Many municipalities undertake Transportation Master Plans (TMPs) to define their long-term transportation objectives as a supplement to transportation needs identified through their Official Plan development process. A Transportation Master Plan integrates existing and future land-use planning and the planning of transportation infrastructure with the principles of environmental assessment planning.
In larger urban areas, Transportation Master Plans often recognize that the current level of reliance on the automobile is not sustainable and that public transit provides benefits to the natural, social, and economic environment by improving mobility for people through providing traffic relief for people and goods, and reducing environmental impacts. As such, many Transportation Master Plans at the regional and local levels emphasize that increased use of transit is a key component of an integrated transportation strategy that considers all modes of travel.
Transportation Master Plans build upon the analysis and detailed policies developed through municipal Official Plans. Therefore, it must be recognized that the link between Transportation Master Plans and Official Plans is fundamental. An Official Plan is a legal document, developed through a public and legislative process in accordance with the Ontario Planning Act that contains “goals, objectives and policies established primarily to manage and direct physical change and the effects on the social, economic and natural environment of the municipality”. While Official Plans are approved under the Ontario Planning Act, typically they are developed through a process which applies the principles of EA planning. As such, Official Plans provide a planning and technical basis for undertaking infrastructure environmental assessment studies.
Transportation Master Plans are developed through a stakeholder consultation process that involves consultation with the public, government technical agencies, other municipalities, and First Nations. If developed in accordance with Section A.2.7 of the Municipal Class EA, at a minimum, a TMP can address Phases 1 and 2 of the Municipal Class EA process. As a result, a TMP can provide the basis for carrying out follow-on EA studies of the specific components, including the problem and/or opportunity being addressed and the range of alternatives being considered. Transportation Master Plans are discussed in Section A.2.7 of the parent document.