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Practices and Inspiration for
Sustainable Transportation Equity

The big question facing the transportation community is no longer whether to take action towards transportation equity, but how.

Nearly 1 million Canadians live in transport poverty, where their ability to access opportunities is limited by inadequate, unsafe, or unaffordable transportation options. City builders are recognizing that the way transportation has been planned, designed, and delivered is unfair and needs to change. At the same time, governments are increasing their investments in sustainable transportation infrastructure—and putting equity on their policy agendas. These windows are opportunities to level inequities and build transportation systems that work for everyone, but transportation practitioners need more guidance on how to action equity commitments on the ground.

How can we move transportation equity from rhetoric to reality?

INTERACT and LevelUp Planning teamed up to assemble practical guidance and inspiration on how equity can be meaningfully embedded in sustainable transportation interventions. We examined the state of equity policies in Canadian and international cities, captured promising practices from jurisdictions making notable progress in their journey towards sustainable transportation equity, and convened the transportation community to learn from and build on these strategies.

This report shares key findings from our process, including:

  • Key elements that define transportation equity, and resources for learning more
  • Considerations for the development of municipal equity policies in Canada
  • Lessons learned from the transportation equity journeys of three Canadian cities – New Westminster, Edmonton, and Ottawa
  • 15 promising practices for embedding equity in sustainable transportation interventions

Upcoming events

Join researcher Meghan Winters from INTerventions, Equity, Research, and Action in Cities Team (INTERACT), and city builders Lisa Leblanc (City of New Westminster), Deborah Lightman RPP (City of Ottawa), and Christian Lee (City of Edmonton) as they explore the findings from INTERACT’s new report, Practices and Inspiration for Sustainable Transportation Equity: Case Studies from Canadian Cities. Developed in collaboration with LevelUp Planning and transportation and equity professionals from across Canada, this report shares practical guidance on ways cities can embed equity in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of transportation interventions. The panel will delve deeper into key insights from the report, including what transportation equity really means and key considerations for the development of municipal equity policies in Canada.

Project Roadmap

Activities

NCCEH Webinar: Practices and Inspiration for Sustainable Transportation Equity

Healthy Built Environment Forum 

Victoria Barr from LevelUp Planning and Laura Chow from Vancouver Coastal Health joined Meghan Winters to discuss the pivotal role of public health practitioners in moving equity from rhetoric to reality.

How can cities move transportation equity from rhetoric to reality?

CityTalk Live

A panel of city builders from Edmonton, New Westminster, and Ottawa shared insights on the successes and struggles with realizing transportation equity in Canadian cities.

From rhetoric to reality: Promising practices for advancing transportation equity in Canadian cities.

Workshop at the ITE Canada/CARSP 2023 Joint Conference
Winnipeg

Transportation professionals and researchers from across Canada joined to learn from cities who are moving transportation equity from rhetoric to reality. We shared highlights from the workshop in ITE Canada’s Transportation Talks Summer 2023.

The road to transportation equity: Early findings from municipal policies and actions

CARSP Webinar Series
April 19, 2023

We shared early findings from our scan of equity policies in Canada, and key insights from transportation professionals who are actively integrating equity into their planning and practice, including applications to road safety.

Municipal equity policies: takeaways for planners

Canadian municipalities are creating policies to guide their approach to equity, both internally within governments and externally within their communities. Planners possess the power and responsibility to contribute to municipal equity efforts. However, this is a new area for many planners, and there are different ways to approach equity work. Read about early findings from our scan of equity policies in Canadian communities, and takeaways for planning practice in Plan Canada.

Case study selection

In December 2022, we convened the INTERACT Knowledge Hub to hear findings from our policy scan and deliberate on the selection of case study cities that stand out for their approach to equity, from both a policy and transportation planning standpoint. Three Canadian cities were selected for in-depth case studies (New Westminster, Edmonton, and Ottawa), in addition to spotlights on specific local and international initiatives in Toronto, County of Kings, Seattle, Washington DC, and Oakland. Learn more about the data and process that informed our selection.

Project team

The PISTE project is a collaboration of INTERACT and LevelUp Planning Collaborative, and supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Mitacs.

RESEARCHERS

Meghan Winters, PhD
Principal Investigator, Simon Fraser University

Tessa Williams, MSc(c), RPP
Research lead + Mitacs Intern, Simon Fraser University

Meridith Sones, MPH, PhD(c)
Co-investigator + INTERACT Knowledge Mobilization Manager, Simon Fraser University

Victoria Barr, PhD
Consultant + Mitacs Partner, LevelUp Planning Collaborative

Zoé Poirier Stephens, MUP
INTERACT Research Manager, Université de Montréal

Jaimy Fischer, PhD
Co-investigator, Simon Fraser University

Daniel Fuller, PhD
Co-investigator, University of Saskatchewan

Yan Kestens, PhD
Co-investigator, Centre de recherche en santé publique, Université de Montréal

Kevin Manaugh, PhD
Co-investigator, McGill University

CITY BUILDERS

Sarah Webb
Assistant Director, Corporate Planning & Strategic Project Support, City of Victoria

Mike Van der Laan
Transportation Planner, City of Victoria

Sherwood Plant
Transportation Engineer, City of Vancouver

Bartek Komorowski
Conseiller en aménagement – Chef d’équipe, City of Montreal

Chris Schulz
Planning Project Services Manager, City of Saskatoon

Rob Dudiak
Special Project Manager (BRT), City of Saskatoon

Gregory Spencer
Director of Research, Canadian Urban Institute