After four months, eight camp visits, 1,500 youth submissions and 1,200 community entries, Smart Commute – North Toronto, Vaughan (NTV) announced the grand prize winner of its Going Green challenge at the launch of its new office in York Lanes.
The winner is York French studies alumna Liesl Joson (BA ’99) for her answer to the contest question: "How would you green Toronto’s commute?" Her answer was to introduce "…a single, affordable, refillable smart card, usable across all transit systems may entice people to use mass transit." Joson, who was present at the launch party, won a trip for two to downtown Montreal, courtesy of Smart Commute NTV, VIA Rail Canada and Best Western Europa.
After the youth segment of its Going Green campaign finished – which asked 1,500 campers for a visual response to the question: "What’s your green way of getting somewhere, like school, camp or the grocery store?" – Smart Commute NTV extended its Going Green challenge to adults in the community. The contest question was designed to inspire a dialogue about green transportation and eco-friendly commuting habits.
Selecting the contest winner was a difficult task for Smart Commute NTV’s panel of 15 judges, including Alan Shefman, councillor for the City of Vaughan; Ed Drass, Metro columnist; Eleanor McMahon, founder and president of Share the Road; and Brian Shifman, executive director of Smart Commute NTV.
"My Toronto is one where an individual can dramatically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention their gas bill, by changing their commuting habits just one day a week. Based on the array of diverse, creative and intelligent submissions to our Going Green challenge, I’m pleased to say that many Torontonians have already opted for a more sustainable commute and are inspired to take further action," says Shifman.
The opening of a new location for Smart Commute NTV represents a milestone. Smart Commute NTV was formed in 2001 through collaboration with the public and private sectors. The new office will allow the not-for-profit, the recent recipient of Toronto’s Bicycle-Friendliest Suburban Business award, to enhance services available to its many business partners, which include Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, Enbridge Gas Distribution, PowerStream Inc. and York University. Members of the community are encouraged to drop in for assistance with carpooling, transit, cycling or walking to work.
Going Green Campaign Honourable Mentions:
- Our unit now works longer days, but only four days a week instead of five. This drastically cuts down on gas consumption and air pollution. – Brett
- Make certain roads across the city bike- and pedestrian-only, making it possible to safely bike or walk across the entire city. – Emily
- Encourage rooftop gardens and forests on buildings or bus shelters to transform carbon dioxide to oxygen in cities.
- Declare an official Work From Home Day – pick one of the busiest commute days of the year. – Susan
- We have to redesign our urban spaces so that pedestrian and cycling activity is more attractive than driving cars. – Scott
- Put "green" grass mats on top of TTC and other public transit buses. "Wheel Lawns" would clean the air, reduce temperature and absorb pollution. – Max
- I would put carpool lanes on the 401 and charge people who drive large vehicles (for superficial reasons) a large tax. – Mark
- I’d convince David Miller [Toronto mayor] to declare a Toronto Green Commuters’ Day, a city-wide holiday for all carpoolers, TTC riders and cyclists. – Meghan
- For those individuals who have to ride varying metro like GO, TTC and Mississauga Transit, offer combo packages to increase ridership. – Unknown
- Make reuseable travel mugs the only coffee allowed on Go Transit and TTC. Cushion the transition with free morning coffee with travel mug! – John
- People owning cottages must leave the city by Friday morning at 6am – lessens Friday traffic and idling time. Also, trucks on 401 only after 7pm. – Don
- TTC Metropasses could be branded and subsidized by corporations…lowering the cost and increasing the riders. – Dave
- The practical answer: Vastly expand covered, multi-level parking at all TTC stations with green-heated walkways to the station. Make it nice. – Berton
To read more submissions from the Going Green challenge or to preview the youth submissions from Stage 1 of the campaign, visit the Smart Commute NTV Web site or contact info@smartcommuteNTV.ca for more information.
The first Transportation Management Association (TMA) in Ontario, Smart Commute NTV was established in 2001 and now operates two projects in North Toronto, Vaughan and Northeast Toronto. On behalf of its partners, Smart Commute NTV represents approximately 90,000 employees and students.
It functions as part of a broader network of TMAs across the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. It encourages individuals to travel smarter, cleaner and better by considering alternatives to single occupancy vehicle commuting, including cycling, transit, carpooling, walking and tele-commuting.