Today we’re catching up with Zul, a student in the program from Malaysia. He’s been working in Toronto this summer on a number of transportation projects.
I am interning with Steer Davies Gleave (SDG), an international transportation planning consultancy firm, in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District. In a nutshell, the work I am doing mainly touches on qualitative transportation studies, quantitative spreadsheet analyses and land use mapping via ArcGIS and Microsoft Excel.
The biggest chunks of work have to do with the proposed Hurontario-Main LRT Project in Mississauga (Toronto’s biggest suburb), which is part of Metrolinx’s (the provincial transportation setup) Big Move (long-term regional transportation) plan. The most relatable experience is transit catchment’s land use analyses, which involves some qualitative and quantitative skills we all earned in Prof Fischler’s Studio I and Prof Brown’s GIS classes.
Other stuffs drill down to traffic modeling and traffic counts. On the surface, the analyses of traffic junctions, transit disembarking capacity and headways, and EMME and VISSIM traffic projection zones may sound dry, but they do provide solid foundations for understanding the ‘bread and butter’ of transit planning.
Other duties include research on VIA Rail operations and Light Rail implementation in North America. As our office has just relocated very recently, I am involved in administrative stuffs as well.
I am also involved in bits and pieces of different transit projects and administrative undertakings with associates in Leeds, London and Vancouver. Overall, I enjoy working with SDG. The brief internship stint, together with multiple personal discoveries and exploration of this highly multifaceted metropolis, help me to better appreciate the technical and political intricacies involved with urban transit planning in Greater Toronto (and North America in general).