Moving in the right direction

Moving in the right direction

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you | This is a guest post from Joint Regional Transportation Agency
(Member since 2023) | Published: September 6, 2023

This is a guest post from Joint Regional Transportation Agency
(Member since 2023)

Transportation is part of our day-to-day lives. It makes it possible for each of us to access healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. It allows us to move the goods we need and supports our economy. It fosters independence and can help address issues of isolation and social and economic exclusion.

On the heels of several years of significant growth in Halifax and surrounding communities, the Province formed the Joint Regional Transportation Agency (JRTA) in late 2021. The Agency is tasked with planning for all modes of transportation in order to meet the needs of the growing region and ensure the safe, efficient, and coordinated movement of people and goods.

To carry out this ambitious mandate, the JRTA is developing a Regional Transportation Plan. As the name suggests, the plan will look beyond the Halifax Regional Municipality to include communities — within a one-hour drive — that have also experienced rapid growth. This area will be the preliminary focus of the JRTA’s efforts, including, as it does, a sizable portion of Nova Scotia’s population and one of the most important economic hubs in Atlantic Canada.

The plan will be a big picture, long-term vision for an accessible, equitable, and sustainable transportation system. It will play a critical role in advancing broader initiatives to tackle climate change, support growth and economic development, and improve Nova Scotia’s health, well-being, and quality of life. This presents an exciting opportunity to think big by asking what a connected and sustainable transportation system that supports population growth could look like.

To answer this question, a new leading-edge travel demand model is being developed. A regional-scale travel demand model examines the interactions of population, employment, land use, and mobility options, and allows for the testing of different possible futures or scenarios for the region.

There’s no doubt that this will be challenging work, but the JRTA won’t be doing it alone. The first of its kind in Atlantic Canada, the Agency sits in a unique position to work across jurisdictions and levels of government to promote collaboration. This provides a long-range lens for the regional transportation system to help maximize the impact of investments and cost-shared funding opportunities.

What this looks like in practice is a cross-departmental provincial network: an ongoing working group with the fifteen municipalities included in the plan area, building relationships with Indigenous and African Nova Scotian communities, stakeholder outreach across organizations and industries, and introductory engagement with the public.

It also means working closely with six core partners: Nova Scotia Department of Public Works, Halifax Regional Municipality, Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency, Halifax Harbour Bridges, Halifax International Airport Authority, and Halifax Port Authority. Each Core Partner owns, operates, or funds transportation in the region and has a wealth of transportation planning knowledge and experience.

With a dedicated and knowledgeable team, the right partners at the table, and the momentum needed to be future-ready, the JRTA and the Regional Transportation Plan have the potential to be transformative for Nova Scotia.

To learn more about the JRTA, and for the latest on the plan’s development, visit: jrta.ca

< Back to Articles | Topics: Working for you

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