The Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (or GTTA) has come up with a new marketing name and a new website. The new name is Metrolinx. The name and website are scheduled to be launched tomorrow, December 4, but the site is already live. The news release for tomorrow’s launch says that the GTTA will also release a “a discussion paper on transportation trends and outlooks” as well as public consultations on regional transit planning.
Note that Metrolinx is not to be confused with Metrolink (Los Angeles, Manchester, St. Louis or Halifax) nor is it to be confused with the various “Lynx” transit systems such as those in Charlotte or Orlando.
While I think the GTTA made the correct decision to create a new identity (I sometimes get confused between the GTTA and the GTAA, the airport authority), I find the name forced and unimaginative, and very 1995. Metrolinx still lacks a logo. One example that I like is Vancouver’s regional transportation agency, Translink, which has a simple, yet elegant name and logo. I also find the banner image of the website a bit funny, as apparently,
the GTA has annexed English villages along with Mississauga and Scarborough City Halls the website developers used Google image searches for Pickering and Brampton, but got pictures of the English villages of the same names instead of the 905 suburban cities.
Bad websites and names aside, the
GTAA GTTA has begun some work, including the identification of “quick-win” projects for regional transit, such as signal upgrades for the Yonge-University-Spadina subway, GO Transit rail corridor improvements, and bus services in the suburban 905 municipalities. It has also developed the Presto card, which so far will not offer many of the potential benefits of a transit Smart Card or a new fare structure.
Regional transit planning and coordination is necessary for a growing urban region with increasing congestion and little yet in the way of major infrastructure improvments. To its credit, the GTTA just published an interesting document called Towards Sustainable Transportation [PDF] that discusses goals for the agency, sets out an extensive consultation plan, and has some interesting transit statistics and ideas from other cities that could be adapted to the GTA. Particuarly interesting is a graph on page 13 of the report that shows the few kilometres of expansion of rail-based transit in the past two decades.
It has yet to be seen if a new flashy name and transit plan will bring about any real gains in building a proper regional transit network from the multitude of agencies and fare systems we have now. But with the promise of major capital spending by the province, including Transit City, the GTA may be finally be turning a corner.
But I still don’t like the new name.