RC108 SeptOct2023 - Magazine - Page 10
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mobility hubs, which are safe and convenient crossovers,
and transfer stations. Additionally, for the Province of
Ontario, the wide array of mobility options could sustainably connect GTA workers to employment opportunities
around the province.
Do you think MaaS will be implemented in public policy
or perhaps through public-private partnerships?
Yes, I think it’s almost inevitable that any MaaS solution
must include private partners. One of the key questions is
whether we can deliver transformative change while also
reducing capital outlay. That said, unlike some traditional
infrastructure projects there isn’t a lot of large, expensive
physical builds required to deliver a MaaS solution. It’s
more about services and technology and connecting them
all together. Companies like Uber are already offering
some of the solutions. So how do we leverage these existing solutions? Canada is already a leader in alternate delivery models, and we should certainly take advantage of
suitable partnerships and lessons learned where possible.
By defining MaaS
and the Canadian
Urban Institute are
working to advance the
conversation about the
potential to improve
equity and access to
mobility in the Greater
Who will own this and why, and does everyone agree?
Are municipalities, the province and the TTC all coming
together? Or perhaps it’s better to have a new collaborative body that includes all?
Secondly, shared goals. There are many valid outcomes
from MaaS, such as helping affordability, driving sustainability, reducing congestion, and increasing equity, but
we need to prioritize because we may not be able to solve
them all at once. Focus is key.
Fare Integration, which is critical to successful MaaS,
is another issue that doesn’t really work properly unless
you have a way of integrating the data and paying one
fee. There’s too much confusion, for example, Uber versus
presto versus various others. Once we have a common
platform, we can achieve savings.
Finally, bringing everyone together is critical. Everyone
is currently stuck in silos. We need political will, and we
need to have the majority of people on board.
What is the potential value proposition of MaaS in terms
of travellers, transit agencies, and municipalities?
There are many possible benefits. MaaS makes equity
more doable and gets people further afield for less. This
is a call to action. Let’s get people excited and want to be
included so we can get local and regional government on
board and let’s aim our goals and the cost-benefit analysis
will be revealed at the next stage.
For travellers, it has the potential to significantly
expand the mobility options available, including for the
physically, economically, and socially disadvantaged.
For municipalities, it can build on existing flexible
frameworks and pilot programs and can be contracted to
private sector operators for cost-effectiveness. For transit
agencies, MaaS can contribute to solving the challenges
of the first and last-mile problem on local and regional transportation networks by connecting travellers to
RENEW CANADA – SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2023
What are the next steps in implementing the findings of
the MaaS study?
There are a lot of people involved and different levels of
interests with various demographics, including groups
that deal with low-income families, accessibility agencies,
municipalities, and transit agencies. We want to go back
to all of them and show them what we found, discuss the
collective view, and then we need to talk about the types
of outcomes we can create for them.
But overall, now there’s a common definition of what
MaaS could mean for the GTA it’s important to galvanize
the agenda and find a formal place to push this. There’s
a major opportunity here. How do we get political will to
propel these ideas further? To drive ownership in the collective agenda? We’d like to see some of the ideas in this
report pushed towards policy and make sure the agenda
moves forward further for the benefit of all involved.
What are your hopes for new Toronto Mayor Olivia
Chow’s policy and budget planning when it comes to
I’ve been here in Toronto about 13 years. There are many
great things here, but Toronto, like many cities, struggles with political cycles. So firstly, I think it would be
important to finish the stuff that’s half-way through and
not go all the way back to the drawing board. I hope the
transit pieces stay at the forefront as promised. But can
we do more than traditional? I think we can leapfrog the
traditional transit plans and get ahead. Particularly with
something like MaaS. it would enable more to connect effectively to what we already have, multiplying the effect.
It really helps with the first mile, last mile problem.
By defining MaaS benefits and its associated implementation challenges, we are working to advance the conversation about its potential to improve equity and access
to mobility in the GTA, while also creating an approach
to MaaS that can be leveraged in other Canadian cities.
Overall though I’d love Olivia Chow to look closely at
the opportunities MaaS can present as part of the ongoing
transformation of transit in the region.