Bicycle Nova Scotia has recently launched an initiative to better understand how many people are walking and cycling in Nova Scotia. This initiative aims to create a data collection guide that can be used by partners across the province to collect more detailed user data along different types of active travel infrastructure. 


“There is a lot happening in Nova Scotia to build a culture of walking and cycling, however there is nothing being done to measure the success on a province-wide scale,” says Steve Bedard, Director of Operations for Bicycle Nova Scotia. “Bicycle Nova Scotia is looking for ways to improve access to data that can help us make informed decisions and monitor progress on getting more Nova Scotians moving.”


The province of Nova Scotia is increasing investments in active travel infrastructure as a healthy, sustainable, and cost-effective way to travel. Since 2013, Bicycle Nova Scotia has worked with the province on building the Blue Route, a province-wide network of safe cycling infrastructure. More recently, the province has legislated that 65% of communities must have core active transportation networks by 2030. However, there is nothing being done to measure the success of these projects on a province-wide scale. While there are counts being done by trail associations and in municipalities across Nova Scotia, there isn’t a total being done to show these changes at the provincial level. Establishing a baseline of active travel users in Nova Scotia will help to make informed decisions on active travel infrastructure, and to monitor our progress on getting more Nova Scotians moving.


Our approach seeks to build on the experiences of our partners in order to develop an actionable strategy for coordinated data collection across the province. A thorough best practices review will also be conducted with industry experts to inform the development of the coordinated strategy. We have also already met with local trail associations and partner-organizations to assess the current use, demand and nature of trail counts already underway in Nova Scotia. 


This initiative is taking place between March and June 2022 and builds on work Bicycle Nova Scotia has done in the past, which looked exclusively at count equipment for trails. Funding for this initiative has been provided by the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage and Stuckless Consulting Inc. has been retained to provide consulting services.


We’re looking forward to sharing the results of our finding and encourage anyone interested in trail counting to visit for more information in regards to this issue.