Faculty of Health Sciences professor Meghan Winters received $3M from CIHR to co-lead a collaborative, interdisciplinary research team that will focus on creating sustainable transportation options in cities across Canada. Photo: Meredith Sones

Researchers net $3M to create sustainable transportation interventions in Canadian cities

December 08, 2022

Reprinted from SFU News with contributions by Sharon Mah

A national research team is taking aim at creating more sustainable transportation options in cities across the country. Simon Fraser University (SFU) health sciences professor Meghan Winters leads the interdisciplinary group with $3 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The team will focus on improving bicycling networks for all ages and strategies to reduce speed.

“This work was really motivated by what we were hearing from city staff across the country,” says Winters, principal lead for the “Building CapaCITY/É for Sustainable Transportation” (CapaCITY/É) project, involving more than 50 researchers, city planners and community organizations from across the country. Their goal is to implement more sustainable transportation interventions to support health, mobility and equity outcomes in cities.

“They want evidence on how best to make investments to support the uptake of sustainable transportation, for more people, and more different types of people; and also for people who have more limited transportation options. While we have seen some cities moving fast to build out bicycle networks or low-speed neighbourhoods, other cities are facing barriers and wondering how move forward, in the coming years.”

The project will focus on 10 cities to better understand what works where, for whom, and in which context, helping to accelerate on-the-ground action towards healthy, sustainable, and equitable cities.

Winters says the research comes at an important time, with the federal government last year launching its first National Active Transportation Strategy, investing $400M in active transportation and $14.9B in public transit over the next eight years.

The CapaCITY/É project is an initiative involving multiple Canadian academic institutions. The project will be guided by Winters, principal applicant Marie-Soleil Cloutier from Institut Nationale de la Recherche Scientifique, and principal applicant Daniel Fuller from University of Saskatchewan. Other leads in the project include:

  • Sara Kirk, principal applicant – Dalhousie University
  • Martine Shareck, principal applicant (Early Career Researcher) – Université de Sherbrooke
  • Jennifer Tomasone, principal applicant – Queen’s University
  • Linda Rothman, principal applicant (Early Career Researcher) – Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Andrew Howard, principal applicant – The Hospital for Sick Children
  • Alison Macpherson, principal applicant – York University
  • Yan Kestens, principal applicant – Université de Montréal
  • Sarah Moore, principal applicant (Early Career Researcher) – Dalhousie University
  • Anne Harris, principal applicant – Toronto Metropolitan University

The Healthy Cities Implementation Science Team Award was launched as a part of the CIHR Healthy Cities Research Initiative and in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada. Over $27 million in research funding will be distributed over the next six years.

“The research we are investing in today will give us a better understanding of what interventions work, for whom and why—yielding critical knowledge to improve the health of all people living in Canada,” said Adam van Koeverden, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and to the Minister of Sport.