• Erin Binnie

Government of Canada Announces Commitment to Active Transportation

Getting from A to B with zero emissions.

In March the Government of Canada announced the first federal fund of $400 million over five years dedicated to Active Transportation. The team at VOOMcart was excited about this announcement because we believe that city life is best experienced on foot and/or bike – and both are great examples of active transportation!

Any human-powered method of transportation that moves people from A to B falls into this category. With this funding announcement, the Government of Canada is recognizing the important role Active Transportation plays in our daily lives and the greater role it should play in the functioning of our cities. Spending to create infrastructure that makes citizens feel safer while self-propelling through cities will ultimately result in happier, healthier and more engaged communities.

There is a common misconception that active transportation advocates are anti-car. This is simply not true. By 2050, two thirds of the world's population will live in urban areas. In basic terms - there is just not enough space for cars to be the predominant people movers. Think of the millions of people who do not own or drive a car, or the teenagers and kids that have to travel to school throughout the city. We need to find a way forward that includes sharing space designed for commuting and we need to make it safe for everyone.

Although the overlap is obvious, there is a distinction between physical activity and active transportation. Going for a walk, jog, or cycle for exercise is different than using human power to get where you need to go.

Unprecedented changes to our daily lives brought on by the pandemic has clearly demonstrated the important role and effect that active transportation can have in our cities. Because people were avoiding public transit, they were presented a unique opportunity to rediscover the joy of active transportation.

Rapid response efforts in cities created temporary bike lanes with painted lines and barriers like flower boxes that connected main city arteries. These safter, expanded networks inspired people who didin’t previously feel safe, to dust off their bikes, and roll into the lanes to get where they needed to go. For the first time, my 14-year-old son could safely bike to his school in Toronto, across Bloor St, traversing Yonge, Spadina and Bathurst!