New Report Reveals Light Rail Transit is the ‘Greener Way’ for Toronto’s Transit Expansion

For Immediate Release
November 15, 2010

New Report Reveals Light Rail Transit is the ‘Greener Way’ for
Toronto’s Transit Expansion

Toronto: A just-released report reveals Light Rail Transit (LRT), not subways, offer the best hope for combating climate change in Toronto.


“As the new City Council discusses how to get fast, reliable public transit into Toronto’s inner suburbs, it needs to consider the environmental impacts of the various options,” says Dr. Franz Hartmann, Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA). “The facts suggest that Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs), not subways, are the best technology –per dollar invested- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

These findings are presented in a new report titled Clearing the Air on the TTC, just published by the Toronto Environmental Alliance and TTCriders, a new transit riders advocacy group. The report notes that – per dollar spent – LRT systems emit less than half the greenhouse gases of subways. And because LRT systems are cheaper and faster to build, more can be built, reaching more people and therefore getting more cars off the road sooner.

“It’s clear that from an environmental perspective, the 2007 Transit City Plan is the best plan,” said Hartmann. “I hope this new information will help convince City Council that subways are not the answer to getting fast, reliable transit to all four corners of the City. Rather, City Council should go with the option that is best for the environment and the pocketbook: Transit City.”

The report also provides some new statistics on the environmental benefits of existing TTC subway, streetcar and bus services. Existing service is estimated to avoid pumping almost 360,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions into the environment because people don’t drive. Put differently, because of the TTC, Torontonians aren’t burning the equivalent of 140 million litres of gas a year.

The report also has recommendations to the new Council about how to maximize the environmental benefits of the TTC.


For more information, contact: Dr. Franz Hartmann, Executive Director