OTA has say in traffic calming initiative

TORONTO, (June 2, 2005) — Ontario truckers will have a voice in what is being billed as the largest-ever traffic reduction program in the country.

The Ontario Trucking Association’s communications manager Rebecka Torn has been offered a seat at the Smart Commute Initiative’s advisory council. The program was formed to encourage commuters to change commuting behaviour and habits through promotion of initiatives such as car pooling, vanpooling, transit, biking, and telework.

There are already 7 million car trips each day in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton, says the OTA. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is predicting a 55 percent increase in car travel in the GTA by 2021.

“For the trucking industry, congestion increases the cost of transportation, delays just-in-time shipments and has a negative impact on the emotional well-being of transport truck drivers. Congestion has even been cited as a reason for people to avoid making a career in the trucking industry,” says Torn.

She says a ride matching program to help employees who wish to carpool find car-sharing and car-pooling partners is also in the works. “There is also a thrust to encourage employers to introduce alternative employee work arrangements such as compressed work weeks and flex hours,” says Torn. “Even small changes to commuter behaviour can have a huge impact on congestion.”

Honourary Committee Chair Dr. Gordon Chong predicts there would be a 5 percent reduction in overall traffic volumes if commuters would work at home even one day per month.

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