(photo by Roberta Baker)

U of T Cities podcast episode two: the future of transit

Meeting the U of T experts and startups reimagining transit downtown and beyond

No matter which box Torontonians check on October 27, this city is on a course for change.

U of T News is presenting a mini-series of podcasts aimed at giving voters – or anyone interested in the future of cities – an idea of what Toronto and other global cities could look like just a few years from now, as the urban-focused research and businesses developed by University of Toronto experts come to life.

Last week, U of T News launched the U of T Cities podcast with an episode on the future of traffic, sharing stories of artificially intelligent traffic lights, human-powered car-bikes and an undergraduate class doing ground-breaking research on the municipal election. (Find the first podcast episode here)

The second episode is all about transit. You can download or stream the full episode here:

(Click the down-pointing arrow button in the player to download episode and transfer to your listening device. Transcript available here. Now available on iTunes.)

Click through to find other installments of the miniseries on the future of traffic (episode one here) and building sustainable cities (episode three here). Final episode will be published on October 27.

Civil engineering’s Professor Eric Miller (pictured above) is the go-to commentator for transit planning issues in Toronto.

In the first part of this episode, Miller explains why he has such a clear picture of the kind of transit plans that will work – and the ones that won't.

He also shares a cautiously optimistic forecast for specific transit upgrades in the next few years – and one very pragmatic wish for the future of transit.


A new transit experience for communities and riders outside the reach of the TTC is what’s been inspiring Richard Sommer, dean of the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.

He and other members of the Daniels faculty embarked on a joint project with Metrolinx that sought to reinvent transit hubs outside the downtown.

In this interview, Sommer describes the green, lively possibilities dreamed up in the book, Huburbs: Transit and Urbanism in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area. (Read more about Huburbs)


Alumni Taylor Scollon and Brett Chang want to make the commute along King Street an easy ride. They plan to leverage the frustration of many King streetcar riders into a crowdfunded option that will run alongside the TTC.

Their startup, Line Six, ran a week-long pilot of a crowdfunded, privately-run express bus through Liberty Village. (Read more about Line Six)

Scollon explains the company’s grand plans for private transit in Toronto and how his background in philosophy at U of T helped prepare him for building a business outside the box.
This segment also features a success story from the University of Toronto's entrepreneurship network of accelerators, courses, programs, classes and more:
Vote Compass helps users find out which election candidates most closely align with their values through a creative web-based platform. It's a startup from political science alumnus Clifton van der Linden and the company, which has played a part in elections from here to Australia, developed with help from U of T's Creative Destruction Lab. (Read more about the Creative Destruction Lab)

Learn more about it in this dedicated feature on van der Linden and VoteCompass' Toronto election edition. (Read U of T News interview with van der Linden)

Read more about building successful cities at U of T.

This podcast features music made available on the Free Music Archive from Daytripper13, Jazzafari and Cosmic Analog Ensemble.

Transcript available.
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