Government of Canada announces support for research into mobility and public transit issues

News release

Research will help to inform planning for public transportation infrastructure

Ottawa, Ontario, June 7, 2021— Canadians everywhere are feeling the impact of COVID-19 on their families, their livelihoods, and their way of life. The Government of Canada recognizes that better data and information will lead to better decision-making as we navigate through and out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is why the Government launched the Knowledge Synthesis Grants in September 2020 to examine and synthesize existing knowledge on mobility and transit issues at the community level, leading to better, more strategic infrastructure investments. The establishment of robust national collection of public infrastructure data, knowledge and research information is key to making evidence-based decisions that maximize the benefits of every infrastructure dollar invested. We are one step closer to realizing the value of the research that will be optimized through these Grants.

Today, Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; and Ali Ehsassi, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Innovation and Industry), and Dr. Ted Hewitt, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council are pleased to announce the 23 recipients of the Knowledge Synthesis Grants on mobility and public transit, administered through the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). This announcement is another step forward for smart mobility, public transit funding and research that will deliver triple bottom line results: jobs and economic growth; a cleaner environment; and more inclusive communities.

The 23 projects funded will examine and synthesize existing research on mobility and public transit issues in urban, rural and remote areas across Canada and provide useful directions for future research. The projects reflect not only the geographic regions of the nation, but also Canada’s diversity, through the exploration of innovations to improve services for racialized groups, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2 peoples, people with disabilities, people living in poverty, immigrants and refugees, women, youth, and seniors. Research will also explore the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as early evidence suggests that commuting behaviour and settlement patterns have been altered in many communities.

Their work will help government and partners better understand transit and mobility issues, which in turn will help the Government of Canada better target its programs and investments as part of the Investing in Canada plan as well as Canada’s first permanent public transit fund announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Findings will be published openly to help all stakeholders invest in public transit infrastructure in ways that will help build strong communities across the country and deliver jobs, reduce emissions, and achieve a better quality of life for all Canadians. 


“Understanding the transit and active transportation needs of Canadians is key to getting the most out of our historic investments in public transit infrastructure. With better data and research, we can make sure that every dollar spent helps us create good jobs, inclusive communities, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Mobility is freedom, but only if it’s efficient, sustainable and works for all Canadians. The researchers that the Government of Canada are supporting through this initiative will be doing the work that will underpin evidenced-based investments and innovative decision-making. It’s how we will transform Canada’s public transport systems to be the most equitable, sustainable, and effective, and help Canadians connect after such distant times.”

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“These latest Knowledge Synthesis Grants illustrate the important role social sciences and humanities research plays in better understanding and effectively addressing complex societal issues, such as mobility and public transit in the Canadian context. SSHRC is pleased to collaborate with partners to advance knowledge and understanding in this area that will guide future research programs and policymaking in an area that affects all citizens.”

Dr. Ted Hewitt, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Quick facts

  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested more than $13 billion in 1,300 public transit projects for communities across Canada—the largest public transit investment in Canadian history.

  • Infrastructure Canada and SSHRC are collaborating to fund the Knowledge Synthesis Grants on mobility and public transit. 

  • Given the high level of interest by researchers, Infrastructure Canada and SSHRC have co-funded 23 KSG grants by providing $300,000 and $390,000 in funds, respectively. 

  • Through the Knowledge Synthesis Grants, 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 will identify the challenges for transit services to maintain public health and safety in a post-COVID-19 world. Evidence briefs of the research will be made available to the public to assist in developing future research agendas and support evidence-based decision-making.

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Michelle Johnston
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

Sylvie Dostaler
Manager, Public Affairs
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Media Relations
Infrastructure Canada
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