January 15, 2007

Winnipeg joins urban transportation program with WinSmart Showcase

Transport Canada is providing up to $3.5 million in funding for Winnipeg's WinSmart Showcase, an initiative created to demonstrate, evaluate and promote effective and innovative approaches to urban transportation that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from urban transportation in the city. The Manitoba government is contributing $847,500 toward the project.

Situated between the University of Manitoba and downtown Winnipeg-the area of the city where traffic is heaviest-the WinSmart Showcase promotes environmentally sustainable transportation practices in three strategic areas:

*Technology demonstration-The city will invest in a demonstration of two 60-foot articulated hybrid diesel-electric buses.

*Making transit, cycling and walking more competitive-Transit systems, park-and-ride facilities and paths will be enhanced to make these transportation choices safer and more efficient, affordable and convenient, as an alternative to traveling by car.

*Energy-efficient trucking-Since transportation plays a significant role in Winnipeg's economy, the project will demonstrate ways to make trucking a more environmentally friendly activity by improving freight practices, refining truck routing and promoting e-commerce delivery.

One of the largest projects in WinSmart is the construction of an active transportation path from The Forks to the intersection of Jubilee Avenue and Pembina Highway. The path will combine new construction through the Fort Rouge yards with upgrades to existing paths along the Red River.

This project is part of the $40-million Urban Transportation Showcase Program, through which Transport Canada provides up to one-third of eligible costs of projects aimed at creating and promoting strategies for reducing GHG emissions from transportation in municipalities. The showcases bring together technology, urban design, enhanced service and community-based marketing to improve transportation efficiency and reduce emissions. At the same time, they address other urban challenges such as overall air quality, traffic congestion, safety and rising operating costs.

Five showcases are currently under way in communities across Canada. They include:

*Whitehorse's "Whitehorse Moves," a strategy to reduce automobile use through active transportation infrastructure, public outreach and transportation demand management;

*Halifax Regional Municipality's MetroLink, an innovative bus rapid transit initiative that includes two new bus rapid transit corridors, transit priority measures and multimodal stations;

*the Region of Waterloo's iXpress, a high-quality express bus corridor featuring transit priority measures, advanced technologies, multimodal stations and community marketing;

*the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton's "Smart Commute," an initiative that implements regional and local transportation demand management through a network to transportation management associations; and

*TransLink's "Sustainable Region Showcase for Greater Vancouver," a six-part project that includes a bus rapid transit corridor, pedestrian priority, hybrid buses, a 24 km greenway cycling path, transit station "villages," household-based marketing and more efficient movement of goods.

Information-sharing with municipalities and transportation authorities is an important component of the program, and includes seminars, workshops and regular reports on the implementation and results of the showcases. More information, including a profile of the WinSmart Showcase, may be viewed on-line at Transport Canada's Urban Transportation Information Network, www.tc.gc.ca/utsp/.

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