Highlights from Our Favorite Sessions at the 2024 Active Transportation Summit

Last month, movmi had the pleasure of co-hosting the Active Transportation Summit in New Westminster. This dynamic event brought together industry leaders, urban planners, and transportation enthusiasts to discuss the future of mobility. As active participants, we attended numerous sessions and are excited to share some key takeaways with our followers. In this blog post, we take a look at a few of the sessions focused on shared micromobility and multimodal transportation, topics that are at the heart of our mission to transform urban mobility.

Before we discuss some of the key takeaways from a few of our favourite sessions, take a moment to watch some attendee highlights, capturing their thoughts and feedback during the Active Transportation Summit…

Highlights from Our Favorite Sessions at the 2024 Active Transportation Summit

Keynote Speech: Honourable Rob Flemming B.C Minister of Transportation

Minister Flemming emphasized the government’s robust partnership with local authorities to support cycling and active transportation, praising the ministry’s dedicated staff. He highlighted the province’s new policy to include active transportation in all infrastructure projects and introduced standalone funds for this purpose.

He proudly announced the increase in funding from $6 million in 2020 to $24 million, supporting 80 projects through federal and local collaboration. Notable new projects include the Boyd Street Active Transportation Improvement and the Cycle 16 Multi-Use Pathway, aimed at enhancing community connectivity and safety.

Flemming discussed legislative changes with Bill 23, improving road-sharing laws and introducing new e-bike classifications. He also promoted the “Give Space” campaign for driver education.

The e-scooter pilot program, expanding province-wide, allows communities to shape their local initiatives. He announced the Langley SkyTrain extension, featuring a 16 km multi-use pathway, and introduced a $135 million capital program for active transportation.

Flemming outlined project selection criteria, focusing on impact, community involvement, and alignment with clean BC goals. He encouraged ongoing community input and advocacy, acknowledging debates like helmet laws. In closing, he expressed optimism for the future of active transportation in B.C., urging continued collaboration and innovation for transformative projects.

If you’d like to watch the full keynote speech, you can do so by downloading our Active Transportation Summit 2024 Recap here.

Uncover key insights from the 2024 Active Transportation Summit. Our exclusive recap includes:

  • Full keynote speeches from the BC Minister of Transportation and Mayor of New Westminster
  • Session presentations covering crucial topics
  • Video clips capturing key moments and discussions. 

Electric Kick Scooter Pilot Lessons Learnt

In the session titled “Electric Kick Scooter Pilot Lessons Learnt,” Angela Jarvis, eMobility Manager from the City of Coquitlam, shared insights into their rapid deployment of a shared e-scooter and e-bike program. Angela emphasized the importance of infrastructure readiness, which played a crucial role in their ability to launch the program within two months of closing the RFP process. She explained, “A huge component of infrastructure readiness was lending confidence to the industry… we had parking stations available at the start of launch.”

Coquitlam implemented a hybrid parking model to manage congestion in high-use areas while offering flexibility elsewhere. This approach allowed for efficient management of parking in busy zones and provided convenience in residential areas. Angela noted, “We created a hybrid parking model… it gave us flexibility outside of that across our service area.”

The success of the program was evident in the data collected from user trips. By June, the program had recorded 70,000 trips, with a significant preference for e-scooters over e-bikes. This data not only highlighted the popularity of the service but also informed future expansions. “We’ve achieved 70,000 trips… 94% choosing e-scooters,” Angela shared.

Public sentiment and feedback were critical in shaping the program. Initially, there was overwhelming support, although parking violations were a common concern. These issues were addressed through community outreach and education rather than enforcement. Angela remarked, “We tracked public sentiment analysis and saw a huge surge of support in the very beginning… parking violations are certainly mentioned quite often.”

Education was a key strategy in managing user behavior, especially for those new to micromobility. Cameron Noonan, Transportation Planner from the City of Kelowna, emphasized this point, explaining that many users were unfamiliar with the rules of the road. “It’s definitely leading with education… we are expanding our audience for active transportation,” he said.

Safety was another focus area. Kelowna partnered with Interior Health to monitor emergency room visits related to e-scooters. Despite initial concerns, the data showed that e-scooters were not uniquely dangerous compared to other transportation modes. “From April 2021 to August 2023, there were 161 confirmed visits related to both shared and privately owned e-scooters… compared to 963 visits for bicycles,” Cameron reported.

Community feedback played a significant role in refining the program. Service requests for issues like improper parking decreased by 99%, indicating improved user compliance and integration of the program into daily transportation options. Angela noted, “The rate of service requests for improperly parked vehicles has decreased 99% since the start of the pilot.”

Collecting and analyzing data from various sources was essential in evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the program. Cameron explained, “We are collecting data from local governments, health authorities, police, and shared service providers to evaluate the safety and determine regulatory structures.”

Overall, the session highlighted the importance of infrastructure readiness, user education, community outreach, and continuous data monitoring in ensuring the successful implementation and operation of shared micromobility programs. The experiences of Coquitlam and Kelowna provide valuable lessons for other cities looking to enhance their transportation options through micromobility initiatives.

3 Different Ways of Increasing Multimodal Connections between Active Travel and Public Transport

In the session titled “3 Different Ways of Increasing Multimodal Connections between Active Travel and Public Transport,” Sandra, founder of movmi, passionately discussed the critical need for integrating active transportation, shared mobility, and public transport. Sandra shared her personal experiences, emphasizing that providing safe, reliable, and affordable transportation options is essential for encouraging people to shift away from car ownership. “I firmly believe the only way we get people out of cars… is if we give people choices that are safe, reliable, and they don’t have to spend a lot of money,” she said.

Sandra’s journey from Switzerland to the Sunshine Coast illustrated the stark differences in transportation infrastructure. She recounted how cycling to the train station in her small Swiss town was an effortless multimodal connection, whereas cycling on the highway shoulder in the Sunshine Coast was a daunting experience. “When people don’t feel safe, they don’t do it,” she noted, underlining the importance of safety in transportation planning.

Ryan Jenkins from Canderel highlighted innovative infrastructure solutions to support multimodal transportation. He presented a mixed-use development project in Burnaby featuring a dedicated transportation hub with facilities for car share, bike share, and ride-share services. “Our proposed multimodal transportation hub includes dedicated and fully electrified car share and bike share facilities,” Ryan explained. This hub aims to encourage residents and visitors to embrace alternative modes of transportation, reducing reliance on personal vehicles.

Ryan also addressed the social and economic barriers to implementing such projects. Condo buyers and rental operators often demand parking, viewing it as essential for property value and marketability. Ryan suggested that decoupling parking from condo sales could shift buyer preferences towards shared mobility options. “If buyers reconsider paying $150,000 for a parking stall, they might think… maybe this multimodal thing, these car shares, these bike shares, transit, is the better way to go,” he said.

Julia Balsilie from TransLink introduced Ride Link, a Mobility as a Service (MaaS) app designed to integrate transit, car share, and bike share into a single platform. This app aims to simplify the user experience by providing integrated planning, booking, and payment for multimodal trips. “Ride Link aims to make planning, booking, and paying for trips easy and convenient… no more having to fumble across multiple apps,” Julia explained. The app is currently in beta testing, with user feedback helping to refine its features.

Natalie Corbo from TransLink emphasized the importance of regional collaboration and policy support in expanding shared micromobility options. She discussed the challenges of coordinating different micromobility services across jurisdictions and the need for a seamless user experience. “What can we do to encourage interoperability across borders and make connections to transit easier?” Natalie asked, highlighting the goal of creating a cohesive regional transportation network.

The session also included interactive audience engagement, where participants shared their thoughts on transportation challenges and potential solutions. This exercise underscored the importance of community input in shaping effective transportation policies and infrastructure.

In conclusion, the session highlighted that a comprehensive approach to integrating active transportation, shared mobility, and public transport is essential for creating a connected and sustainable transportation ecosystem. By focusing on safety, reliability, innovative infrastructure, technological solutions, and regional collaboration, cities can effectively encourage residents to choose multimodal transportation options over personal car use.

Keynote Speech: Patrick Johnstone Mayor of New Westminster

Mayor Johnstone emphasized that New Westminster, with its dense urban fabric and robust transit infrastructure, is poised to lead in active transportation. The city has a high mode share for walking, biking, and transit, and has reduced car usage despite population growth. However, challenges remain, including heavy through traffic and aging infrastructure.

He highlighted key initiatives like the Master Transportation Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Active Transportation Network Plan, which aim to make the city more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly. Despite progress, Johnstone called for increased provincial investment in active transportation, suggesting reallocating funds from highway projects to achieve transformative improvements.

In closing, he expressed optimism about the future of active transportation in New Westminster and urged for continued collaboration and advocacy to create inclusive and safe transportation options for all residents.

If you’d like to watch the full keynote speech, download our Active Transportation Summit 2024 Recap here.

Bikeconomics – Why Excellent Cycling Infrastructure is Good for Business

In the session titled “Bikeconomics – Why Excellent Cycling Infrastructure is Good for Business,” panelists Tom Tischik from Visit Penticton, Annie Wise from Sunshine Coast Tourism, and Debbie Reed from Advanced Cycling for Everyone in Burnaby discussed how investing in cycling infrastructure benefits both businesses and communities.

The session began with an introduction from the moderator, a land economist and planner, who emphasized the growing integration of active transportation strategies into urban planning and economic development. He pointed out that local businesses often express concerns about the impact of bike lanes on safety and sales. However, he stressed the importance of relying on evidence rather than opinions. “People will gripe about these things constantly because they don’t have the evidence to counter their own opinions,” he stated.

Tom Tischik, Executive Director of Visit Penticton, highlighted the economic advantages of cycling infrastructure through the city’s “Fuel-Free Almost” program. This initiative promotes sustainable transportation options to attract tourists. “We created the Fuel-Free Almost program where we’re putting considerable investment in sustainable tourism,” Tom explained. This approach not only supports environmental goals but also serves as a unique marketing hook to draw visitors to Penticton.

Debbie Reed from Advanced Cycling for Everyone in Burnaby underscored the importance of involving local businesses in the planning process. She noted that secure bicycle lockups and improved cycling infrastructure can encourage more people to shop locally. “Businesses need to show up and be part of the discussion rather than complaining afterwards,” Debbie remarked. Her project, Cycle Space, aims to promote cycling for shopping trips in Burnaby Heights, advocating for better infrastructure to support this shift.

Annie Wise, Executive Director of Sunshine Coast Tourism, discussed the need for businesses to adapt to changing transportation trends. She explained how Sunshine Coast Tourism collaborates with local governments and communities to promote cycling tourism and reduce car dependency. “We need to think outside the box in terms of vehicle travel being the primary mode of travel,” Annie said. She highlighted the challenge of connecting communities along the Sunshine Coast, where cycling offers a viable alternative to car travel.

The moderator presented findings from various studies, including a 2019 pilot bike lane study in Toronto, demonstrating the positive economic impact of cycling infrastructure. “Cycling mode share increased substantially… spending increased on both the control street and the street with the bike lane,” he explained. These findings support the idea that cycling infrastructure can boost local economies by increasing visit frequency and spending.

Tom Tischik further illustrated this point with examples from Penticton. He described how new cycling infrastructure, such as the Lake-to-Lake bike lane, has become a key part of their destination marketing. “The new bike lane from Lake to Lake is one of my new iconics… it’s another sales tool that I can put out there to my visitors,” Tom noted. This infrastructure not only attracts tourists but also supports local businesses.

The panelists also discussed the challenges of changing business mindsets and the importance of proactive engagement. Annie Wise highlighted the role of educational resources in helping businesses understand the needs of cyclists. “We created resources to help hotels and businesses be more welcoming to cyclists… things like secure bike storage and water bottle refill stations,” she shared. These small but significant changes can make a big difference in attracting and accommodating cycling tourists.

Debbie Reed discussed the potential for partnerships between businesses and cycling advocates to improve local infrastructure. She suggested that Business Improvement Associations (BIAs) could collaborate with cycling groups to advocate for better facilities, such as more cyclist activation buttons at crossings. “The BIA could be an ally with us in asking for more cyclist activation buttons at crossings… it will make it a much more shoppable area,” Debbie suggested.

Annie Wise underscored the broader benefits of cycling infrastructure for the community and tourism. She noted that improving cycling and active transportation options can enhance the overall visitor experience and support sustainable growth. “More people than ever are traveling in single-occupancy vehicles… we need to find creative ways to get people out of their vehicles,” she stated. By focusing on active transportation, communities can reduce traffic congestion and promote a healthier, more sustainable way of life.

The session concluded with a call for better quality conversations and collaboration among stakeholders to promote the benefits of cycling infrastructure. By focusing on evidence-based strategies, community engagement, and innovative solutions, cities can create vibrant, economically thriving, and sustainable environments that benefit both businesses and residents.

Don’t forget to download movmi’s ‘Active Transportation Summit 2024 Recap’ to view all session presentations, including videos of the Keynote Speeches from BC’s Minister of Transportation and the Mayor of New Westminster. Access it here.

Struggling with profitability of your shared mobility service? Get in touch