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How will the City of Toronto manage its traffic congestion?

POSSIBLE ANSWERS

PREDICTED CHANCE

TODAY

Add Bike Lanes

(closed)

Predicted: 5.01%

Actual: 0.00%

Add Lanes to Roads

(closed)

Predicted: 24.46%

Actual: 0.00%

DVP Fee

(closed)

Predicted: 0.46%

Actual: 0.00%

Gardiner Expressway Fee

(closed)

Predicted: 0.46%

Actual: 0.00%

Increase Development Density on TTC

(closed)

Predicted: 5.76%

Actual: 0.00%

Increased Parking Fees > %25

(closed)

Predicted: 0.57%

Actual: 0.00%

Increased Parking fees < %25

(closed)

Predicted: 0.46%

Actual: 0.00%

Nothing that works.

(closed)

Predicted: 72.56%

Actual: 100.00%

One-Way Yonge St

(closed)

Predicted: 0.53%

Actual: 0.00%

Reduce Commercial Property Taxes

(closed)

Predicted: 0.56%

Actual: 0.00%

Reduce Residential Property Taxes

(closed)

Predicted: 0.54%

Actual: 0.00%

TTC Rush Hour Premium

(closed)

Predicted: 0.46%

Actual: 0.00%

  • completed

Question ends

February 27, 2010 @ 10:23am PST

topic

Regional

Predictions Made

102

Most by: wstritt (61 predictions)

Discussion

Sort by: Up Date

batz   •   Thu Feb 28 2008 at 07:13am PST

A user on this market informed me that parking fees have increased less than %25. Thank you for sending this. The city has had a serious budget issue that has caused it to cut services across the board and this increase may be related to that. There was no indication that this would reduce congestion, however, as the poster points out, it is indeed a good start.

“It would appear that Toronto raised parking fees effective 1/1/08 by, on average, less than 25%. Seems like a start.

http://www.greenp.com/tpa/boardmeetings/boardmeetings2007/pdf/Nov%2013-2007%20minutes.pdf "

wstritt   •   Fri Jan 01 2010 at 11:53am PST

http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2010/01/01/12318086-sun.html

Per Toronto Sun: “The company plans to invest more than $70 million in 2010 to build 20 km of new lanes and other highway improvements to help reduce congestion, 407 ETR president Jose Tamariz said.”

Though I guess that isn’t the “City of Toronto” doing that….

wstritt   •   Fri Jan 01 2010 at 12:11pm PST

Toronto adding bike lanes though it seems like traffic congestion will increase since car lanes are being reduced.

http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2009/12/29/12289756-sun.html

wstritt   •   Tue Jan 26 2010 at 08:01pm PST

Apparently nothing has worked yet

What are the chances of anything new over the next month?

batz   •   Wed Jan 27 2010 at 08:10am PST

comment added below.

batz   •   Wed Jan 27 2010 at 08:09am PST

There are two ways to reduce congestion, one is fewer cars, the other is more distinct routes. Fewer cars is an intractable political/economic problem unless you institute fees on routes. Adding lanes is useless as you still have the same volume and direction. e.g. people will take the 401 to etobicoke, mississauga, oakville and hamilton, so we have all those cars on the same road no matter how wide it is. It is why harbord is a better route west than bloor, it only goes to ossington, so the variety of distinct trips are reduced. If you look at trips as the probability of a car getting from A to B in a given time, based on the “capacity” of the route, each vehicle can be treated as probabilistic noise on a channel. The way to reduce noise is by reducing the variety of trips on a route (entropy in the argot) so that all the cars are traveling to the same place in a similar defined period. (e.g. a direct train would be a noiseless channel, as there are no other trips on the route.) Shannon’s theorem can be used to model this, but the models informing current flows are based on the edge of engineer’s knowledge. It’s not a fluid, it’s an information problem, with some graph theory thrown in. The trouble with our grid system is that theoretically it offers an infinite number of routes, but in practice, randomly connected one-way streets and speed bumps make all but a few routes infeasible for a given trip. We need an efficient graph connecting the most popular destinations with distinct routes. Separate ones for each suburb, basically. The existing grid can handle this, but it means traffic passing through neighbourhoods, and we are back to the intractable political problem. The only way to win this one is to earn enough to live somewhere else, or buy a helicopter.

wstritt   •   Wed Jan 27 2010 at 02:19pm PST

Details are too technical for me but it think the second line pretty much sums it up. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much of a political will in either the US or Canada to do what is necessary to reduce congestion.

People presumably want the “freedom” of cars, don’t want to pay taxes or fees and end up with congestion (which they can complain about placing the blame on “someone else”, government or otherwise). There is a “cost” but it ends up being “less time with family” rather than less cash in their pocket from lost wages (and maybe not really lost GDP) which they can, presumably, live with in exchange for fewer taxes and more flexibility.

Problem is, of course, that what is best for an individual is not necessarily optimal for society (see tragedy of the commons). Not clear that traffic congestion is at the point where society in the aggregate has been unduly damaged however, given required lead times to get anything done, question is will anyone act in time?

batz   •   Wed Jan 27 2010 at 05:06pm PST

I received your comment via mail so I thought I would follow up. The tragedy of the commons you mention is one economic explanation. If you have ever taken the 407, when they are worth it, toll roads are great. Given that it’s an alternative route, it is good economic sense, and not merely rent-seeking on the part of the city. The argument here is whether what is best for everyone is to give them better choices, or to force them all to be treated the same, albeit at a marginally improved level. This is a broader political discussion where the rightward fall in the former category, and the leftward fall in the latter. Since economics is about trade-offs, barring extremists seizing power, some equilibrium between these will be found. The thing about tolls is that while it takes wealthier people and businesses out of gridlock, any improvement in traffic without an accompanying improvement in transit may cause train riders to trade up for cars, as traffic would be more bearable once there are fewer rich drivers in it.

Investing in more frequent service, better amenities and first class cars on commuter trains may entice more people away from the roads, but there is still the problem of oversubscribed car routes.

Cabs are over regulated and their fixed price scheme makes them too expensive to be productive. They could make as much or more money with more trips if the rates were deregulated. Also, cabs would be a viable alternative to private cars for more people. As it stands, taking cabs costs the same as owning a german luxury car when they should cost the same as a good american one. There is a dead weight of monopoly problem there.

TTC subway fares should be 0.50 more during rush hour so that people can save by taking trips earlier or later.

This raises the question, “but what about the poor?”, well the poor will benefit from cheaper subway rides at less crowded times, they will be more able to afford taxis when they need them, and benefit from more frequent train service from the burbs.

wstritt   •   Sun Feb 28 2010 at 07:15pm PST

batz

I couldn’t find any but did any miracles occur easing Toronto’s traffic congestion?

Thanks

wstritt   •   Wed Mar 10 2010 at 05:06pm PST

This article suggests Toronto’s traffic congestion issue has not been solved.

This one says proposed bicycle lanes have been proposed but are being opposed by many on the basis that they will only add to congestion.

This one says property taxes have been going up for budgetary reasons (so no reduction to reduce traffic congestion) while 5th from last paragraph and this article suggests putting in tolls both to raise money (and maybe reduce congestion), the latter also talking about increasing parking taxes, so clearly these have yet to be done.

Google Maps still shows Yonge Street as being 2 way.

As best I can tell, “Nothing that works” should cash out at 100 and everything else (aside from maybe “add lanes to roads” referenced in 1/1/10 comment) should cash out at 0.

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More information about the possible answers

Add Bike Lanes

Add Lanes to Roads

DVP Fee

Gardiner Expressway Fee

Increase Development Density on TTC

Increased Parking Fees > %25

Increased Parking fees < %25

Nothing that works.

One-Way Yonge St

Reduce Commercial Property Taxes

Reduce Residential Property Taxes

TTC Rush Hour Premium