Núm. 14 (2020)

Building rapid transit in Canada: the problem of governance

Martin Horak
University of Western Ontario

Publicado 2021-06-09

Cómo citar

Horak, M. (2021). Building rapid transit in Canada: the problem of governance. Anuario De Derecho Municipal, (14), 243–258. https://doi.org/10.37417/ADM/14-2020_09

Los autores mantienen los derechos de autor en la publicación y sólo autorizan a la editorial Marcial Pons los derechos no exclusivos de la publicación y distribución de los artículos


Canadian cities have seen a boom in the construction of rapid transit infrastructure in recent years, fueled by the rise of financial support for transit from the federal government and the provinces. However, the extent to which individual cities have been able to productively harness this new financial support varies greatly. This study compares the recent development of rapid transit infrastructure in two of Canada’s largest metropolitan areas, Toronto and Vancouver. It finds that while both cities have recently developed regional transportation authorities to manage large transit investments, in Toronto the development of rapid transit has been highly contentious, marked by frequent changes in plan and the repeated cancellation and deferral of transit projects, while in Vancouver, the development of rapid transit has been much more consensual and orderly. The study introduces an analytical framework that interprets these different outcomes as the result of dissimilar institutional environments in the two cities, which vary in the extent to which they insulate long-range planning and decision-making from efforts by politicians to harness rapid transit decisions for short-term electoral advantage.


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