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Policy Briefing: Transportation Policy Briefing
With good planning, Canadian cities can emerge from the pandemic with transportation systems that create good-quality jobs, provide low carbon travel options, improve equity, and foster healthy communities. But this future is far from assured, writes Matti Siemiatycki. Photograph courtesy Andre Furtado/Pexels

Pandemic driving urban transportation transition

Decisions made today, in the fog of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, will shape the direction of Canadian cities for generations to come. Investing in sustainable transportation and connected transit-oriented communities, not highway expansion and sprawling subdivisions, is the better path forward. 
Canadian commercial airlines made just $1.6-billion in the third quarter of 2020, down nearly 80 per cent from the same time in 2019, according to Statistics Canada's Daily released on Feb. 19. Passenger volume is down even more. The airlines flew 3.6 million people in the same period, down nearly 86 per cent from 2019. This resulted in a net operating loss of $811-million, the StatsCan data shows. 
On Feb. 10, the feds announced nearly $15-billion in new transport funding over the next eight years. The money is to be doled out in two parts: a $5.9-billion dollar fund, starting this year, for 'shovel-ready' projects, and a new $3-billion transfer per year starting in 2026. The shovel-ready projects will be chosen on a project-by-project basis.
Electrically-powered cargo airships meet the criteria for inclusion in Transport Canada's 2030 strategic plan. The government should include them as part of their vision for the future of transportation in Canada.
Opinion|Ahsan Habib
The benefits of working from cannot be realized until and unless we plan for transition to a blended commute and telecommute post-pandemic reality. Governments need to develop strategies in mobility infrastructure, land use transformation, and digital infrastructure. 
The federal government did not keep its promise to provide sector support for our aviation sector and the result is that we now are in desperate need for a recovery plan.
Projects aimed at providing infrastructure for a post-COVID world don't necessarily need to be expensive and time consuming. Just look at how easy it is to build a bike lane.
For a true recovery to happen, Canadian universities must meet the challenges of a dwindling airline workforce head on.
The pandemic shows what air quality in Canadian cities would look like if the country switched to low-carbon transportation modes. These findings could be an important cornerstone for implementing the Government of Canada’s strategic plan for the future of transportation in Canada, Transportation 2030.
Canadians deserve a nationwide transportation system that meets both their needs and the planet’s. A green recovery offers the chance of a lifetime for the government to lay the foundations for green, safe, and affordable transportation systems and infrastructure

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