Active transportation, or human-powered travel, is a growing movement across Canada and many parts of the world. Making municipalities safer for walking, cycling and other forms of active transportation will improve the health and well-being of Nova Scotians and create sustainable, more livable communities. Nova Scotia’s municipalities are in an ideal position to make this investment in the future and reap the many benefits it will provide, but there is work to be done before this can happen.
Advocating for Active Transportation
UNSM made active transportation a priority in 2008 when it resolved to promote strategies among its membership and with other government agencies. It also advocates for improved roads and other infrastructure to develop and encourage safe walking, cycling and other active transportation opportunities for both Nova Scotians and visitors.
Moving Active Transportation Forward in Your Municipality
Many Nova Scotia municipalities have made impressive strides in developing active routes as viable transportation options for their residents. As a result of active transportation planning and projects, these municipalities are becoming more sustainable, vibrant communities for people of all ages.
To help create more opportunities for active transportation in your municipality, here are a few ideas from UNSM's Active Transportation Committee:
1. Show the UNSM active transportation video at a council meeting and introduce a resolution that supports active transportation.
2. Organize a “brown bag” lunch session for staff to show the UNSM active transportation video and invite an active transportation speaker to discuss opportunities within your municipality for promoting active transportation.
3. Place a link on your website to UNSM’s active transportation video (www.unsm.ca/active-transportation.html and/or www.sustainability-unsm.ca/active-transportation.html).
4. Develop a working group comprising interested citizens, municipal physical activity coordinators, planners, recreation staff, non-profit groups, trails groups, enforcement officers, developers, and local businesses to discuss ways to promote active transportation in your municipality. This may include:
a) Completing an initial community “walk or bike-ability” assessment
b) Securing resources for an active transportation connectivity plan
c) Making presentations to various agencies, such as local school boards, regional development authorities and community health boards
d) Organizing a public meeting or setting up a booth at local events and in key community locations to generate support for active transportation
5. Once preliminary work has been done, share desired outcomes with your council and residents to garner further support.
6. Get going with some “low hanging fruit” initiatives, such as installing bike racks and share-the-road signs, printing maps to promote trails in your municipality, and organizing biking or walking events.
7. Begin work on active transportation opportunities identified in your Integrated Community Sustainability Plan.
8. Be a visible active transportation leader: encourage staff to walk and cycle for their daily commute.
Active Transportation Resources
UNSM's Active Transportation Video - 4 Minute Version
UNSM's Active Transportation Committee developed a 4-minute version to promote active transporaton as a viable transportation mode and showcase solutions for making it a reality at the municipal level.
There are several online resources to help you move the active transportation agenda forward in your municipality, including the following:
- Ecology Action Centre’s Active Transportation 101
- Ecology Action Centre’s Municipalities for Green Mobility
- Active and Safe Routes to School
- Ecology Action Centre’s Green Mobility Strategy for Nova Scotia
- Ecology Action Centre’s Links and Resources
- pdf Child and Youth Friendly Planning Guidelines (3.34 MB)