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I Love Transit 2013: An Interview with Brent Toderian

I Love Transit 2013

It’s I Love Transit Week! Today, we’re excited to chat with Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s former Chief City Planner. He is now a national and international urbanism consultant with cities across the globe, as well as the founding president of the Council for Canadian Urbanism. Follow him on Twitter at @BrentToderian.

NEWS: Brent Toderian . Chief City Planner for Vancouver pictured in Sydney.

Brent Toderian, Vancouver’s former Chief City Planner and avid transit fan!

Why do you love transit?

Professionally, I love transit because of the effect it has on the shape and success of cities. It supports, and is supported by, well-designed cities, with density and a rich mixing of uses. Frankly, city-regions can’t work effectively and successfully without effective and successful transit. Transit saves cities a massive amount of space and money and is one of the most effective investments in the future with a well-established return on investment. It contributes to more healthy, sustainable, nimble and economically successful places.

Personally, being a frequent transit user makes me healthier, more socially connected, more connected with my city, and happier. It improves my quality-of-life and saves me a ton of money. Frankly, what’s not to love?

What does transit mean to you?

To me, a well-designed and successful transit system equals freedom and flexibility. The car used to be associated with freedom, but not anymore. High gas prices that will just keep going up, traffic congestion, struggles to find parking–increasingly, the car just means a hassle. However, I can travel to anywhere I need to in my city on transit, easily and inexpensively. That’s freedom.

Transit also means a successful city. It’s very hard to think of a city that I consider successful that doesn’t have a great transit system.

What are your earliest memories of transit?

My earliest transit memories are from Montréal, where my mother’s side of the family lived, and where I spent many months of each year while growing up. I learned to take transit, and love transit on Montréal’s Metro system. I still tend to compare every system I experience with it. I learned how to read visual cues and way-finding, line colour and direction, everything about how to navigate a system first in Montréal. And it’s still one of my favorite transit systems, and cities. Read more »