TCAT Releases Two New Research Reports

With support from the Toronto Community Foundation, TCAT is pleased to announce two new research reports today examining the state of active transportation in Toronto.

The first report titled Benchmarking Active Transportation in Canadian Cities compared the performance of active transportation in Toronto against other cities in Canada, the United States and Europe using key indicators as benchmarks. Among the study’s findings:

  • Cities with more kilometres of bicycle facilities have a higher active transportation mode share
  • In cities with high mode shares, the percentage of cyclists and pedestrians injured and killed is lower than in cities with low mode shares, thus confirming the “safety in numbers” theory
  • The cities with the lowest active transportation mode shares also have the highest private automobile shares
  • Cities in jurisdictions with low gas taxes tend to have low active transportation levels and higher private automobile mode shares

According to Kevin Behan, Clean Air Partnership researcher and lead author of the report, there is one key area that Toronto needs to address to improve conditions for cyclists: "While Toronto performs comparably with other North American cities in terms of bike paths, the City has yet to create one kilometre of on-street bike lanes physically separated from motorized traffic.

Behan adds there are many ways Toronto could improve conditions for pedestrians: “More people walk to work in Montreal and Vancouver than in Toronto. Both of those cities have pedestrianized streets and lower speed limits in residential areas. Toronto opened its first pedestrian priority streets after the conclusion of this study but doesn’t have lower speed limits in residential areas. "

Download Benchmarking Active Transportation in Canadian Cities here.

The second report Building Better Cycling Arteries in Cities: Lessons for Toronto examined how to accommodate cyclists on arterial roads. Since these streets carry a high volume of high-speed motor vehicles, providing safe passage for cyclists is especially critical.

Case studies from Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Portland, New York City and Berlin demonstrated how policies and practices improve cycling arteries. Suitable bicycle facilities and sufficient bikeway networks along with policies that support cycling are important in creating safe and convenient cycling arteries in cities.

The importance of developing and improving cycling infrastructure and policy have been recognized and discussed in current mayoral debates. According to TCAT’s recent 2010 Municipal Candidate Election Surveys, many Toronto municipal candidates support measures such as increasing cycling safety, introducing a Complete Streets policy and building a major east-west bicycle lane on Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue.

Researcher and lead author Ada Chan summarizes the report: “As one of the world’s major cities, Toronto should be in the forefront of cycling innovations. The new mayor and city councilors in the upcoming term have lots of opportunities to transform the city into a leading urban cycling centre to increase cycling mode share and cycling safety for Toronto residents.”

Download Building Better Cycling in Cities: Lessons for Toronto here.

Download the press release here.