The Research and Traffic Group (RTG) -- Gordon English and David Hackston -- offers knowledge of and experience in Canadian transportation from the research, industry, and government perspectives. For more than a decade RTG has provided advice and assistance to clients, and undertaken important studies in transportation, particularly transportation policy.

The Research and Traffic Group was formed in 1988 by David Hackston and Richard Lake. Prior to this, Mr Hackston and Dr Lake were (respectively) Executive Director Traffic and Tariffs and Executive Director Research with the Canadian Transport Commission. In 1994 after the Canadian Institute of Guided Ground Transport at Queen's University was disbanded, Gordon English and Charles Schwier became RTG Associates. They later accepted partnership responsibilities. In 2000, Richard Lake gave up his day to day decision making and administrative role. As Partner Emeritus, he continues to participate in RTG projects. Charles Schwier passed away in September 2003.

In addition to the Partners, we have Associates who participate on an occasional basis. Louis Paul Tardif, formerly Executive Director of the Canadian Trucking Research Institute, joined us in 1996. Rod Taylor, formerly of the Ministry of Transportation Ontario, and John MacDonald joined RTG in 2002. Tom Moynihan, Senior Engineer with TranSys Research Limited, is also available to provide modelling and other support for RTG projects. TranSys is owned by Mr English. To strengthen the RTG team, we also have a number of Associates who have participated in specific RTG projects.

Important non confidential consulting assignments are listed below in alphabetical order under six categories:

The list includes projects undertaken by the RTG as well as non RTG projects undertaken by the partners. We note that those who performed the work listed below remain members of the RTG team. Brief summaries of the qualifications and experience of the proposed RTG team follow.


Since its inception, RTG has undertaken a hundred major transportation studies for government and industry clients. We have provided support to transportation inquiries such as the Royal Commission on National Passenger Transportation and the Canada Transportation Act Review. We have also provided support to clients in rail rate-based court proceedings. In almost every instance the RTG has been the contractor of record and one of the Partners has acted as Project Leader. The researchers responsible for these projects remain available as members of the RTG team. RTG’s practice is wide ranging and includes all modes. Principal areas of practice are:



Each of the Partners and most of the Associates have at least 25 years experience in transportation.

Gordon English is an engineer with an interest in transportation operations and technology, railway safety, and transportation energy and emission issues. He has developed operational and energy use models for freight, passenger and urban transit applications. He served on assignment as Director of Research for the Canadian Transportation Safety Board Act Review Commission and is also president of TranSys Research Limited which specializes in railway technical research.

David Hackston is a seasoned transport marketing and regulation professional. He is also expert in consultation/interviewing and has contacts in and is well known to virtually all the Canadian (freight) carrier and shipper associations. Mr Hackston’s most recent assignment was in-house with the Canada Transportation Act Review where he advised on urban and rail freight and passenger issues

We also offer long-term Associates with experience in trucking, marine, logistics, freight demand forecasting, grain handling and marketing and macro-economic analysis. In addition, we have long-standing relationships with other consulting organizations which enable us to build a team to the specific needs of clients.


You may contact the Research and Traffic Group through any of the partners at:

Gordon English
1220 Allen Point Drive
Glenburnie ON K0H 1S0
Tel: (613) 544-4298
Fax: (613) 544-4298
David Hackston
6647 Bluebird St.
Kars ON K0A 2E0
Tel: (613) 489-2030
Fax: (613) 489-0080

Experience in Transportation and the Environment

Environmental issues are a concern in transportation. Not only can there be leakage of hazardous materials being shipped, transportation operations themselves account for a significant volume of emission, particularly greenhouse gases. Transportation activity can also have an impact on congestion and land use. Environmental concerns have been addressed in many RTG studies, especially those involving intermodal transportation, passenger transportation and mode choice. We have also undertaken many projects which focus specifically on environmental issues. Recent assignments include:

Assessment of the Impact of GHG Reduction Measures on Ontario's Freight Users and Providers—For the Ministry of Transportation Ontario evaluated the impact on the costs, competitiveness and operations of shippers and carriers of the measures proposed by the National Transportation Table to assist in meeting the Kyoto goal to reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Environmental Damage from Accidents—For Transport Canada, Environmental Services, prepared a discussion paper concerning the minimization of environmental damage from accidents. [Obtain Report]

Intermodal Freight Transportation Measures—For Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada, assessed barriers to increased use of rail-based intermodal transportation and examined measures designed to promote the use of intermodal as a means of reducing GHG emission.

Measures to Favour Passenger Modal Shift for GHG Reduction—For Transport Canada, acting in support of the National Climate Change Process, Transportation Table, estimated the Canadian domestic intercity passenger sector's GHG emission, and identified and reported on potential measures and to achieve emission reduction through shifts in modal choice. [Obtain Report]

Ontario Freight Movement Study: Component Two—For the Ministry of Transportation, used shipper-specific case studies to assess the prospects for CO2 emission reduction and the consequences of these options for the companies concerned.

Regional Analysis of the Environmental and Socio-Economic Consequences of Adopting the National Climate Change Transportation Table's Measures—For the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (in partnership with Morrison-Hershfield Limited) reviewed emission reduction measures proposed by the National Transportation Table. This assignment included an assessment of the applicability and efficacy of each measure as well as the interaction between measures.

Road Pricing and Climate Change Phase I: Needs Assessment—For Transport Canada, constructed a framework for the consideration of road pricing/taxation policies as a means of making road transport and travel more sustainable. [Obtain Report]

Passenger Rail (Urban and Intercity) and Scheduled Intercity and Charter Bus Industries Technological and Operational Improvements—For Transport Canada, acting in support of the National Transportation Table, examined technological and operational changes that would reduce GHG emission from Canada's surface intercity passenger transportation sector.

Socio-Economic Issues Affecting the Railways' Ability to Improve Greenhouse Gas Emission Performance and Survey of Rail Industry Technological and Operational Improvements— Twin studies carried out for Transport Canada, acting in support of the National Transportation Table, identified and assessed the cost effectiveness of potential measures for the Canadian railway sector to achieve a pro-rata share of Canada's Kyoto commitment. [Obtain Report]

Experience in Passenger and Intermodal Policy

Analysis of the Canadian Intercity Scheduled Bus Industry—Reviewed, on behalf of the Royal Commission on National Passenger Transportation (RCNPT), Canada's intercity bus industry with particular attention to costs, fares and cross-subsidization and the prospect of legislative change.

Best Practices for Intermodal Passenger Transportation—For Transport Canada and guided by a tourism and transportation industry steering committee, reviewed passenger intermodality in Canada, the US, Australia and Europe, and identified practices with potential to meet commercial criteria in the Canadian context.

Bus-rail Fares Appeal—Provided expert evidence for a National Transportation Agency hearing under section 290 of the Railway Act into VIA Rail's discount fares, and advice and assistance to Voyageur Colonial in the preparation of its case before the Agency.

Canadian Transportation in 2000 and 2015—An environmental scan completed in 1988 for Transport Canada, Strategic Policy identified and assessed environmental factors that will influence the future of transportation. Scenarios for transportation in Canada in the year 2000 and between 2000 and 2015 were developed and described.

Canadian Transportation in 2005 and 2020—An update of the earlier study was completed in 1991.

Costs of Quebec-Toronto High Speed Rail System—Adapted the operating plan and costs developed for the 1994 Federal-Provincial HSR study to the different routing, ridership, speed and other conditions assumed by TGV Canada, a private-sector consortium interested in pursuing the development of a high speed railway system in the Quebec-Montreal-Toronto Corridor.

Development of a Canadian HSR Proposal—Undertook a full review and update of operating and maintenance costs applicable to the Quebec-Toronto Corridor in support of a commercial HSR proposal (Lynx) being pursued by TGV Canada.

Domestic Intermodal Service in Ontario and Quebec—For the Ministère des Transports du Québec, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Railway Association of Canada, reviewed the prospects for intermodal freight growth.

Étude de faisabilité du train rapide Québec/Montréal—On behalf of La Société québécois des transports, undertook cost and operational analysis of the specific circumstances of a Quebec-Montreal stand-alone HSR system.

Impediments to Greater Use of Truck-Rail Intermodal Between Canada and the United States—For Transport Canada, Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Railway Association of Canada, examined the competitiveness of rail intermodal versus direct truck for Ontario-US freight traffic.

Freight Transport Trends and Forecasts to 2010—Provided Canadian transport industry and government policy context for TAF Consultants' commodity flow forecasts report for Transport Canada. RTG provided similar input to two subsequent forecasts undertaken by TAF Consultants.

Internalizing the Social Costs of the Transportation Sector—For Transport Canada undertook a review of the literature concerning social costs imposed by transportation activity–including environmental costs–for all transportation modes. This review included an account of various jurisdictions' experiences with the implementation of policies designed to internalize social costs. [Obtain Report]

Looking Ahead: Medium-term Outlook Scenarios for the Canadian Freight Transportation Sector—On behalf of Industry Canada, reviewed Canada's stock of equipment and infrastructure and developed outlook scenarios.

Northern Ontario Rail Passenger Study—For the Northern Ontario Transportation Coalition, studied the potential for rail passenger services in Northern Ontario.

Planning Outlook—On behalf of Transport Canada's Strategic Policy Directorate, participated in departmental policy issues identification meetings and drafted the consensus paper.

Passenger Transportation Technology Assessment—For the Royal Commission on National Passenger Transportation (RCNPT), reviewed passenger technology related issues including emissions, alternative fuels, the greenhouse effect, and assessed development prospects.

Ontario Surface Freight Transportation Study—Conducted the rail and marine com-ponent of a study undertaken by Ray Barton and Associates for Transport Canada which examined interprovincial and international surface freight movements for Ontario along with policy, market and infrastructure conditions affecting these movements.

Rail Industry Profile—Commissioned by Industry Canada, prepared a profile of the railway freight and intercity/rural passenger industries in Canada and discussed rail's evolving environment. Revisions of this Profile were completed in 2000 and again in 2002. [Obtain Report]

Rail Passenger Vision—For Transport Canada, drafted a guidance document outlining the background and policy issues that need to be addressed in order to revitalize rail passenger services in Canada.

Realizing the Full Potential of Rail Intermodal for Canadian Transportation Policy—For Transport Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Railway Association of Canada, identified impediments to and means to promote truck-rail intermodal partnerships leading to enhanced export competitiveness and a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.

Review of HSR Build-Operate-Transfer Bids—Assisted in determining generic operating plans and costs for TGV-style and other high speed passenger rail systems and in reviewing the financial viability and bids as part of the initial negotiations for a proposed HSR system for the Republic of China.

The Role of the Automobile in Ottawa-Carleton—As a foundation study for the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton's Transportation Master Plan, reviewed the roles of the automobile and transit in the RMOC and developed and analyzed automobile control policy options.

Towards a Provincial Passenger Policy Regarding the Automobile—For the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, reviewed the role of the automobile in the Province, developed scenarios for the future, assessed possible policy approaches and selected policy options for consideration.

Experience in Transportation Regulation and Legislation

Assessment of the Canada Transportation Act as it Relates to Railways and Shippers in Ontario—On behalf of the Ministry of Transportation Ontario, reviewed rail-related economic regulatory provisions of the CTAct and consulted with Ontario shippers, shipper organizations, railway carriers and other parties. This document was used by Ontario in developing its position for the 2001 CTAct Review.

Canada Transportation Act Review Plan—On behalf of Transport Canada and in consultation with the grain and transportation industries, developed alternatives and recommendations for the 1999 review of the grain transportation and handing system as provided for in the CTAct.

Capital Sustainability in the Shortline Rail Industry—For the Canada Transportation Act Review (CTAR) examined the capital investment needs of the shortline freight railway industry in Canada and reviewed the impact of potential regulatory policies on the ability of the smaller railways to sustain their capital expenditures. This assignment included presentation of a discussion paper at the CTAR's Rail Issues Forum.

Competition in Grain Transportation—For Transport Canada, analyzed the competitiveness of Canada's grain transportation system, including a sample contestability analysis, a review of current legislation, and extensive stakeholder interviews as well as an overview of current issues in the US.

Confidential Contracting Review—For Canadian National, reviewed conceptual and practical considerations surrounding the maintenance of transportation contract confidentiality.

Economic Regulation Development Review—For Stentor, reviewed selected aspects of developments in the economic regulation of railways that might be relevant for the reform of Canada's telecommunications regulation.

Expert Advice to the Canada Transportation Act Review (CTAR)—Undertaken as personal service contract rather than an RTG project, David Hackston worked extensively with the CTAR where he provided expert advice on the content of the Interim Report, reviewed, analyzed and prepared briefings on submissions by carriers, shippers, shipper associations, provinces, municipalities and other interested parties on rail freight, rail passenger (intercity and urban) and intermodal issues.

Final Offer Arbitrations—Assisted parties in various stages of several of Final Offer Arbitration proceedings under NTA, 1987 and the CTAct, including negotiation possibilities, case preparation, development of evidence, direct testimony, and cross examination questions and final argument drafting.

Impact of the 1995 Railway Strike—Prepared an assessment of the national economic and transportation impacts of the 1995 national railway strike. This material was filed as background evidence in a Charter Challenge being litigated before the Federal Court by the Department of Justice.

National Transportation Act, 1987 Review Assistance—Evaluated the options for alteration to legislation relating to the competitive line rate provisions of NTA, 1987, and drafted recommendations ultimately adopted by the National Transportation Act Review Commission.

Paper and Hearings Participation on the Status of Term 32(2) of the Terms of Union of Newfoundland with Canada—On behalf of Canadian National, prepared a paper on railway freight rates, Railway Freight Rate Regulation 1949-1998 With Special Regard to Transportation in the Maritime Region and Newfoundland and assisted at a Canadian Transportation Agency hearing in St John's.

Passenger Costing Enquiry Support—On behalf of CN, assessed and prepared data and argument with respect to a National Transportation Agency costing methodology review.

Quality of TSB Rail Mode Reports—For the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act Review Commission, evaluated the distribution of and effectiveness of TSB reports on railway accidents and incidents. An assessment of follow-up and options for improvement was prepared.

Railway Competitive Access Provisions—Briefed counsel for a telecommunications carrier involved in a proceeding before the CRTC.

Review of Railway Safety Management Practices—On behalf of the Railway Safety Act Review Committee, undertook a review of safety management practices of Canadian railways, including CN, CP, VIA, regional and shortline railways.

Transportation Legislation and Regulation Review—Reviewed the 1987 transportation legislation and its impacts on Canadian ports, for the Canada Ports Corporation.

Transportation Industry Magazine Articles—Authored feature articles on specialized transportation topics for Materials Management and Distribution, the Canadian Shipper, Portus and the Seaway Review.

Experience in Transportation Costs, Rates and Competitiveness

Feed Grain Transportation Cost Estimation—On behalf of the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food, prepared estimates of the cost of moving barley by rail from Alberta origins to Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Flour and Grain Cost and Rates Development—On behalf of Industry Canada's Bureau of Competition Policy, developed costs and rates for the transportation of grain by rail, water and truck to selected flour mills, and of flour by truck and rail from selected Canadian and US origins to selected Canadian destinations.

Grain Transportation Cost and Rates Model—Analyzed the cost of transporting grain and the Western Grain Transportation Act rail rate structure for Transport Canada, Marine Policy. A directional cost-based rate structure that, included in an amended Act, would eliminate distortion in grain transport modal decisions was developed.

Grain Transportation Costing—For Transport Canada, Marine Policy, developed comparative costs for movement of western grain by: the Great Lakes/St Lawrence, direct rail to Quebec, rail to Mississippi River barge transfer points and direct rail to New Orleans.

Great Lakes and St Lawrence Seaway Commercial Attractiveness and Priorities for Policy Development—On behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, modal costs and competitiveness were assessed, and administrative, financial and management issues affecting the system were explored. Under a further contract, a digest of the report was prepared and released by the Minister. The Ministry's 1990-91 Annual Report noted as an achievement "...the first major study of the Great Lakes/St Lawrence in almost 10 years".

High Speed Rail with Multimodal Terminals—A preliminary study into the concept, design and cost of a Montreal-Ottawa-Kingston-Toronto rail operation connected with major airports was conducted for the National Research Council.

Impact of Changes to Seaway Costs—For Transport Canada, Marine Policy, undertook a brief study of the effect of possible changes in Seaway operations on its users.

Intermodal Landbridge—For a private sector client, undertook preliminary costing of a Canadian railway landbridge connection for Europe to Asia intermodal freight movements.

Modal Transportation Costs—On behalf of the Royal Commission on National Passenger Transportation (RCNPT) prepared system average and example service-specific unit cost estimates for Canadian passenger modes including infrastructure, environmental, accident, special (fuel) tax and vehicle/carrier components.

Mode Choice Case Study for the Motor Vehicle Assembly and Parts Industry—For Transport Canada, described and explained the structure of freight transportation in the Canadian automobile industry and examined transportation decision making such that the potential for shifts among modes can be understood. [Obtain Report]

Non-compensatory Rates and Predatory Pricing—On behalf of Canadian National, reviewed legislation and regulations, developed a Great Lakes marine database, estimated Great Lakes shipping cost, and drafted rebuttals in a successful response to allegations contained in an Application to the National Transportation Agency.

Railway Costing Review—For the Province of Alberta, reviewed the impact on railway costing issues of the 1987 legislative changes.

Railway Traffic Costing—A traffic costing study for railways in southern Africa was performed for the World Bank.

St Lawrence Seaway Competitiveness Study—On behalf of the St Lawrence Seaway Authority, examined the competitive position of the Seaway, evaluated the competitive advantages of alternate modes and routes and identified the opportunities for the Seaway and threats it faced. This study focussed on movement of specific commodities over specific routes. A full update of the 1997 study was completed in the fall of 1999.

Subsidy of Transportation Modes—Prepared a description and comparative analysis of the various subsidies applicable to each of the modes of transport, for the Ontario-Quebec Rapid Train Task Force.

The Competitiveness of the Great Lakes/Seaway System for Forwarding Eastbound Grain—For a consortium of twelve parties including the provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, and as principal subcontractor to the University of Manitoba Transport Institute, RTG was responsible for the economic assessment of the Great Lakes/St Lawrence and the eastbound and southbound alternative modes and routes. Economies from simplified and restructured operations, and institutional adjustments necessary to their achievement, were recommended.

Transportation Subsidy Programs Analysis—Assisted the Office of the Auditor General with advice on and analysis of Canadian federal transportation subsidy programs.

Unit Train Cost Development—For Canada Ports Corporation, estimated the relative cost of alternatives for the rail transportation of bulk products.

Value-added Processing of Western Grain—On behalf of Transport Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada, examined post-WGTA developments in value-added grain processing, the barriers faced by this industrial sector, and specific issues related to transportation and logistics.

VIA Rail Services: Economic Analysis—Developed the RCNPT's analysis of the prospect's for rail passenger services in Canada generally, and VIA Rail in particular. This analysis was published in the RCNPT's Final Report DIRECTIONS.

Experience in Railway Rationalization

Analysis of Transportation Potential in Northwestern Quebec—Conducted the study's rail segment by considering the potential of the existing carrier and for a possible shortline operator; the underlying client was the Conseil Régional de développement de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

Branch Line Assessment—For the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, studied the economic feasibility of and the potential for establishing a commercial short-line operation on a line facing imminent abandonment.

Branch Line Abandonment Program Evaluation—On behalf of Transport Canada, Program Evaluation, examined program objectives and intended and unintended impacts of both the abandonment approval procedures and past abandonments.

Intermodal and Other Alternatives to Rail Movement of Grain—On behalf of the St Lawrence Seaway Authority, evaluated alternatives to rail delivery of grain to customers in Port Colborne.

CP Purchase of CN: Shipper and Port Impact Analyses—For Transport Canada, identified and interviewed shippers in northern New Brunswick and the Gaspé, and assessed the viability and prospects for continuance of rail services there. As a separate element of the project, assessed the potential implications for the Port of Halifax of a CP purchase of CN's eastern assets.

Northern Ontario Railway Rationalization User and Community Impact Study—For the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, identified industry served by CN and CP's northern Ontario lines, assessed transportation alternatives, and estimated the impact on local communities of the availability of rail freight and passenger services and of the local employment and income that the railway operations provide.

Rail Rationalization in Southern Ontario—For the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, recommended planned rationalization of the railway and grain elevator systems and a process for its achievement.

Railway Services Market Potential—For a private sector client, assisted with the estimation of the market potential for a contract railway equipment maintenance shop in a surplus Class I railway maintenance facility.

Railway Main Line Rationalization—For the National Transportation Act Review Commission, assessed the potential for eliminating duplicate railway main lines through track sharing, and hurdles that may be encountered during the rationalization process.

Railway Operating Practices and Alternatives—For the St Lawrence Seaway Authority, examined present and potential railway operating practices (including costs and resource requirements) for movements crossing the Welland Canal.

Short Line Operation—For the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, conducted a feasibility study of the potential for a commercial freight operation on the Port Stanley Terminal Rail Inc.

Provided Support to the St Lawrence Seaway Authority in its Negotiations with CN over changes to the rail infrastructure in the Niagara Peninsula including a review of developments since the mid-1800s. This work led to the establishment of the Port Colborne Harbour Railway.

Windsor Area Long Range Transportation Study—With IMC Consulting Group, provided the rail component for the Transportation Master Plan for Windsor and neighbouring communities.

Experience in Research Evaluation, Programs and Policy

Canadian Transportation Research Inventories—Annual inventories of completed project reports (1986 to 1991 inclusive) and active projects (1987 to 1992 inclusive) were sponsored by Transport Canada, Economic Analysis.

Corporate Review of Research and Development—On behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation's Corporate Review, prepared a Discussion Paper on organizational possibilities for technological and socio-economic research, and drafted the Review's recommendations and final report.

Railway Accident Data Base Review—On behalf of Transport Canada's Research and Development Centre, undertook a comparative analysis of US and Canadian railway accident statistics as a means of assisting in setting research priorities.

Inventory of Professional Training in Transportation—On behalf of Transport Canada, prepared an inventory of training programs available through Canadian Universities, Community Colleges, CEGEPs, transportation industry and professional organizations and the private sector.[Obtain Report]

Re-engineering R&D Branch—Assisted Ministry of Transportation Ontario managers in the development of a strategic planning framework for research and development.

Research Institute Evaluation and Strategic Plan—On behalf of the Province of Manitoba conducted the evaluation of the University of Manitoba Transport Institute necessary for renewal of its funding, and developed a market strategy for the Institute.

Research Program and Organization Proposal Development—On behalf of a consortium of Canadian Universities, and with the support of Transport Canada, Research and Development, prepared the Technology, Innovation and Integration for Transport Efficiency "network-of-excellence" proposal.

Research Program Planning and Management—As Senior Research Advisor to the Royal Commission on National Passenger Transportation, Richard Lake assisted the Director of Research in the planning of the Commission's research program, preparation of terms of reference, evaluation of proposals, and interpretation of results.