We need leaders who understand transit is a strategic asset

We need leaders who understand transit is a strategic asset

Hamilton city council adopts sensible transit strategy, then proceeds to ignore it, Sean Hurley writes.

Hamilton would be a better place to raise a child and age successfully if city councillors realized that public transit is so much more than a budget expense. Public transit has strategic value that can bring key policy objectives within reach.

Vision Zero is one of these objectives. According to the city website, Vision Zero seeks to achieve “an ultimate goal of no deaths or serious injuries on roadways.” Getting to Vision Zero requires “safer streets through improved education, enforcement, engineering, evaluation and engagement.” Do you notice anything missing?

The Vision Zero approach to road safety originated in Sweden. Gothenburg, a Swedish city of less than one million, boasts a transit share of motorized trips at 24 per cent versus 34 per cent for private vehicles. This is not out of the ordinary for Swedish cities. In Hamilton, by contrast, only seven per cent of trips are by bus versus about 85 per cent by automobile.

Hamilton’s Vision Zero website reports there are more than 7,900 vehicle collisions annually resulting in 16 fatalities, 1,824 injuries, and 6,060 incidents of property damage while carrying a social cost of a staggering $608 million. Public transit can change that.

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