​​Southwestern Ontario Transportation Planning Study​ – Early Findings and Draft Options

ERO number
Notice type
Posted by
Ministry of Transportation
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
March 28, 2024 - May 27, 2024 (60 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
May 27, 2024

Proposal summary

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is seeking feedback on the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Planning Study to better understand the unique transportation needs and opportunities in the region, and ensure the study is informed by local perspectives and considerations.

Proposal details

Connecting the Southwest: A Draft Transportation Plan for Southwestern Ontario (Connecting the Southwest) was released in January 2020. Connecting the Southwest includes 5 goals and 43 actions to:

  • Get people moving and connect communities
  • Support a competitive open for business environment
  • Improve safety
  • Provide more choice and convenience, and
  • Prepare for the future

Connecting the Southwest is considered a “living document” that will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to incorporate the assessment of future transportation needs.

To support this assessment, MTO is undertaking the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Planning Study (the “study”), a technical multimodal study that will examine the current and future transportation demand, gaps, and opportunities across Southwestern Ontario and connections to the USA and the rest of Ontario.

The study seeks to identify and consider a broad range of transportation needs and opportunities which will be reflected in the scope of the study’s recommendations, including possible new programs that promote greater climate resiliency and actions that reduce the environmental impact of transportation systems.

The study includes economic and demographic forecasting, long-range transportation network modelling and travel demand forecasting, scenario testing, policy development, and engagement. The work will result in recommended transportation infrastructure networks, policies, and program initiatives for southwestern Ontario to the horizon year of 2051.

During the first three phases of this study, the focus is to identify potential infrastructure, policies and programs that would address the transportation needs and opportunities in the region, which includes identifying any negative impacts to the environment from the transportation network. Environmental impacts that have been identified so far in the study and potential mitigation strategies are outlined in this proposal.

In the fourth phase of this study, these potential infrastructures, policies and programs will be evaluated and prioritized to formulate a network plan to support government decision-making with short, medium, and long-term solutions. Environmental impacts will be one of the main considerations for evaluation in Phase 4 to determine the recommended solutions for the region, which will be covered by another Environmental Registry of Ontario Posting in the future.

The study recognizes that the final recommended transportation infrastructure, policies, and programs will potentially have both positive and negative environmental impacts. The study itself will not result in new infrastructure, policies, or programs, but will inform future decision-making related to transportation in the province which may have impacts on the environment at the time of implementation.

An example of potential positive environmental impacts is a program that aims to improve the competitiveness of non-auto options and to promote the use of transit thereby reducing total greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

An example of potential negative environmental impacts identified in the study could be the inadvertent introduction of invasive species to the region from increased rail-based shipping as a result of reduced freight movement on highways in effort to minimize traffic congestion on the road. The study will explore growth management approaches and examine and mitigate adverse impacts to the environment.

After the completion of this study, recommended transportation infrastructure, policies, and programs that obtain additional government approvals will be subject to additional environmental reviews at the implementation stage, such as more detailed environmental assessment and public consultation as required by the applicable legislation.

MTO will continue to work with and seek feedback from Indigenous communities and organizations, local municipalities, stakeholders, and the public throughout this study’s process.

Feedback received in response to this posting will inform recommended improvements to the transportation network in the southwestern region.

Please refer to the supporting materials attached to this posting and visit the related links below to learn more. As you read through these supporting materials, please consider answering the following discussion questions:

  • After reviewing the Goals and Objectives outlined in the Phase 1 Summary attached, what would you offer as feedback for the ministry to consider? What would you change, if anything?
  • After reviewing the Needs and Opportunities outlined in the Phase 2 Summary attached, what do you think are the most significant barriers when travelling or moving goods in southwestern Ontario? Are these barriers addressed in the attached materials? If not, please provide detail.
  • After reviewing the Draft Options outlined in the Phase 3 Summary attached, how well do you think these will address the gaps and opportunities for transportation in the region? What options do you think are missing that should be added? What refinements would you make to the wording of any options presented?
  • What community connections are missing in the presentation materials that you regularly travel to and think should be better connected to the transportation network?
  • How do you think the planning study addresses potential impacts to the environment? Is there anything that is not outlined that should be added for consideration?

Please also complete our Online Survey to provide your feedback on the Study’s goals, outcomes, and long list of options.


Let us know what you think of our proposal.

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