public about the Regional Transportation Plan for the GTHA, must be grounded in fact," said Sustainable Prosperity's David
Thompson, the report's author. "While for the most part it is common
sense that rail is better than road, this report provides decision
makers and the public with hard facts and figures and clearly shows
that building a comprehensive public transit system and encouraging
people and freight shippers to use rail is good for our health, our
air, and our planet."
Sustainable Prosperity and Pembina intend the report to contribute to
the public's understanding of why the Ontario government's
comprehensive plan to build new rapid transit infrastructure and shift
car trips into transit is so important.
"We know that the pollutants that cause smog in the GTHA are 90% lower per person using
rail-based transit than a person using single-occupancy road-based
transportation. There is an opportunity here for decision-makers to do the right
thing and clean up transportation in Greater Toronto," said Cherise
Burda, Ontario policy director with the Pembina Institute. "The health
impacts for the region are some of the worst in urban Canada and the
solution is straight forward - provide rail options that result in
cleaner transit and a cleaner region.
The report "Putting Transportation on Track in the GTHA" highlights the environmental implications for the future of
transportation in the GTHA and adds to the economic and social analysis
provided in the earlier report co-authored by Sustainable Prosperity "Time to Get Serious: Reliable Funding for GTHA Transit/ Transportation
Infrastructure" that clearly identified the urgent need for a better transportation
system, predicting a population increase in the GTHA of three million
by 2031 and an additional 1.5 million cars on the road.
The report, "Putting Transportation on Track", is available online.
Learn more about the work of Sustainable Prosperity, including the
report co-authored by Neal Irwin, IBI Group, for the Greater Toronto
CivicAction Alliance "Time to Get Serious: Reliable Funding for GTHA Transit/ Transportation
Learn more about the work of the Pembina Institute http://www.pembina.org
The Sustainable Prosperity/Pembina report "Putting Transportation on Track in the GTHA" provides the most up-to-date, independently researched data directly
comparing road and rail emissions (for both passenger and freight
transportation). The report's findings, which clearly show lower
greenhouse gas emissions, and an improvement in air quality and
associated health impacts by shifting from road to rail, provide
critical data for the current discussion about the Greater Toronto and
Hamilton Regional Transportation Plan (RTP).
Main Findings of the Report "Putting Transportation on Track in the GTHA" include:
Road-based greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions are at least two to four
times those of rail-based, yet 70 to 90% of transportation in the GTHA
Criteria air contaminants (CACs) cause an enormous burden of illness and
have been estimated to kill 9,500 people per year in Ontario, far more than the number killed by all infectious diseases combined.
In the City of Toronto alone, air pollution just from traffic has been
estimated to kill 440 people and cost $2.2 billion per year.
Transportation is not only the largest but also the fastest growing
source of greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions in Ontario.
Automobile and truck traffic account for the large majority of overall
emissions in the GTHA.
According to the results of the report, the opportunity for the GTHA is
clear: shifting people from cars and trucks to transit will lower greenhouse
gas emissions, smog-producing criteria air contaminants, improve the
air quality resulting in health improvements and lower smog-related
deaths, and will enable the GTHA and the region to meet its
environmental commitments. While other studies have focused on
socio-economic factors, this report clearly sets out the environmental
"Putting Transportation on Track in the GTHA: A survey of road and rail
emissions comparisons" follows the Sustainable Prosperity / Greater Toronto CivicAction
Alliance report "Time to Get Serious: Reliable Funding for GTHA Transit/ Transportation
Infrastructure" that examined the urgent need to improve regional transportation and
provided a menu of funding options to enable the GTHA to implement the
For high resolution versions of images or graphs, including Ontario
Emissions Reports, please contact Jennifer Wesanko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Sustainable Prosperity
For further information:
Jennifer Wesanko, Sustainable Prosperity, 604.347.5988