Planning for Integrated Urban Mobility

Updated on June 21, 2017*

CUTA’s Research and Technical Services department’s latest review on transit master plans brings to light our forward-looking vision for Integrated Urban Mobility. Over 70 municipal master plans were surveyed to identify the most common objectives across Canada. All master plans were obtained from publicly accessible sources and represent the strategic goals of municipalities, transit systems, and regional communities. The purpose of this internal review was to help inform CUTA’s research direction. From the numerous objectives outlined in the plans we’ve identified the 4 most common strategic objectives:

Accessible Transportation

Barriers to mobility limit how we move through urban environments. These barriers include unaffordable mobility options, lack of transit connectivity, or inadequate accommodation for mobility needs. Municipalities have collectively voiced that barriers to mobility should be removed, where possible, to allow people of all mobility needs to move freely in cities.

Plans outlined to support accessible transportation include:

  • Make transit more affordable or provide more affordable options
  • Expand transit networks to connect more communities
  • Expand service hours to provide more travel options
  • Implement more services for persons with mobility needs
  • Ensure the safety of passengers and pedestrians as they travel
  • Provide easy access to transportation by using seamless design
  • Provide more alternative mobility options to those who rely on single occupancy vehicle


    Municipalities and transit systems are challenging themselves to switch to more sustainable practices so that city systems can be organized to be self-sustaining without the need to rely on urban expansion. To be sustainable is to find the middle ground where the needs of people in the city are met and leaving the smallest ecological footprint possible. Public transit and active transportation are key players in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by providing alternatives to motorized transportation.

    Plans outlined to support greener cities include:

    • Connect public transit with active transportation options to increase the viability and accessibility of both these modes
    • Switch to fuel efficient buses to decrease green house gas emissions
    • Invest in pedestrian infrastructure to encourage active transportation; such as bike lanes, safer and more trails, and public green spaces
    • Maximize the output of existing infrastructure and operations before expanding
    • Build infrastructure that is resilient to climate change, fluctuating economic conditions, and future technological advances

    Economic Development

    Municipalities and transit systems recognize that the movement of people is a major contributor to a city’s economy. To move people is to move jobs, goods, services, information, skills, culture, and knowledge, all of which keep the city pulsing. The greater the number of people who can move at a faster rate, means that more people can connect to the city and contribute to its development.

    Plans outlined to support economic development include:

    • Create density, especially around mobility hubs, to provide more services to more people
    • Support local businesses by connecting more customers and potential employees
    • Improve urban transportation connectivity and efficiency
    • Attract new investments and tourism

    Active Transportation

    Active transportation is any form of human-powered movement. Walking is the most used form of active transportation. Other examples of active transportation include cycling, rollerblading and skateboarding. For users, active transportation is an easy form of physical exercise and an affordable option for short distance trips. Greenhouse gas emissions are not created when individuals choose to use active transportation over vehicle transportation.

    Plans outlined to support active transportation:

    • Invest in active transportation infrastructure (i.e. Bike lanes, complete streets, park trails, shared streets, safer and more pedestrian sidewalks)
    • Support active transportation communities, such as hosting cycling events
    • Densify communities to shorten travel times between residents, goods and services, thus making short distance active transportation trips more attractive
    • Build safe connections for active transportation and public transportation


    *Please note the introduction of this blog post has been updated to better convey the scope of the review and its intended purposes. 


    You only list four common objectives in your blog above - where is the fifth?

    There were only 4 explored in the blog. The 5 was a mistake and has been updated. Thank you for your feedback!

    It is my thought that mentioning fuel efficient buses as a goal may be a bit simplistic and should be expanded to something like: Switch from diesel and diesel electric hybrid buses to more advanced bus technologies that offer superior environmental, economic and social service solutions. This may consist of a mixture of catenary electric, battery and RNG/CNG powered buses that are specific to each transit agency.

    Thanks for your comment Iain! this blog post is only an overview of what we found in the Transit Master plans, which was detailed for some municipalities and not as detailed for others. As we were focusing on trends across Canada, we were really looking at what each municipality was providing.

    Hi there, Thanks for this! I'm curious, are these findings part of a larger study? Where can we find it? Thanks in advance.

    These findings were part of an internal study CUTA conducted to better be able to focus our research energy on topics that are relevant across Canada. We are looking to do further research that will be made public in the future - stay tuned!

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