Transportation plans, including cycling plans and active transportation plans, are instrumental for increasing cycling. Over the past twenty years, many municipalities across Canada have for the first time created plans with a focus on cycling. These plans typically identify a recommended cycling network, a time frame for installation, and the length in kilometres of the different kinds of infrastructure to be built (e.g. protected bike lanes, trails, designated routes, etc.) They often also set out objectives regarding cycling promotion, education, and parking. Mode shift targets are included less frequently, but are a helpful tool for accountability.
Establishing a cycling plan puts cycling on the table and makes it a legitimate transportation mode that is part of the transportation planning discussion. These plans can also spark major investments in cycling infrastructure and programming, as well as changes within local transportation departments. Dedicated staff are often allocated to cycling for the first time soon after a plan is put in place.
- Create a transportation plan with clear objectives for amount of infrastructure to be built within a specific timeline and how it is to be funded.
- Dedicate staff to the implementation of the cycling plan and make use of community resources, such as cycling advisory committees and community groups.
- Collaborate with regional and provincial levels of government, and look for funding from outside of transportation, such as health, tourism, and economic stimulus.
- Ottawa followed up the publication of its first cycling plan in 2008 with the creation of its first ever Cycling Unit, responsible for overseeing the plan’s implementation. In the early 2000s, Montréal increased the number of people working on cycling from two to 14, and its 2008 transportation plan led to major infrastructure expansion.
- In 2007, the B.C. government designated Revelstoke a ‘Resort Community’, leading to major funding opportunities for the town that allowed them to invest in cycling.
- In Winnipeg, post-recession stimulus funding from the provincial government was instrumental in the development of cycling infrastructure.
- Small municipal administrations can benefit from collaborating with community groups interested in cycling. In Canmore, there was no staff person specifically dedicated to cycling, and as a result, the municipality depended on community groups, who took the lead in the organization of events and have been instrumental in the process of developing cycling infrastructure.