THE PLACE FOR IMMIGRANTS IN TORONTO’S TRANSIT AND TRANSPORTATION CITY

ABSTRACT

This study conducted qualitative interviews with nine immigrants on their experiences of public transit in Toronto. It synthesizes and builds on existing data that indicate that immigrants, especially women, highly depend on public transit despite settling in the peripheries of Toronto, away from subway lines and close to major highways. I identify gaps in existing academic and policy debates on transportation planning in Toronto and propose an environmental justice framework that is grounded in immigrants’ experiences of navigating public transit and their spatial locations. The research findings highlight the limited affordability of public transit, the poor servicing and connectivity of bus networks, and the resulting barriers to accessing work opportunities across the region. I further analyze the role of the built environment in limiting or facilitating access for gendered activities such as grocery shopping and traveling with children. The paper concludes by highlighting the need for new directions in transit policy and planning that can better address the changing demographics and social and spatial divisions in the city.

Publication Date: 
2013
Location: 
Toronto, Canada