Canadian government announces support for research into mobility, public transit issues

June 8, 2021
Research will help to inform planning for public transportation infrastructure. 

The Canadian government has announced the 23 recipients of the Knowledge Synthesis Grants, which were first announced in September 2020 to examine and synthesize existing knowledge on mobility and transit issues at the community level. 

The goal of the grants is to lead to better, more strategic infrastructure investments, and are administered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). 

The awarding of the grants is another step forward for smart mobility, public transit funding and research that will deliver triple bottom line results: jobs and economic growth; a cleaner environment; and more inclusive communities. 

"Understanding the transit and active transportation needs of Canadians is key to getting the most out of our historic investments in public transit infrastructure. With better data and research, we can make sure that every dollar spent helps us create good jobs, inclusive communities, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. 

The 23 projects funded will examine and synthesize existing research on mobility and public transit issues in urban, rural and remote areas across Canada and provide useful directions for future research. The projects reflect not only the geographic regions of the nation, but also Canada's diversity through the exploration of innovations to improve services for racialized groups, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, immigrants and refugees, women, youth and seniors. Research will also explore the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as early evidence suggests that commuting behavior and settlement patterns have been altered in many communities. 

"Mobility is freedom, but only if it's efficient, sustainable and works for all Canadians. The researchers that the Government of Canada are supporting through this initiative will be doing the work that will underpin evidenced-based investments and innovative decision-making. It's how we will transform Canada's public transport systems to be the most equitable, sustainable, and effective, and help Canadians connect after such distant times," said the Honorable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. 

Their work will help government and partners better understand transit and mobility issues, which in turn will help the government of Canada better target its programs and investments as part of the Investing in Canada plan, as well as Canada's first permanent public transit fund announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

Findings will be published openly to help all stakeholders invest in public transit infrastructure in ways that will help build strong communities across the country and deliver jobs, reduce emissions and achieve a better quality of life for all Canadians. 

"These latest Knowledge Synthesis Grants illustrate the important role social sciences and humanities research plays in better understanding and effectively addressing complex societal issues, such as mobility and public transit in the Canadian context,” said Dr. Ted Hewitt, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. “SSHRC is pleased to collaborate with partners to advance knowledge and understanding in this area that will guide future research programs and policymaking in an area that affects all citizens."