New University partnership with Toronto cycling community hopes to encourage more cycling in Toronto

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 10:57:00 AM

Research


  (Photo: Martin Reis)

By Lake Sagaris

With a partnership development grant from SSHRC, a new two-year project Toronto Cycling Think (and Do Tank), or TCT2, combines academics and expert practitioners to address an important gap in knowledge about building more sustainable cities: how experience from the behavioural change field (applied to building occupants) can be transferred to the field of active transportation.  The project's goal is to encourage more people to cycle as their primary means of transportation, particularly over short distances. 

Although effective, even world leaders The Netherlands and Denmark are increasingly pressed to reach the targets they have set, to meet greenhouse gas emission, health, and other crucial policy goals. This challenge is even more apparent in transitioning cities such as Toronto.  Although cycling's share of short daily trips has grown, differences by ward reveal that behavioural factors are crucial, if Toronto is to cash in on the economic, public health, air quality and other benefits.

With this initiative, Dr. Beth Savan, Senior Lecturer Emerita at the School of Environment and former Director of the U of T Sustainability Office, has built a coalition to map cycling patterns, explore economic benefits and to bring together literature from both environmental psychology and active transportation to develop integrated tools for increasing cycle use in daily transport.

Partners include global experts 8-80 Cities, retail pioneers Curbside Cycling/Fourth Floor Distribution, media innovators Dandyhorse and Spacing magazines, Toronto Centre for Active Transport, Evergreen Brickworks and ING Bank. The team includes award-winning author and (cycling-) inclusive urban planning expert Lake Sagaris and Toby Bowers from U of T's Bikechain. They will mentor a team of students, communicating results in relevant journals, conferences and media. 

For more information, please contact Lake Sagaris at lsagaris@yahoo.com or Beth Savan at b.savan@utoronto.ca, or visit www.citiescentre.utoronto.ca/Research/TCT2.htm.