Public transit
[Home] [Up] [Climate change] [Biomass] [City farming] [Public transit] [Household emission] [Hi-tech garbage] [Small business] [TV piracy]

From: "Prime Minister/Premier ministre"
To: "Michael Tung"
Cc: "Gary Lunn"; "Lawrence Cannon"; "Rona Ambrose, P.C., M.P."
Sent: Friday, June 30, 2006 11:39 AM
Subject: Office of the Prime Minister / Cabinet du Premier ministre

Dear Mr. Tung:

    On behalf of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your message regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

    You may be assured that your comments have been carefully reviewed.  As the issue you have raised is of particular interest to the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, and the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities, I have taken the liberty of forwarding copies of your correspondence to them.  I am certain that the Ministers will also appreciate being made aware of your views.

    Thank you for writing to the Prime Minister. For more infomation about the Government's iniatives, you may wish to visit the Prime Minister's Web site, at

    Yours sincerely,

P. Monteith
Executive Correspondence Officer
for the Prime Minister's Office
Agent de correspondance
de la haute direction
pour le Cabinet du Premier ministre

>>>   Michael Tung  2006/06/30 11:37:10 AM   >>>

How to reduce auto emission in North America?

The Kyoto accord requires three approaches to reduce emissions. They are from the automobiles, industries, and households. There are two methods to reduce automobile emissions. One is by technology, which has already been done a lot. And there are still lots of research have to be done. Ultimately we will switch to use hydrogen. There are many countries are already competing to be the leader in this field. China will use one thousand hydrogen powered buses during the 2008 Olympic. They said the cost to operate hydrogen bus at this moment is already lower than using gasoline. It will be cheaper if hydrogen is mass produced. If Canada draws out the Kyoto accord, we shall lag behind in this technology. Many people believe reducing emission will cost the country lots of money. They have not considered the benefits and jobs created by it. We are not discussing technology in this article. We are just discussing commonsense, or a better to say is to reduce the ignorance of people. This alternative method doesn’t cost money. It is very immediate, and effective.

There are already some traffic programs management has been implemented by some cities. Such as:

bulletCar pool.
bulletEnforce a minimum number of passengers per vehicle on travelling on highway.
bulletOne way traffic.
bulletComputer controlled traffic.
bulletRadio and television report on traffic.
bulletMinimum speed on highway.
bulletEncourage the use of public transit.
bulletEncourage walking or cycling to work.
bulletSet up green space in the city.
bulletMake parking fee expensive to discourage people driving in city.
bulletMake taxes heavier on cars.

The above methods are punishment method. It doesn’t seem to work well. North American families own two or even more cars per family are very common. We go to work with car is a style. New developments assume you must own a vehicle before you are qualified to live in. Double garage are standard feature. The cities of America are built for cars. You have no way of getting around if you do not have a car. Spaghetti shaped roads makes people looped around in a maze. Shopping is difficult without a cars High school education would assume you would live in a society of automobiles. Then, why don’t we think of the reason why people need automobiles?

People need that many automobiles because of convenience. Then what make them inconvenience?

bulletIt is too far to go to work.
bulletBuildings are spread too far apart.
bulletThe public transit is expensive.
bulletThere are no direct routes to destination, needs too many transits.
bulletTakes too much time to travel.
bulletOvercrowding on public transit.

I won’t want to own two cars if I do not have to. The auto insurance is expensive. Maintenance is costly. Fuel is expensive. But I cannot survive if I do not own them. Then why don’t we make the society less depending on cars? 

Stop signs are a tourist feature in North America. It was the first thing that I noticed when I arrived in North America. A frequently totally stopping vehicle gives a very low yield on mileage. It is absurd to see a vehicle stopping for nothing. A slow speed of say 5 miles per hour gives less emission than total stop. Most countries in the world do not have stop sign. I cannot see it is more dangerous to walk in these countries.

The routing system of North America is based on a grid, and not an express system. For example, from A Street to C Street, you might have to take a route A bus to B Street, then take B route bus to C Street, then take C route bus to my destination. It could take me one-hour time for a five-minute express drive.

Some cities’ routing system is based on centralized subway system. All buses will direct to subway regardless of where you go. If your destination is from A Street to C Street, you must ride the bus to subway, and then transfer from subway to take the bus again, even the distance between two places is only five minutes walk.

Public transit is losing money because of not enough riders. Transit companies are not interested in finding a solution to fix it. Instead, they either raise the price or advertise to get more riders. Advertising cannot increase usage if the service does not meet the demand. Even if transit companies want to find the solution, there are too many regulations, laws, and exclusive rights prohibiting them from doing so.

Below is a typical example:

I live in Mississauga, Ontario. If I want to visit a friend in Markham, Ontario and drive there with a van, it will cost me $20.00 of gas for a round trip. If I drive with a small sedan, it will cost me $10.00 of gas. It will take me 45 minutes per trip. If I take public transit, it will take me three hours per trip. A round trip will take me six hours. Almost a whole day used for travel. I have to take Mississauga bus to subway, Then, I have take subway to Scarborough. In Scarborough, I have to take bus to border of Markham and transit to Markham bus. It will cost me $15.50 for a round trip. If I have a family of four, I have to pay $62.00. These two cities are neighbouring cities. There are many people travel between these two cities daily. Above data shows very well it is not feasible for them to use public transit. The shortest route is to take Hwy 401 and 403 go along North of Toronto. Markham is on North of Toronto. On taking public transit, I have to travel on South of Toronto. It is twice the distance. Public transit companies will violate law if they run buses between Mississauga and Markham, because their buses cannot go beyond the closest city. On Hwy 401, there are millions of cars travelling between these two cites daily. One bus can take 40 or more passengers. It can eliminate 40 cars per trip on the road if there is an express bus commuting between these two cities. It would be smarter to pay $5.00 per day to ride public transit instead of paying $10.00 of gas if there is such a service.

I grew up in a populated city of five millions. Hong Kong has a severe traffic jam problem. Not an average person can own a car. Most people rely on public transit. I did not hear any complains on the public transit would take them long to get destination. I hear only praising how convenience is the public transit. It is because their public transit system is designed on demand. If there is a demand from A Street and C Street, then they open an express route from A to C. They are not using the stubborn grid system.

The North American traffic fair system is based on per ride. A short distance passenger will pay the same fair of a long distance passenger. It discouraged a short distance passenger to use public transit, and encourage people to live further away.

There are all kinds of transportation vehicles in Hong Kong. They have railway, cable car, subway, tram, bus, minibus, taxi, and illegal taxi. Tram is a double deck electric streetcar. It is very efficient and environmental friendly. Illegal taxi is non-licensed taxi, it helps to smoothen traffic, local authority limitedly forbidden them. I want to emphasize the use of minibus and taxi in here. Mini buses owners in Hong Kong are licensed small business. Their route and fair are very flexible. If there is a crowd of people needs to clear up at certain sport, driven by business eager, in very short while, these small business owners will be there and clean up the crowd at reasonable price. During office hours, they have done a very good job on doing express route which large bus companies not interested. It is also a very common practise to share a taxi to go to work. There is no need to book a taxi in advance. You can get partner on the street to share the cost with ease. Taxi driver is also very willing to get partner for you because they can get extra tipping.

The price of taxi in North America is ridiculously high. There are lots of room to improve this business.

Monorail is a quiet, fast, space saving, environmental, and cheap vehicle for mass transit. I do not understand why we can find them only in Disney World?

Many airports have very little public transit. You have limited options to access the airport.

To reduce the number of vehicles on the street in North America is a sensible and effective way to reduce emission. The following suggestion is an intermediate way to reduce emission.

bulletGive ministers a survey trips to Hong Kong for study how they solve public transit problem.
bulletGive projects to universities to survey and design express routes according to demand.
bulletDeregulate monopoly on public transit system to allow more competition.
bulletAllow bus companies to run intercity route.
bulletAdjust fair according to distance.
bulletLicense minibuses to operate.
bulletLicense more taxi.
bulletConvert stop signs to yield sign. Yield means you have to stop only if there are people crossing.
bulletPublic mass transit system should be on design prior to new development.
bulletPut people closer together on city design.
bulletAllow public transit access airports.
bulletConsider monorail and electrify system.

If citizens are satisfied with the public transit system, the number of vehicles on the road will be reduced naturally. If there are not enough riders, then, obviously it is a management problem. It is not a citizen who wants to drive; it is the environments force him to drive. There are lots of room to reduce traffic. There is no means to use technology to overcome commonsense. But we can use both.

----- Original Message -----
From: <Minister of Transport>; <Infrastructure and Communities / Ministre des Transports>; "de l'infrastructure et des Collectivités"
To: Michael Tung
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 11:03 AM
Subject: Kyoto Accord

Dear Mr. Tung:

The Prime Minister's Office has forwarded to the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, a copy of your correspondence of June 30, 2006, regarding the Kyoto Accord and reducing auto emissions.  The Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf. 

The Minister appreciates receiving your views on this matter.  Your e-mail touched on many key issues, including sustainable transportation, active transportation, transportation demand management, public transit route design, public transit fare structure, public transit deregulation and vehicle technology. 

Transport Canada is committed to encouraging an environmentally sustainable transportation system, and has undertaken numerous measures to address important issues affecting urban transportation in Canada.  I appreciating having this opportunity to highlight some of the initiatives currently being pursued by the department.  Please note that certain programs, particularly Transport Canada's Urban Transportation Showcase Program (UTSP) and Moving on Sustainable Transportation (MOST), address a great number of your concerns and suggestions regarding existing transportation issues. 

Sustainable Transportation

The UTSP commits $40 million in funding over five years to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) and criteria air contaminant (CAC) emissions.  This program integrates projects that promote modal shifts to sustainable transportation options.  Showcases include transportation services, infrastructure investments, demand management initiatives, land-use strategies, public outreach and advanced technologies.  Detailed program information is available on Transport Canada's website at .

The MOST initiative provides financial support to organizations for education, public awareness and analytical tools necessary to make sustainable transportation a reality.  For more information, please visit Transport Canada's MOST website at, or contact your local municipality to find out more about sustainable transportation projects in your community.

Road network design

One of Transport Canada's goals is to help municipalities adopt integrated transportation and land-use decision-making and planning.  Transport Canada is working with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and municipal transportation experts to conduct a study entitled A Comparative Assessment of the Transportation Impacts of Various Road Network and Land-use Approaches.  This study will examine the relationships between road networks and mobility patterns.  Specifically, it will assess the transportation impacts of various road network and land-use approaches.

Active Transportation

The MOST program includes projects that encourage the use of active transportation (e.g. walking, cycling and skating), public transit, carpooling and teleworking.  Projects include conducting studies to improve conditions and infrastructure for cyclists, providing opportunities through programs like the Community Bicycle Network's BikeShare, expanding programs such as Active and Safe Routes to School and the Walking School Bus to increase the number of children walking to school, and training programs for cyclists to increase their comfort and safety on roads.  For more information on BikeShare, visit .

The aforementioned comparative assessment also analyzes access to active transportation options, including pedestrian and bicycle mobility.  One of the purposes of the study is to assess and compare automobile use, transit ridership and active transportation use of each road network layout.  For more information on policy research, including the impact of transit improvements, please visit Transport Canada's Urban Studies website at

Transportation Demand Management

Transport Canada's UTSP includes the implementation of transportation demand management (TDM) measures.  You can find out more about TDM through the UTSP database at:

Transport Canada's MOST program includes TDM and employer programs, such as trip reduction programs aimed at reducing single-occupant car trips; promoting telework projects; and implementing social marketing campaigns as well as education and awareness campaigns.  To find out more about MOST, TDM and Employer Programs, please visit the following website:

Public Transit Route Design

The Government of Canada is committed to working with stakeholders to continue building strong communities.  In Canada, public transit is a provincial/territorial and municipal responsibility, carried out in the majority of cases by local transit authorities and agencies.  These agencies decide on, among other things, fares, transit routing, scheduling and service levels.

The UTSP works with urban transit authorities to develop showcases that include demand management and route design for buses, bus-rapid transit corridors and other means to foster sustainable transportation.  One example of this is the new iXpress bus rapid transit service in the Region of Waterloo.  This service connects communities within the region with an express service that features transit priority and real-time schedule information.

Transport Canada's MOST has worked with smaller municipalities to improve transit design and develop more comprehensive transportation planning for cyclists and pedestrians.  Currently, MOST is providing funding to the Toronto Environmental Alliance to conduct community roundtables aimed at improving transit routes and service schedules in five neighbourhoods in the Greater Toronto Area.

Public Transit Fare Structure

Canadians must be encouraged to choose public transit by making this option more financially attractive.  For this reason, Budget 2006 announced that, effective July 1, 2006, commuters could claim a tax credit for monthly (or longer) public transit passes.  Public transit includes transit by local bus, streetcar, subway, commuter train, commuter bus and local ferry.  In addition, parents are able to claim the tax credit on behalf of dependent children.  A person who buys an $80 pass each month will save up to $150 in taxes over the year.

In addition, Budget 2006 noted that the federal government will accelerate investments in public transit infrastructure by making $400 million available to provinces and territories.  The government will also provide a one-time payment of $900 million to provinces and territories to be paid into a third-party trust, contingent on sufficient funds being available from the 2005-06 surplus in excess of $2 billion.  The Public Transit Capital Trust will support capital investments in public transit infrastructure including rapid transit, transit buses, intelligent transportation systems and high-occupancy vehicle and bicycle lanes.

Public transit deregulation

In Canada, public transportation is within provincial and municipal jurisdiction.  To find out more about the regulation of public transit authorities, I would encourage you to contact the provincial authorities in your home province of Ontario

Vehicle technology

The UTSP fosters advanced transportation technologies such as real-time information systems, traffic signal priority measures, electronic fare collection systems, and alternative fuel and vehicle technologies.  For more information on these technologies, please visit the UTSP Case Study Library at

Transport Canada's Advanced Technology Vehicle Program (ATVP) assesses vehicles with advanced power trains, materials, chassis designs, emission controls, fuels and other technologies to measure their impact on safety, energy efficiency and the environment.  For more information on this program, please visit the ATVP website at

Again, I appreciate being made aware of your views, and I trust that the foregoing will be of assistance in addressing your concerns.  Thank you for writing to the federal government. 

Yours truly,

Andrew Walasek
Special Assistant - Ontario

----- Original Message -----

From: Ambrose,Rona [NCR]
To: Michael Tung
Sent: Wednesday, September 13, 2006 9:47 AM
Subject: In response to your e-mail

Dear Mr. Tung:


        The Office of the Prime Minister has forwarded me a copy of your e-mail of July 4, regarding Canada’s approach to the issue of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.


        I assure you that the Government is committed to addressing this important environmental issue.  To do that, we need a new approach to reducing pollution and GHG emissions that is effective and realistic for Canada.  We will develop solutions that involve all Canadians—the provinces and territories, stakeholders, the private sector and individuals. 


        In Budget 2006, the Government announced the first steps for a Made‑in‑Canada approach.  A 15.5‑percent tax credit for the purchase of monthly transit passes took effect July 1.  Up to $1.3 billion will be provided to support public transit capital investments.  I am also leading the development of options for implementing a 5‑percent average renewable content in Canadian motor fuels.  Our government is consulting with the provinces and territories on how to move forward with this commitment.


        To build on these initiatives, I will be working with my Cabinet colleagues to develop a plan that will have many benefits for Canadians, including: cleaner air and water to protect the health of families and their communities; opportunities to build a competitive and sustainable Canadian economy; energy security; development and use of new technologies; actions at the local level; and greater accountability to Canadians.  Budget 2006 allocates $2 billion over the next five years to the Made‑in‑Canada approach to reducing pollution and GHG emissions.


        I appreciate your taking the time to share your views, and trust that I can count on your support as we undertake this important work.


Yours sincerely, 
Original signed by
Rona Ambrose

Hi-Tech Net
5143 Tomken Road, Mississauga, Ontario L4W 1P1, Canada.
( 905-625-9261