Mobility

VISION

A transportation system that reduces the need to own a car by providing safe, convenient, connected, affordable options for every trip.

Artist's illustration of a happy sun with a smile.

Benefits of Implementing the Vision

The Innovation Plan

Sidewalk Labs has a comprehensive six-part vision to integrate street design and placemaking, innovative policy, and transportation technologies — new and old — to provide a broad menu of affordable choices for every trip, reducing the need to own a car and setting a bold new course for urban mobility.

 

The first step towards achieving this vision of balanced mobility is to focus on expanding traditional public transit. No other transportation mode can carry as many people, as efficiently and affordably, through a dense urban environment. Sidewalk Labs proposes innovative financing mechanisms that do not rely solely on public funding and can accelerate existing plans for light rail expansions.

 

The next step is to make neighborhoods like Quayside even more pedestrian- and bike-friendly than comparable downtown areas, stitching the waterfront back into the city and connecting people to a range of jobs and essential daily needs through walking or cycling. Taken together, transit extensions and walking and cycling improvements should allow almost all residents of Quayside to meet their daily travel needs without a car.

 

The critical third step is to help households make the occasional car trip without owning a car. A new generation of ride-hail services makes it possible to serve these trips at a far lower cost than privately owned cars do today, without adding more vehicles to city streets, through pricing that encourages sharing. These services are poised to become even more convenient and affordable with the prospect of self-driving technology.

 

Self-driving vehicles could become both widely available and demonstrably safer than today’s drivers over the next 15 years. Their ability to operate as fleets or shared services could enable cities to recapture most of the street space once devoted to parking, and to repurpose this space for bike lanes, wider sidewalks, transit services, or pick-ups and drop-offs that would make it easier to live comfortably in the city without owning a car.

 

Another set of benefits would come from freight and management innovations. To help keep trucks off local streets, Sidewalk Labs plans to create a logistics hub connected to neighbourhood buildings through underground delivery tunnels.

 

And to coordinate the entire mobility system, Sidewalk Labs proposes a new public entity that uses real-time traffic management tools, pricing policies, and an integrated mobility package to encourage transit, walking, cycling, and shared trips.

 

Finally, as a foundation for this entire system, Sidewalk Labs proposes a people-first street network specifically designed to keep traffic moving while enhancing safety, comfort, and street life for pedestrians and cyclists.

Key Goals

Expand transit.

No other mode can carry as many people as efficiently or affordably.

Walk and bike year-round.

Helping residents meet most or all of their daily needs on foot or by bike.

Make way for new mobility.

Services such as ride-hail, bike-share, and electric vehicle car-share would provide affordable trip options.

Reimagine freight.

Deliveries would make their way to homes and businesses via underground tunnels, not trucks on local streets.

Improve mobility management.

A new public entity could use pricing and tech to encourage transit, walking, cycling, and shared trips.

Design people-first streets.

Streets can be safer and more pleasant to walk and cycle on — while still getting people where they need to go.

Key Innovations

Sidewalk Labs proposes an array of digital, physical, and policy innovations for the eastern waterfront, with the ultimate goal of improving people’s lives. The following examples are just some of the mobility innovations proposed in the Master Innovation and Development Plan.

Self-financing the LRT.

This innovative financing mechanism — which would allow the light rail transit development to finance a portion of its own costs — could help build the long-desired extension, unlocking the eastern waterfront’s potential. The LRT could get its own right-of-way, and even get priority and intersection and stops, making it faster and more reliable.

Adaptive traffic signals.

These signals have the ability to give intersection priority to pedestrians and cyclists who need more time to cross safely, or to transit vehicles running behind schedule.

A mobility subscription package.

This package would include a TTC monthly pass, an unlimited Bike Share Toronto membership, access to electric scooters and other low-speed vehicles, and credits for rides with ride-hail or car-share providers — and could save two-person households roughly $4,000 a year.

A “15-minute neighbourhood.”

Thanks to a mixed development program, vibrant ground floors, public transit proximity, and social infrastructure spaces, residents could access all of their essential daily needs within a 15-minute walk.

Smart containers and self-driving delivery dollies.

A “smart container” can be filled with one or many packages, placed easily onto delivery vehicles, and embedded with location-based capabilities to help reduce missed deliveries. Self-driving delivery dollies could carry the containers to their final destination.

A mobility management system.

A mobility management system would use real-time information to coordinate travel modes, traffic signals, and street infrastructure, and to apply pricing to curb and parking spaces — reducing congestion and encouraging shared trips.

Street design.

“People-first” street types are designed for different speeds and primary uses, including Boulevards and Transitways for public transit and vehicle traffic, Accessways for cyclists, and Laneways for pedestrians. All street types meet — or exceed — accessibility requirements.

Accessibility initiatives.

A wide set of accessibility initiatives would include curbless street design, wider sidewalks, heated pavement, wayfinding beacons, and accessible ride-hail vehicles.

We have made important updates to the Sidewalk Toronto project. Learn more.