Small Towns, Big Steps in Active Transport

Small Towns Big Steps in AT

Active transportation happens when people use their own power to get from one place to another, and can include walking, biking, skateboarding, using a non-mechanized wheelchair, or snowshoeing.

The benefits of active transportation are multiple; we see increases in physical activity, social connections, and mental well-being, all of which help to prevent chronic disease.

While research on community design that promotes active transportation has largely been done in urban areas, there is a need for knowledge specific to the context and conditions of smaller communities.

The Small Towns, Big Steps in Active Transport project fills a gap by developing active transportation resources to help smaller communities across British Columbia.

Small towns typically have good foundations for healthy communities, such as low traffic levels, strong community connections, and close relationships between local leaders and citizens.

BCAHL has researched communities to uncover and understand factors that both help and hinder active transportation.

We highlight small BC communities with populations between 1,000 and 30,000 that are demonstrating greater progress in active transportation. The project plan involves surveying small towns and conducting field research to help us understand barriers and progress in active transportation, that will be used to develop visual case studies.

A community research and evidence review will be distilled into a document highlighting factors that enable and enhance active transportation in small towns.

BCAHL is sharing these lessons and case studies through a series of workshops and webinars to help build active transportation capacity in BC’s small towns and to inspire other leaders to act.

Small Towns, Big Steps in Active Transport Resources

  • Website: The official Small Towns, Big Steps in Active Transport website showcases the report and case studies, as well as all of the resources, videos and photos.
  • Literature Review: This scan of the literature is meant to provide a broad overview of active transportation interventions and advice relevant to small municipalities in British Columbia.
    View the Literature Review here.
  • Municipal Survey Summary Report: The survey is intended to give small communities an opportunity to identify and provide insights into the specific active transportation barriers and success factors at play in smaller municipalities. This document summarizes the results from that survey.
    View the Municipal Survey Summary Report here.
  • Webinar Recording: Watch BCAHL’s webinar where we highlight major project findings, including: BC’s small town active transport champions; factors that help or hinder active transportation; and qualitative research that asks the question: ‘how do we build up active transport infrastructure and capacity?’
    Watch the Webinar Recording here.

Small Towns, Big Steps in Active Transport: Report

The Small Towns, Big Steps in Active Transport project was led by BCAHL. We examined literature, collected relevant resources, surveyed small towns, interviewed local leaders and visited communities to experience active transportation in the context of a smaller place.

In this report, we summarized the data from all these sources. Six small town leaders in active transportation from across BC are featured including: Burns Lake, Duncan, Gibsons, Nelson, Powell River and Rossland. We hope this report will help small towns improve active transportation in their community.

Download Small Towns, Big Steps in Active Transport report