Increasing Cycling in Canada: A Guide to What Works
Yvonne Verlinden

In late September 2019, The Centre for Active Transportation, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Toronto, McGill University, and Simon Fraser University, released Increasing Cycling in Canada:  A guide to what works with funding support from Metcalf and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Drawing from five years of research in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, the authors analyzed national demographic, geographic, and transportation data sets, evaluated cycling programs, conducted interviews with municipal staff and community organizations, and collected costing data for cycling programs and infrastructure across the city, in addition to researching how to measure the cross-cutting benefits of cycling. While pointing to the importance of good cycling infrastructure, the guide also makes recommendations covering programming and engagement, culture, policy, and addressing hills and inclement weather.

Below are quick facts from the report along with links to additional information:

Quick Facts: 

  • Identify cycling potential: More short trips, more trips per day, and fewer cars per person are all associated with more cycling. Map these factors to find places with the best potential for increasing cycling.
  • Make it safe: Having safe routes to ride is crucial. Canada’s top neighbourhoods for cycling in 2016 had almost four times more cycling infrastructure than other neighbourhoods.
  • Pair up projects and programs: Cycling infrastructure and programming have the greatest impact when they act synergistically. Amplify the impact of new facilities by pairing them with cycling-friendly policies and targeted, community-based campaigns.
  • Address weather and hills: Snowy weather and hills can be challenging for people on bike. Yet Montreal has seen cycling increase by 170% over the past 20 years. Prioritize key cycling routes for snow-clearing and provide help getting up hills.

Additional Information: 

Metcalf Foundation activities are continuing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Updates here.