Active Transportation



Active or non-motorized transportation can include walking, cycling , in-line skating, skateboarding, cross-country skiing and using mobility aids such as wheelchairs. Active transportation can be combined with public transit and or other transportation methods.


Benefits of active transportation

Taking part in active transportation will help you:

  • maintain a healthier lifestyle by increasing physical activity
  • contribute to improved mental, emotional, and social health
  • reduce the chance of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes
  • reduce the amount of money you spend on gas, vehicle maintenance and parking

Active transportation also helps the environment by:

  • reducing road congestion
  • reducing vehicle-related greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change
  • improving local air quality


Making active transportation part of your life

Making active transportation part of your life is easier than you think.

If the weather is nice and you're going somewhere nearby, consider choosing active transportation by using the bike lanes, sidewalks, multi-use paths and trails.

Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  • Walk or bike with your kids to daycare or school instead of driving them
  • Ride your bike to work instead of taking the car
  • Walk or bike to the grocery store with your kids


Active transportation in your community

Increasing active transportation can have many positive impacts on overall community well-being. Typical benefits include:

  • Residents are more inclined to spend their money in businesses close to home, which enhances the economic viability of their community
  • Attracts new residents and business, increasing property values as walkable and bikeable communities are increasing in demand than similar properties in more car-dependent communities
  • Residents increase their social interaction with neighbours, make new friends than residents in more car-dependents communities



Bicycle Friendly Community Award

Did you know Whitby is a bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community? This means we're working hard to support cycling, creating more safe places to ride, and providing education and programs that encourage cycling.

What is a Bicycle Friendly Community?

Municipalities who apply to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community are asked to show their achievements in five categories: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Evaluation. Depending on the level of excellence in these categories the city or town may be awarded either an Honourable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum award. Currently there are 36 communities in Ontario that are designated Bicycle Friendly. Whitby, Ajax and Oshawa are all bronze-level communities.

Who decides if we're Bicycle Friendly?

Share the Road Cycling Coalition, with assistance from the League of American Bicyclists, reviews applicants and decides which are bicycle friendly. The Coalition and the program provide incentives, hands-on assistance and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling.


Walking and Biking to School

The high numbers of vehicle trips to/from school add to the traffic congestion around schools and create long queues of vehicles that often extend onto the road and through intersection/crosswalks.

Currently, many Whitby students that live in close proximity to their school are driven by parents/guardians. Not only is this a missed opportunity for physical activity, but a number of studies suggest that walking to school helps improve learning ability throughout the day.

In an effort to promote healthy physical activity and reduce environmental impact, students and families are encouraged to walk or bike to and from school.

Traffic congestion by Whitby School
- Traffic congestion by Whitby School

Creating safe school zones

The most basic and popular form of outdoor recreational activity is walking. The safety of the children in your neighbourhood school could be in your hands if you drive your child to and from school. Traffic congestion in a school zone can be a significant safety hazard for school children, especially during arrival and dismissal times, when parents are dropping off or picking up their children. As congestion increases, it becomes more difficult for drivers and school children to see one another.

Examples of a fully used bike rack at two Whitby schools Examples of a fully used bike rack at two Whitby schools
- Examples of a fully used bike rack at two Whitby schools

Safety tips

When walking to or from school remember the following:

  • Stay on the sidewalk and only cross the road at an intersection.
  • Walk facing oncoming traffic to be visible if there is no sidewalk
  • Obey all the pedestrian and traffic signals.
  • When crossing at an intersection of a road, remember to cross the road with the assistance of an Adult Crossing Guard, if available.

When biking to or from school remember the following:

  • Wear a helmet every time you ride.
  • Ride in a straight line on the right hand side of the road, in the same direction as traffic.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs
  • Stop for stopped school buses when their red lights are flashing.

Read our Keeping School Zones Safe brochure for more tips.



Smart Commute helps employers and property owners reduce their costs and carbon footprints by providing programs that help their employees commute to work in sustainable ways. Share the costs of driving with your co-workers and help reduce smog by carpooling.


Studies, plans and maps

Active Transportation Study Plan

The Town of Whitby is currently undertaking an Active Transportation Plan (ATP) Study which will involve significant public and stakeholder consultation. The anticipated completion date is December 2017. View Active Transportation Study Plan

Cycling and Leisure Trails Plan

Whitby has a Cycling and Leisure Trails Plan, adopted, in principle by Council in 2010. The link provides the final report, maps of existing and planned cycling facilities, and maps of the core priority network for cycling and leisure trails.


Durham Region Transportation Master Plan

Durham Region's Transportation Master Plan (TMP) is a strategic planning document designed to define the policies, programs and infrastructure improvements required to address the Regional Municipality of Durham's existing and future multi-modal transportation needs.

The current TMP was developed in coordination with the Municipal Comprehensive Review, which is the five-year review and update of the Regional Official Plan. This helped to ensure that the transportation system would be aligned with development to support the Region's overall growth objectives.

Durham Region Cycling Plan

In November 2012, Durham Regional Council approved an updated Durham Region Cycling Plan focusing on the development of a broader region-wide cycling network.

Durham Region Cycling Communications Strategy

As part of the Durham Region Cycling Communications Strategy, the Cycle Durham website was developed to: provide support for current cyclists; encourage more people to cycle; and educate cyclist and motorists on how the can safely share the road.


Links and information

Suggestions/Improvement contact the Engineering Department: Email to Engineering