Transit Access Project

is a nonprofit organization researching and advocating for the benefits of free public transportation for youth experiencing homelessness. Transit Access Project is possible through our partnership with the City of Toronto’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Office, the TTC, the Toronto Shelter Network, the Suburban Mobilities Lab, and the Youth Wellness Lab at the University of Toronto.

  • 28% of homeless people in Toronto are youth
  • 850 to 2,000 youth are homeless on any given night in Toronto
  • 40% will have first experienced homelessness before the age of 16

  • The chance of escaping homelessness for youth worsens the longer they remain homeless

Our Work

  • History:

    The project started in 2018, when the team was informed that transit access was a notable challenge for youth experiencing homelessness. The goal was to develop a project to provide any youth experiencing homelessness free transit if it was required. Over the summer of 2022, the team was able to continue with the data collection phase of the project.

  • Current Work:

    We are working with the City of Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy Office and the Toronto Shelter Network to research the availability of transit specific resources across all social service organization within Toronto, including shelters, transitional housing organizations, drop-ins, newcomer services, and gender-based violence shelters.

Routes to Homes

Our study was inspired by the “Routes to Homes: Transit and Social Support Intervention for Homeless Youth” project conducted in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2013. The goal of their study was to analyse the impact of receiving public transportation assistance for youth experiencing homelessness. They found that the youth experienced a reduction in negative interactions with transit authorities, made them “feel normal” on transit, increased safety in some situations, and enabled youth to access services and supports beyond their normal walking range.


Want to learn about homelessness interactions with transit? Check out these articles:

Routes to Homes: Transit and Social Support Intervention for Homeless Youth

This report examines what happened in Edmonton when youth experiencing homelessness were given access to transportation. When this intervention occurred the youth had fewer negative interactions with transit authorities, made them feel safer when using public transit and allowed youth to access more services around the city.

Transportation Related Social Exclusions and Homelessness:

What Does the Role of Transportation Play in Improving the Circumstances of Homeless individuals?

Does Transit Matter? Connections between Transportation Systems & Homelessness for Women in Canada

This article analyzes the different needs for women using public transit and how having access to affordable transportation can prevent domestic abuse, housing insecurity and can improve their wellbeing. It also looks at the differences across Canada when looking into rural and urban areas when it comes to reliable and affordable transit options.