Could ride sharing be the answer to reducing gridlock in Canada's cities?

Traffic chaos: Cities everywhere are struggling to reduce congestion. Public transit and carpooling are the familiar tools. But new ride sharing options such as UberPool now promise to offer more. What do you think?

Traffic chaos: Cities everywhere are struggling to reduce congestion and improve the movement of people and goods. While roads carry the bulk, planners look to public transit and carpooling to lighten traffic. But new ride sharing options such as UberPool offer different ways of getting around. What do  you think?



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Ever since the first donkey dug in his hoofs and refused to budge from the middle of the entrance to the town market, people have been looking for solutions to traffic slow-downs. In Toronto this week it wasn't donkeys people were worrying about. With over a million cars on the roads it was HOV lanes, VIP traffic, not to mention irate commuters as the Pan Am Games rode into town. Earlier this month we learned Vancouver voters soundly rejected a bid to increase taxes to beef up their transit system. But their anger was directed at the regional transportation agency TransLink for not making better use of the roughly one-and-a-half-billion dollars they already spend annually.

Politicians know that keeping the people happy is not an easy task but one sure way is to spend more money on road construction. But more roads usually just means more cars and many are now thinking seriously about better ways of moving people around and in and out of cities. Experts say more and better transit is the way to go. But what happens in the meantime, look how long it takes to get relatively small projects completed. 

The Vancouver referendum was the hope of many in that city it is back to the drawing board. One thing is clear - Canadians love their cars and enticing them out is not going to be easy. Uber thinks they can do it. The ride-sharing company is moving into cities around the world and offering cheaper and easier alternatives to taxis and carpooling. They are wildy popular in some places but they're giving city administrators headaches and taxi drivers are taking to the streets in sometimes violent protest.

We want to know what you think. How bad is congestion in your city?  Is it a mug's game trying to keep up with it, or are there good tools and new approaches that can dramatically improve the situation quickly? What do you think of all the measures designed to get cars off the roads? There is car sharing, ride sharing, carpooling, there are tolls, no-go zones, and alternate day restrictions. And, what about the new digitally based solutions such as Uber? Will they help the overall situation?

Our question today: "Could ride sharing be the answer to reducing gridlock in Canada's cities?" I'm David Common  ...on CBC Radio One ...and on Sirius XM, satellite radio channel 169 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.


Melanie Hare
Partner with Toronto-based urban planning and consultancy firm Urban Strategies Inc.
Twitter: @UrbStratMelanie

Kristine Owram
Financial Post transportation reporter.
Twitter: @KristineOwram

Brent Toderian
Urban planning consultant and former chief city planner of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Twitter: @BrentToderian

Michael Fenn
President of Fenn Advisory Services, senior advisor at StrategyCorp, former Ontario Deputy Minister and the founding CEO of Metrolinx.


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