The federal government said June 7 it is reconfirming its commitment to use the best possible evidence available as it makes decisions on spending billions on new transportation and mobility infrastructure.
Andy Fillmore, parliamentary secretary to Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna, announced 23 recipients of Knowledge Synthesis Grants, explaining the projects funded will synthesize existing research on mobility and public transit issues in urban, rural and remote areas across Canada.
The research will help to explore the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fillmore said, given that early evidence suggests commuting behaviour and settlement patterns have been altered in many communities. It will also help develop better infrastructure and improve services for under-represented groups.
“These grants were designed to give us a clearer picture of what’s needed at the community level, so we can get the most out of our historic investments in public transit,” Fillmore said.
The grant program was unveiled last September and it will be administered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).
Fillmore stated, “Many of these research projects will be exploring the shift to public transit, active transportation and zero emission technology, providing us with better information to make better decisions for a sustainable future. With better data, we can make sure that every dollar spent helps us create jobs, build inclusive communities and reach net zero by 2050.”
Universite du Quebec en Outaouais administrative sciences professor Hamed Motaghi and a co-applicant will receive $29,195 over one year to review the literature relating to transportation and mobility choices made by new Canadians.
He said it’s important to understand how those communities interact using digital mobility platforms on both the supply and demand sides in a variety of different activities, such as ride sharing and car sharing, the transportation of goods and the delivery of services.
“The proposed Knowledge Synthesis will shed light on these challenges, and will foster the internal dialogue between various stakeholders,” he said.
Other projects to be funded include one from co-applicant researchers based at Selkirk College and the University of Guelph respectively, titled Navigating Rural: Place-Based Transit Solutions for Rural Canada; an Ontario Tech University program titled Informing Inclusive E-Bike Policy and Infrastructure Development; a University of Guelph project called Evaluating Transportation Policies and Practices in Canada’s Most Populous Municipalities; a University of Toronto project titled An Integrated Approach to Transit System Evolution; a HEC Montreal project called Accelerating Sustainable Mobility in Canada via the Innovation Commons: Transportation Hubs as Loci of Multi-layer Ecosystems of Innovation; and an OCAD University study titled Sustainable Development and Electrification of Transit.
The findings will be published openly to help all stakeholders invest more wisely in public transit, said Ted Hewitt, president of the SSHRC.
“Grant holders will identify where research gaps remain so as to orient future research and policy development, particularly at the community level, in the most efficient and effective way possible,” he said.
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