Practices and Inspiration for Sustainable Transportation Equity (The PISTE Project):
Case studies from Canadian cities

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Canadian cities are advancing policies that aim to confront historical inequities in urban planning. This is paralleled by major government investments in sustainable transportation over recent years that are reshaping our cities to address wicked problems, like congestion and the climate emergency. How can we apply equity policies on the ground to ensure that new transportation infrastructure benefits those who need it most?

To tackle this question, INTERACT and LevelUp Planning are leading case studies of cities making notable progress in their journey towards sustainable transportation equity. Through policy analysis and key informant interviews, we’re examining the state of equity policies in Canadian cities, identifying jurisdictions that are applying these policies in a sustainable transportation context, and delving into what worked, what failed, and why. 

Our ultimate goal is to gather and share practical guidance on how cities can meaningfully embed equity in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of sustainable transportation interventions.

Our objectives

  • Examine the state of equity policies in Canadian and international cities
  • Capture lessons learned and strategies for applying equity policies and principles in the context of sustainable transportation
  • Convene the transportation community to learn from inspiring practices and explore bold ideas for advancing sustainable transportation equity

Project Roadmap

Recent activities

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

Workshop at the ITE Canada/CARSP 2023 Joint Conference

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

This webinar shared early findings from our environmental 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 both the power and responsibility to contribute to municipal equity efforts, as evidenced by the profession’s record of harming structurally marginalized communities, through discriminatory design, disinvestment, displacement and disenfranchisement. However, this is a new area for many planners, and there are different ways to approach equity work. This article in Plan Canada magazine shares early findings from our environmental scan of equity policies in Canadian communities, and suggests takeaways for planning practice.

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. This slide deck provides a detailed look at the data and process that informed our selection.

Project team

Meghan Winters, Principal Investigator – Simon Fraser University
Meridith Sones, Co-investigator – Simon Fraser University
Jaimy Fischer, Co-investigator – Simon Fraser University
Daniel Fuller, Co-investigator – University of Saskatchewan
Yan Kestens, Co-investigator – Université de Montréal
Kevin Manaugh, Co-investigator – McGill University
Tessa Williams, Lead Researcher & Mitacs Intern – Simon Fraser University
Victoria Barr, Consultant & Mitacs Partner – LevelUp Planning Collaborative

The PISTE project is a collaboration of INTERACT and LevelUp Planning Collaborative, and supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, REsearch and ACtion for Healthy Cities (REACH-Cities) CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Research Chair, and Mitacs.