The Nova Scotia government has announced public consultations for the Sustainable Development Goals Act (SDGA), giving us a chance to make Active Transportation a priority through regulated targeted goals for which we can help hold the government accountable. Legislated goals are how Nova Scotia has reduced its GHG emissions and improved waste management. A similar process is needed to ensure continued investment in active transportation and improved cycling infrastructure.  

Sustainable transportation supports Goal #11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Many towns in Nova Scotia are the perfect size to facilitate walking and cycling for everyday journeys, however safe infrastructure generally is not a major priority. We are asking for commitments to improve infrastructure, and get more people on bikes in Nova Scotia, improving our health, environment and economy. We are asking for: 


3000km of the Blue Route open by 2030 (an additional 2500km)

After a year of unprecedented growth in cycling around the world, it is time for the Province to commit to a date for completing the Blue Route. The Blue Route is a province-wide project to create a continuous network of bicycling infrastructure. The province has committed to completing the Blue Route, as part of the “Choose How You Move” strategy in 2013, and more recently in the provincial mandate letter for the Department of Transportation and Active Transit. For the past 6 years Bicycle Nova Scotia has been working with the province on implementation of the route, and much more work is needed to complete connections in the province. 

15% of visitors to Nova Scotia engage in cycling by 2030

In 2017 5% of visitors to Nova Scotia engaged in cycling, which had grown from 4% in 2015. This is more than the number of visitors who golf, and equal to those who come for sailing/boating. We are also seeing an increase in capacity for cycle tourism, such as a new ebike rental company which launched this summer on the Cabot Trail. Completing the Blue Route will be very important to achieve this goal. A Nova Scotia road trip is a popular tourist activity. By improving the opportunities for travel by bike, we can encourage people to travel more sustainably through our province while still enjoying our amazing coastline and beautiful beaches.

10% of people commuting by bicycle for trips of 10km or less by 2030. 

With the recent rebates on ebikes, trips of 10km become feasible by bicycle for more people. This may also require work with the federal government to gather better metrics for active transportation. Funding to improve infrastructure, particularly within municipalities, will be very important. 

10% of the provincial annual transportation capital budget to be allocated to active transportation. 

If we are hoping to increase the mode share to 10%, we should be spending 10% of the capital budget for transportation on AT. To date, DTIR has not calculated spending on active transportation, including shoulder paving and over/underpasses that enable active transportation. Infrastructure is needed to facilitate these long term changes that will help to create a more sustainable, prosperous and pleasant province. 

At least 40% of that (4% of total capital budget) available to municipalities to support the 24 municipalities with AT plans move forward with implementation. 

Connect 2 funding has previously been a key resource for municipalities to help build AT infrastructure. This program needs to be expanded to support larger implementation projects to make active transportation networks feasible in Nova Scotian towns. Connectivity of a network is incredibly important in order to grow active transportation, and the current limit of $100,000 contribution from the province for active transportation infrastructure is not enough to build a network. The recent funding between the province and federal government through the Investing in Canadian Infrastructure program saw a much greater number of projects successfully funded for active transportation infrastructure. These projects, which will all complete the AT network plans in these communities in the next 7 years, cost between $3-4 million and are not feasible with the current Connect 2 funding offered by the province. A fund that allows municipalities to fully implement AT plans will be important to creating networks that support AT. 

There is a great deal of opportunity for Active Transportation in our province as we recover from the social and economic impacts of COVID. Please take a moment to submit feedback to improve Active Transportation infrastructure across Nova Scotia.

Feedback is due by 11:59 P.M. on Monday July 26. 

Send your comments to [email protected]