A well-functioning transit system is critical to the success of any major city. Transit is more than just moving people from point A to point B. A transit system affects how cities are designed and where people choose to live and work. In short, a well-functioning transit system plays a leading role in the social, economic and environmental sustainability of any city.
In Edmonton’s case, one of the biggest challenges our transit system faces is providing service in a way that meets the needs of a diverse and growing population, with often competing interests, in as equitable manner possible; this challenge is being addressed through the development of our Transit Strategy.
The development of this Transit Strategy aims to identify the long term strategy for transit, and will assist in guiding how transit it provided throughout Edmonton. At today’s Urban Planning Committee, we received a report detailing the results of an extensive public engagement process, as well as the strategic direction for the development of the Transit Strategy.
In any service provision, and none so apparent as the provision of transit service, there will always be trade-offs. Throughout this process, and during the development of the Transit Strategy, the trade-off of frequency versus coverage is arguably the biggest challenge being addressed.
Do we want transit service to be more frequent, and if so, is it acceptable to increase the walking distance to bus stops to accommodate this increase in frequency? Do we want our transit service to get us to and from our destinations as quick as possible, and if so, is it acceptable to cover less area in a neighbourhood? How do we provide transit service for our more vulnerable community members, but at the same time, provide a level of service that encourages commuter ridership, in an equitable manner?
These are just some of the questions that have been asked, and will continue to be asked as the Transit Strategy is developed, and I would appreciate hearing from you if you have any suggestions as to how we can best approach and answer these questions.