Canadian Consulting Engineer

Minister unveils broad plans for Canada’s transportation system

March 5, 2003
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Last week, Transport Minister David Collenette unveiled the government's vision of the future of Canada's transport...

Last week, Transport Minister David Collenette unveiled the government’s vision of the future of Canada’s transportation system in an 84-page report entitled “Straight Ahead.”
Consulting engineers have long been advocating for a structured and organized national transportation policy. Whether the vague promises in this document answer that need and will result in concrete action, remains to be seen.
The report, compiled after a series of roundtable discussions conducted across the country over the past two years, says it is an attempt to "provide direction and purpose as the system adapts to meet the challenges of the 21st century."
The new policy advocates a transportation system that is market-driven, where the government provides an environment for competition without interference, unless as a last resort.
There is a commitment to strengthening the country’s transportation infrastructure, with a focus on reducing gridlock at the border and an emphasis on public transportation.
The document also pledges to address environmental concerns, such as lowering emissions by encouraging Canadians to use alternative modes of transport. It promises an awareness campaign to teach Canadians how to make "environmentally sustainable transportation choices."
The policy also addresses the need for user pricing that reflects the full cost of transportation activities. Also mentioned is the need for integration of different systems, both amongst jurisdictions and the private sector, and ensuring access to the national transportation system by remote regions of the country.
The full details of the report are accessible on the Transport Ministry’s Web site, at


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