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Image: Transportation is the second-highest source of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, making up 24 per cent of GHG emissions in all economic sectors in 2017. Freight transportation represented 41 per cent of that.

How an Ontario municipality cut trucking pollution without investing in infrastructure

Ontario, Canada
Population: 603,346

Ontario, Canada
Population: 828,854

Ontario, Canada
Population: Caledon

A regional government in Ontario has tested a way to increase cargo efficiency while helping reduce carbon emissions, without spending on building new infrastructure.


As demand grows for faster shipping and home deliveries, more delivery vehicles are being added to already congested roads. As Maria Iqbal states in her article written for the National Observer: in the Region of Peel, more than 2,000 trucking companies are travelling through the area each day to carry an estimated $1.8 billion in goods.
“So many cities have our same conundrum. They are continuing to grow and there’s no money for more cargo infrastructure,” said Nando Iannicca, chairman of Peel Regional Council in an interview. Instead of creating a new infrastructure the Region decided to creatively use and take advantage of the infrastructure they already have.


In order to cut trucking pollution without investing in infrastructure, the Region of Peel, which includes the municipalities Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon, decided to launch a pilot called the Smart Freight Centre in order to research the movement of goods in Peel and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas. The centre is a collaboration between Peel, U of T, McMaster University and York University.

The Region decided to try the off-peak delivery (OPD) approach as one way to reduce its carbon footprints without having to make huge investments in infrastructure. During the experiment, three retailers — Walmart Canada, Loblaws Inc. and LCBO — delivered to select stores outside the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In order to avoid any potential noise complaints, the delivery locations were chosen away from residential areas, and used the time window between 7 and 11 p.m. as efficiently as possible to avoid deliveries going late into the night.


At the end of August, the pilot ended and initial findings show delivery time decreased by an average of 17 per cent per trip, and 23 per cent of trucks were moved off the road during peak hours.
The Region is looking into possibilities to expand the program to full time, and is in talks with other municipalities (including the City of Toronto) as well as the provincial and federal governments with the goal to “expand it to the entire GTA and Hamilton areas, and even to get more municipalities and more regions on board,” according to Sabbir Saiyed, Peel’s manager of transportation system planning.

[This story is adapted from an article originally written by Maria Iqbal for the National Observer on October 8, 2019]


decrease of delivery time


trucks moved off the road

$1.8 Bn

value of goods travelling each day

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