With the release of Ontario's 2013 budget, the province's mandate of how and where public money will be spent for the next year was outlined. One of the most publicized and controversial topics in Ontario is how to address transit expansion in the City of Toronto. Currently, the 2013 budget does not allocate money towards transit, but it does address the highly contested debate regarding how transit expansion would be funded. Rather than designating transit a top priority and allocating existing budget funds accordingly, the debate has instead shifted towards dedicated funding mechanisms such as the use of high occupancy vehicle toll lanes in the GTA. As the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity argues in their newly released report, transportation is a key component of government infrastructure, and appropriate investments in transit expansion in Toronto must take place in order to ensure future prosperity in the City. With this in mind, this Insight will examine Toronto's transit system in comparison with Chicago's, in order to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of our current system. These two cities are a natural comparison; given the fact they are also have similar economies, amenities, and Creative Class shares, with the City of Toronto recently surpassing Chicago in population to become the fourth largest city in North America.
To compare the transit systems in these two cities, we used our transit score, which measures the availability of a train, bus or streetcar within 500m, to determine the transit accessibility within different neighbourhoods. For a full explanation of our transit score and the metrics used, click here. For this Insight, we have updated our Toronto map, while creating one for the city of Chicago.