Photo: Effective transportation is the key to sustainable cities

Good transportation infrastructure is important to a sustainable future. (Credit: Ted McGrath via Flickr)

Transportation networks are the circulatory systems of our cities. Just as birds, whales, humans and aardvarks need blood to reach the various parts of their bodies to be healthy, the efficient movement of people and goods through a city is critical for a strong economy and a good quality of life.

Unlike the circulatory system, however, several options exist for moving people around.

Bikes, buses, trains and automobiles provide commuters with a range of alternatives for getting to work or school. By designing cities that encourage the use of public transportation, we can ensure that people and the environment stay healthy.

A single city bus can take 40 vehicles off the road and keep 168 tonnes of pollutants out of the air each year. A family with the option to own one car instead of two can reduce its annual emissions by 10 per cent. And 43 per cent of people who live within 10 minutes of safe walking or cycling routes achieve their daily exercise targets, compared with 27 per cent of people in areas that aren't as pedestrian-friendly. Because viable public transit options also reduce the need to pave over green spaces to build new roads, communities that invest in mobility are working for the betterment of their residents' bodies and minds.

Voters in Metro Vancouver are participating in a mail-in plebiscite about funding dramatic transit and transportation improvements throughout the region. This vote represents an unprecedented opportunity for citizens to make a lasting difference to the future of their communities and the health of their families, friends and neighbours. As Canadians continue to move into cities in incredible numbers, investments in good transportation are paramount to building a more sustainable future for people and the environment.