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Action 2: Active Transporation

Why is active transportation (AT) important?

  • It provides the opportunity for physical activity when travelling for both daily needs and recreational purposes.

  • Active transportation has the ability to provide many co-benefits such as tourism, economic             development and social equity, allowing all members of the community to                             potentially use the facilities.

  • While sidewalks and bike lanes may not be feasible in many dispersed rural land areas, other opportunities such as wide paved shoulders may be useful for biking. While commuting by bike is seldom feasible, many rural residents enjoy the recreational aspects of cycling and walking. Therefore, it is important to encourage AT in rural areas. Often there are many trail network resources available in a rural setting, i.e. low traffic secondary roads, former rail beds etc.

  • AT can also realize the goals of reducing local air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, and provide climate protection (CIP, 2012). 

Town of Haliburton: Case Study

  • Haliburton and other communities have widened shoulders on county roads; some jurisdictions have also done this on provincial highways in order to accommodate bicycles.

  • AT initiatives have been successful in Haliburton due to community-based research; community forums; advocates for supportive policies, education and awareness activities and the development of planning documents

  • AT initiatives are focused in the Villages of Haliburton and Minden

  • The AT projects were focused on the villages in order to make implementation more manageable and achievable.

Recommendations for rural municipalities:

  • Work to ensure that you have an active transportation (AT) plan that considers broad county-and region- wide initiatives and connections between municipalities and communities as well as infrastructure improvements such as wider road shoulders or bike lanes. * Link

  • It is important to develop an AT strategy at the lower-tier municipal level. Ensure that the strategy is appropriate for the size of your community. See for example:

  • Tips from practitioners:

    • Engage a committee or community-based group that is passionate about AT.

    • Focus on something manageable, such as working within one area of a community to start.

    • Promote the relationship between AT, economic development, cultural planning and health outcomes (physical activity, air quality and injury prevention). Recognizing these co-benefits can help encourage funding and implementation.

    • Seek out opportunities for trail development that has desired destination locales and that can provide an interconnected network of linking facilities. Consider the use of various resources, including abandoned rail lines, crown land/public land holdings, utility corridors, road allowances etc.

    • Integrate AT into other planning actions that a municipality may be interested in, e.g. transportation planning, parks and recreation plans, downtown revitalization plans etc.

    • Apply for Bike and/or Walk Friendly Communities designation.