Area’s First-Ever Active Transportation and Health Indicators Report Launched Today

Written by admin, October 2, 2014

October 2, 2014 – A significant public health milestone took place today with the release of the first-ever Active Transportation and Health Indicators Report for Peterborough City and County.

Screen Shot 10-02-14 at 12.05 PMA joint project of the City of Peterborough, GreenUP, and Peterborough Public Health, this 158-page report highlights the factors influencing rates of active transportation in our community and also illustrates the impact walking and cycling have on human and environmental health.

“This is a stunning piece of work that gives us the tools and benchmarks we need to influence the social and physical landscapes for safer, healthier, and more sustainable travel,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health.  “Developing active transportation is proven to improve public health, which not only reduces healthcare costs in the long run but will make Peterborough City and County a highly desirable place to live.”

The report is targeted for three key audiences, and features information in a highly visual format for maximum impact:

  • For elected officials and community decision-makers, the development of robust pedestrian, cyclist, and transit indicators will provide the information necessary to support informed and grounded decision-making processes.
  • For planners, advocates, health professionals and other stakeholders working within the field, this report will provide metrics to evaluate the efficacy of projects and strategies, and to better communicate the relationship between health, safety, and levels of use.
  • For members of our community, this report helps to better illustrate the complexity of local travel decisions, and to demonstrate the impact these decisions have on individual health and the health of the community.

“The development of this report is a significant achievement for our community,” said Brianna Salmon, Manager of Transportation & Urban Design Programmes at GreenUP. “Not only does it help to illustrate the connection between our transportation decisions and the health of our natural environment, but it also offers an example of how cross-sectoral partnerships can move beyond external advocacy and toward integrated collaboration in an effort to realize shared goals related to walking, cycling, and transit use.”

Susan Sauve, the City’s TDM Planner observed that, “the findings of the report confirm many of the relationships that we had anticipated.  We expected to see higher levels of walking and cycling with higher densities of residential and commercial use, but some of the patterns are much stronger than we realized.  For example, 32% of the people that live in or close to the downtown walk to work, while only 2-6% of people living in the west and north end do.”

The report offers a trove of valuable information and gives broader context to Peterborough City and County’s performance in terms of its active transportation infrastructure. For example, census information shows that for people living in the City of Peterborough, there is a strong connection between annual employment income and how a person travels to and from work. Local statistics show that persons earning less than the city-wide median income are three times more likely to walk, two times more likely to cycle, and ten times more likely to ride transit on the trip to work than people earning more than the median.

Other important findings of the report include:

  • Males aged 15-25 years are twice as likely to bike than any other demographic;
  • 17% of women aged 15-25 years walk to work – the highest percentage of all ages and genders;
  • Trips less than 2 km are often considered walkable, while trips less than 5 km are considered to be bikeable. In the City of Peterborough, 73% of all trips are less than 5 km, and 28% of all trips made are less than 2 km, while in the County of Peterborough, 32% of trips are less than 5 km;
  • 3.5 out of every 10 cyclists are riding on the sidewalk instead of the road. However, when a bike lane is introduced, the percentage of cyclists riding on the sidewalk decreases by 42%;
  • The portion of people who identify as being highly active in Peterborough City and County is significantly greater than in Ontario;
  • In Peterborough, residents who identify as moderately or highly active have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity than persons who are inactive;
  • Males between the ages of 0 and 19 are significantly more likely to visit the emergency room as a result of a cycling injury than other demographics

To download a copy of the report, please visit www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and under “About Us” click on “Plans & Reports”.

A community presentation summarizing the report findings will take place at the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Cycling Summit this Saturday, October 4 at 1:30 p.m. at PCVS.  For further Information about the Summit, a free community event, visit www.p-bac.org.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Supervisor
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391