Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Ted Hewitt, president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), announced funding for up to 10 Knowledge Synthesis Grants on mobility and public transit. The projects will focus on consolidating and reviewing existing research findings, knowledge and data to better understand transit issues at the community level, leading to better, more strategic infrastructure investments.
Researchers will examine topics such as the social and economic implications of unequal access to public transit, including in rural communities, the environmental and land use considerations around integrated transit planning, and they will identify the challenges for transit services to maintain public health and safety in a post-COVID-19 world. Summary reports of the research will be made available to the public to assist in developing future research agendas and support evidence-based decision-making.
“Public transit allows Canadians to get where they need to go quickly, cheaply and efficiently. Now with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding the changing transit needs of Canadian commuters is more important than ever,” said McKenna. “This project with the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council will give municipal leaders across Canada new information and tools so they can make smart decisions about public transportation infrastructure that will meet the needs of their communities today and well into the future.”
SSHRC has opened a call for proposals to the Canadian research community. Applications are due by December 17, 2020, and evidence briefs summarizing the findings and policy implications will be made available in Fall 2021.
Infrastructure Canada is providing $300,000 to SSHRC for up to 10 research grants that are each $30,000. SSHRC will commit up to $25,000 for the organization of a Knowledge Mobilization Forum in Fall 2021.
“The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council is very pleased to partner with Infrastructure Canada on this special initiative. The knowledge synthesis projects will leverage Canada’s capital in social sciences and humanities research to address changing transit needs and services,” said Hewitt. “The resulting information in areas such as the impacts of COVID-19 and pressing transit, land use, urban planning, and public health and safety questions will help transit users, planning authorities and communities throughout Canada.”
Through the $180-billion Investing in Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada is renewing: public-transit infrastructure; green infrastructure, such as water systems and renewable energy systems; social infrastructure, such as community, cultural or recreation centres; trade and transportation infrastructure; and public infrastructure in rural and northern communities.
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Featured image: The Terry Fox Bus Terminal in Ottawa.