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Panel Discussion:
Transit and Transportation

The pandemic has seen significant changes to the use of Toronto's streets and open spaces – including the addition of CaféTO and ActiveTO and more cycling lanes, along with shifts in transit ridership and travel behaviour. This panel discussed how transit and transportation factor into the City's recovery, based on lessons learned from the City's pandemic actions and analysis of mobility trends and issues during the pandemic. What issues did the pandemic reveal about transportation and mobility in Toronto? How can we build back better with social equity and sustainability in mind? How can we build on the ideas and successes that came out of this period and how can we ensure that they become part of our plan for an equitable and prosperous post-pandemic future? What transit and mobility investments need to be prioritized to respond to the shifts in behavior and the implications for equity and climate mitigation.

Cherisa Burda

Cherise Burda

Executive Director, City Building, Ryerson University

As Executive Director of City Building at Ryerson University, Cherise Burda advances sustainable urban solutions with research collaborations and knowledge mobilization. Specializing in relevant policy research and strategic communications to drive impact, Burda has authored over 40 policy reports, book chapters, and academic and popular publications. With over 20 years as a thought leader, Burda’s research and activities have directly influenced policy change in Ontario and British Columbia. She has served on multiple advisory bodies including the Premier’s Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel and City of Toronto’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board. Previous senior roles include David Suzuki Foundation, Pembina Institute, and University of Victoria Eco-Research Chair of Environmental Law and Policy. 

Matthew Davis
Matthew Davis
Manager of Capital Projects and Program, Transportation Services Division, City of Toronto

Matthew Davis is the Manager of Capital Projects & Program for the City of Toronto's Transportation Services Division. In this role, he has undertaken the task of prioritizing equity to help guide $5 billion in transportation infrastructure investments planned over the next 10 years. 


Davis and his team oversees capital and operating budgets and developing plans, programs, and policies that prioritize the City's transportation capital program and projects over the short and long term. By incorporating equity into primary decision frameworks, he aspires to provide access to transportation and mobility options, helping all Torontonians to "Keep Toronto Moving" safely, efficiently, and equitably.

Angela Gibson
Head, Strategy and Foresight, Toronto Transit Commission

Angela Gibson is a Registered Professional Planner with over 17 years of urban planning experience focused on creating complete and connected communities through facilitating the synergies between land use and transportation planning. She is the Head of Strategy and Foresight for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), where she leads long term strategic planning covering everything from fare policy, 5-Year service planning, new bus priority lanes, emerging systems and accessibility planning.  


Prior to joining the TTC, Gibson worked for Metrolinx, where she strengthened regional partnerships and developed executive governance frameworks with agencies and municipalities. As a city builder, she has led a number of major regional initiatives including transportation planning for urban growth centres and universal accessibility programs.

Angela Gibson
Cherise Burda
Matthew Davis
Angela Gibson
Raktim Mitra
Raktim Mitra
Dr. Raktim Mitra
Associate Professor and Associate Director (Undergraduate Programs),
School of Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University

Dr. Raktim Mitra is Associate Professor and Associate Director (Undergraduate Programs) at the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University. His expertise and interests are in the fields of land-use transportation planning and healthy communities planning. He is also the co-director of TransForm Lab, where he and his students explore the relationship between the urban built environment, travel behaviour, and health outcomes. 


Dr. Mitra’s current funded research projects focus on the impact of cycling facilities on travel behaviour change; active transportation planning in post-COVID19 Canada; travel behaviour and wellbeing of university and college students; e-scooter policy and planning for micro-mobility; and children’s active mobility including walking, cycling, and outdoor play.

Shoshanna Saxe
Shoshanna Saxe
Dr. Shoshanna Saxe
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering, University of Toronto

Dr. Shoshanna Saxe is an Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto’s Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering. She investigates the relationship between the infrastructure we build and the society we create to identify opportunities – and pathways – to better align infrastructure provision with sustainability. 


A former Action Canada fellow, Dr. Saxe sits on Waterfront Toronto’s Capital Peer Review Panel, as well as the board of the International Society for Industrial Ecology. She is the winner of the 2019 OPEA Engineering Medal – Young Engineer. Her research and commentary have been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Toronto Star, The Financial Post, and Wired.

Patricia Wood
Dr. Patricia Wood

Professor and Graduate Program Director, Geography, York University

Urban Affairs Columnist,

Dr. Patricia Wood is Professor and Graduate Program Director of Geography at York University. She studies rights claims, activism, and governance, particularly the experiences of marginalized communities. Her current projects include comparative international research on municipal and urban regional governance. Dr. Wood has written a transit and urban affairs column for several years, first with Torontoist, and now for She is a Senior Advisor for the transit advocacy organization, CodeRedTO, and was also a member of the City of Toronto-TTC transit review expert advisory panel on the proposed upload of the subway.

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