Canada’s population of less than 34 million is dispersed across nearly 10 million square kilometres - the world’s second largest country by area. The country is held together by an integrated and diverse network of rail, road, marine and air transportation that links isolated communities in the polar North to urban centres along the 49th parallel to outposts on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. The Canadian transportation network is so central to the survival of Canadian communities, that the “last spike” of the transcontinental railway came to symbolize the founding of the nation.
When we think about our ecological footprint, we often think about the green house gases we emit driving a car. According to Environment Canada, emissions from transportation make up 27% of Canada’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with cars and trucks accounting for 12% of the total.
But when entrepreneurs think about transportation, they think about the incredible opportunities that exist in innovating new technologies that will reduce GHG emissions – for example, electric cars, city buses running on hydrogen fuel cells, high-speed passenger trains, urban public bike sharing programs, or hybrid ships, just to name a few. They also think about how to move people and goods differently, how to allocate road space for multiple users, how to plan cities to maximize walking, biking and transit use or how to design harbours to be models of sustainability.
Transportation touches each aspect of the Canadian economy and is the lifeline to Canadian communities. Carbon Talks profiles the innovators who are promoting greener transportation alternatives and assists municipalities and regions in identifying transportation plans that reduce greenhouse gas emission and stimulate economic growth.