APTF 2015 Themes

The forum will look at the movement of people in Atlantic Canada under four specific themes:

1. Economic and Policy Aspects of Transportation: What are the roles of governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses and citizens in re-envisioning our future transportation system? How can various levels of government collaborate to better integrate transportation options at the local, sub-regional and regional levels? What role do market forces play in determining transportation options in the region? Are there innovative ways to incorporate transportation into discussions of economic policy? What social innovations are needed to implement a transportation system better suited to the needs of our 21st Century society? How can we integrate technology, financing, social marketing and other tools to change the way we travel? Who should pay for improvements in transportation? And what mitigating measures could we adopt to minimize the disruptions of moving from our current system to a better one? This theme will include topics such as pricing mechanisms to reduce traffic congestion in urban areas, new infrastructure vs. more intensive use of existing infra-struc¬ture, public-private partnerships in transportation, efficiencies related to improved policy coordi¬na¬tion, and so on.

2. Atlantic Canada in the Global Economy: How well is Atlantic Canada connected to the rest of the world? How easy (or difficult) is it for Atlantic Canadians to commute to work outside the region, or for long-haul tourists to tour the region? Why is it more expensive to fly within Atlantic Canada than it is to fly from Atlantic Canada to Central Canada – and even to Europe? Are the region's airlines, ferries, and bus systems providing efficient and affordable services? How well is the long-distance transportation network connected to local networks? Are changes needed to more effectively attract and retain those working in trans¬por¬tation industries such as trucking, marine transportation, aviation, and bussing in the Atlantic provinces? And how can all levels of government, as well as transportation carriers, provide services that are best suited to the region? This theme will include such topics as air and marine access to and within the region, multi-modal collaboration, pricing strategies to increase traffic to and from the region, tourism packaging, inter-provincial coordination, etc.

3. Innovating Transportation: With an increasing amount of unemployment in rural areas and the centralization of public services, rural and exurban residents must increasingly travel to urban centres for jobs, health care, education, shopping and other services. With urban sprawl, people are driving longer distances, often alone in their cars, and emitting more greenhouse gases. With increased numbers of vehicles on the road and therefore more gridlock, drivers and passengers spend more time sitting and less time being productive. Longer commuting times translate into less time for exercise, leading to obesity and health problems. What can be done to reduce time spent in cars, to reduce non-productive time, to reduce social inequities and to get people to adopt healthier lifestyles? This theme will include such topics as “intelligent transportation systems”, mobile apps, coordinated regional approaches, architecture and urban design, staggered commuting times, and creative approaches that reduce the need for travel, such as tele-work, satellite offices and video¬con-ferencing.

4. Social and Equity Aspects of Transportation: Shift workers, many of whom are minimum-wage earners, have limited access to public transit at night and during weekends, and therefore may be forced to turn down work, this during a period of looming labour shortages. Persons with mobility challenges may be stuck at home for extended periods during the winter months. For these and many other individuals, a lack or infrequency of public transit creates physical vulnerabilities. Others have limited access to education and training due to non-existent or infrequent public transportation to and from university and college campuses, especially for those living outside of urban boundaries. How do existing transportation options contribute to social inequity in Atlantic Canada? How might a renewed focus on finding transportation solutions promote the increased social inclusion of youth, women, immigrants, the elderly, persons living with disabilities, and those in lower income brackets? Could better public transportation contribute to improving access to health and social services, training, and education; lowering unem¬ploy¬ment rates; and increasing population growth? Are there innovative ways to incorporate transportation into discussions of social policy? Which are the most walkable and bike-able municipalities in Atlantic Canada and what can other communities learn from them? This theme will include topics such as innovations in public transit, municipal policies on snow-clearing, car-sharing and bike-sharing, urban design and regional planning, etc.



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Tel: (709) 864-8000