Building active transportation hubs for livable cities

This past year I’ve been following a lot of urban planners and active transportation professionals on social media – I love learning about efforts to create more livable cities.

15-Minute Cities

These are often called 15-minute cities. The goal is to create cities and communities where everything a person needs is within a 15 minute walk or bike ride. Paris is a great example of how quickly such a change can occur, but such transformation is not limited to European cities.

In Waterloo Region and other communities in southern Ontario, there is a concerted effort to increase density by limiting sprawl, which creates opportunities to expand public transit and build better active transportation connections.


Encouraging people to leave the car at home for short trips and walk or bike to destinations within their own neighbourhoods has many benefits:

  • improved physical and mental health
  • reduced traffic congestion
  • better air quality
  • increased foot/bike traffic for businesses, which means more business

But how do you let people know that many of their daily trips can be within a 15-minute walk or bike ride? You define active transportation hubs in areas with a high density of shops, community and government services, medical centres, etc., and you make sure that AAA (all ages and abilities) infrastructure exists in those areas.

Bike Hubs

I recently worked with a local community group to create maps for a proposed active transportation hub proposal. I mapped grocery stores, kids’ sports facilities, medical centres, community services, and more, within 2km and 5km radii from centre points defined by my client. After the proposal is made public I’ll write more about the mapping part of the project. 

Other communities are working on similar projects with mentors helping to get new riders on bikes, and showing people that they can walk or ride for many daily errands.

TCAT has a detailed report on how Scarborough built their community bike hubs. BramptonCaledon, and Burlington are also applying this model.

Contact Me

If you are developing community hubs, do you need maps to support your proposals for funding and feedback? Do you want maps to educate people about existing hubs?

I’d love to hear how your community is encouraging active transportation. Contact me for a free consultation to talk about mapping for your hub projects. 

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