The Role of Cycling within Sustainable Urban Development in Canada: Case studies of Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Ottawa
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This project defines the potential benefits of bicycling in major Canadian cities; determines the role of cycling within sustainable urban development; and suggests recommendations for maximizing the benefits of cycling in Canadian cities. The first phase of the project involved a review of academic literature and analysis of documents for four city case studies: Vancouver, British Columbia; Calgary, Alberta; Ottawa, Ontario; and Toronto, Ontario. Information was analyzed and themed to develop recommendations to maximize bicycling in these cities. The research suggests Vancouver and Ottawa are two of Canada’s leading cities in cycling innovation. Analysis of city documents found that most cities create in-depth cycling master plans which are difficult to successfully complete. Phase two of the project involved a 5400 kilometer bicycling tour in the summer of 2010 from Vancouver to Toronto. During the tour, each of the four cities were visited for a period of five to seven days and observations were made on cyclist infrastructure, safety, promotional and educational initiatives, planning, policy and law, and unique features. Photography and semi-structured interviews with urban planners, government officials, and cycling advocates were utilized to gain a unique perspective of the major cycling issues and innovations within each city. The research and observation indicated that a focus on creation of complete cycling networks; enforcement of cyclist rights; promotion and education; incentives and disincentives to the use of motorized vehicles; efficient use of funds for cycling infrastructure; the examination of municipal level cycling master plan policy; recognition of economic benefits of cycling; and knowledge and experience sharing between Canadian municipalities can increase overall rates of cycling within a city.