Cycling Visionaries Awards – Project Details


Complete Streets for Canada

Supporting Canadian municipalities to adopt Complete Streets policies. Complete Streets policies ensure safe and comfortable access to streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit users of all ages and abilities is not an afterthought, but an integral part of the planning process for the construction, retrofitting, and maintenance of all roadways.


In 2012, the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) launched the Complete Streets for Canada Policy and Design Hub as the go-to website for Canadian municipalities looking for Complete Streets information specific to the Canadian context.


Complete Streets for Canada provides policy expertise, design resources, and shares knowledge about Complete Streets. The purpose is to develop awareness and expertise for a diverse audience of community organizers, planners, engineers, municipal staff, and health professionals and set the stage for policy adoption across Canada. This coordination has centralized best practice Canadian Complete Streets content and helped empower communities to design their entire road network for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users of all ages and abilities.

Current Status

Complete Streets for Canada was developed by Ryan Anders Whitney who is the Complete Streets Researcher and CLASP Facilitator at TCAT. The project start-up was funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, but since the end of the grant in 2012, there has been no dedicated funding for the work.

In 2012, Ryan wrote the Complete Streets Gap Analysis: Opportunities and Barriers in Ontario, the first research of its type in Canada, to gather baseline data about the current state of Complete Streets in the Canadian province of Ontario by measuring supportive policy language in 17 municipalities. The Gap Analysis demonstrated that there is a strong and growing interest in Complete Streets in Ontario (80 percent of the 17 municipalities are currently interested in adopting a policy) and identified key issues and barriers to help Canadian communities move forward with Complete Streets implementation.

Ryan has also been assisting municipalities with the adoption of Complete Streets. For example, he gave over 10 talks in 2012 on policy adoption including a presentation at the 2012 Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) conference on ‘Active Transportation’ to an audience of over 300.

Ongoing Work

To improve Complete Streets for Canada’s reach, Ryan created a video that will be presented at Velo-City this year to explore the planning history around cycling infrastructure in Canada’s two largest cities – Toronto and Montreal. This video will be posted on the Complete Streets for Canada website and will be used as an engagement tool to help municipalities learn about the planning process involved in creating cycling infrastructure.

Ryan also continues to engage with Canadian municipalities to support policy adoption. Two recent examples in early 2013 include: (1) Ryan wrote a Gap Analysis for the City of Barrie, Ontario to help them strengthen policy to support active transportation, and (2) was the keynote speaker at the launch of the Complete Streets Campaign by Ecology Ottawa to support Ottawa in the adoption of Complete Streets.

Ryan is also part of TCAT’s fundraising team for Complete Streets for Canada by securing sponsorships and writing grants.

Cycling Visionary Award

With the Cycling Visionary Award, Ryan will use the opportunity to learn from the experience of other international experts about how to best unify a policy movement that changes the status quo away from building roads primarily for cars and supports the transformation of communities to embrace cycling across Canada. Ryan has a particular interest in learning from international experts about new and effective engagement methods and innovative ways of presenting information to better integrate these strategies in to his daily work at TCAT.

Ryan has also been accepted to give a ‘lightening talk’ at the 2013 Velo-City conference entitled ‘What’s cycling got to do with it? Differences in the Complete Streets planning process in Canada’s two most populous cities: Toronto and Montreal”. TCAT will launch the release of their new video during the presentation.

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