In the summer of 2021, TCAT Mobilizing Justice graduate assistant Sabat Ismail conducted a scan of community initiatives addressing transport poverty and increasing modal choices across Canada. This scan included detailed web searches deploying multiple combinations of keywords and phrases covering modes, places and sections (i.e. “Hamilton LRT advocates”), as well as a news media search. Working with Mobilizing Justice co-leads Nancy Smith Lea of TCAT and Dr. Meghan Winters of SFU, Sabat compiled every identified initiative into a database that documents each initiative’s location, host organizations, collaborators, focuses, programing, projects, and website.
There were 245 community initiatives identified across the country. These initiatives were concentrated most heavily in Ontario (38%) and Quebec (20%), though the author also found substantial activity in the Prairies (16%), Atlantic Canada (9%), and British Columbia (14%). Most initiatives also focused on cycling or active transportation generally (see image below).
The final report highlights six organizations that demonstrate how grassroots initiatives are addressing transportation poverty in different locations and for different modes, they are:
- Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods (CAN): an organization created by and for people with disabilities in Metro Vancouver focusing on accessibility, community outreach, and advocacy related to public transit.
- Ikwe Safe Rides: a Winnipeg-based non-profit through which women volunteer drivers provide a safe alternative taxi service for Indigenous women and children.
- Rescue Bike: based out of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre in Toronto, this group provides a do-it-yourself (DIY) bike space that runs build-a-bike and DIY repair programs. It was first created to support those in the shelter system that rely upon bikes for affordable transportation.
- Coalition Mobilité Active Montréal: this non-profit and volunteer run organization aims to represent the needs vulnerable road users. The coalition supports initiatives across Montréal to build local decision-making power and support advocacy.
- Rural Transportation Association: a non-profit coalition of rural transportation providers in Nova Scotia that serves as a forum to share information and support for community-based transportation.
- Whitehorse Walks: A resource that promotes walking in Whitehorse through public information dissemination.
Read the full report here.