Community Engagement

Tips & Tools for Better Community Engagement

  • A resource outlining how to put the “engage” back in community “engagement” with R.E.S.P.E.C.T – relevance, engagement, sincerity, preparation, experience, and trust.

The Walkability Tool Kit (Canada Walks)

  • A comprehensive Ontario-focused resource to aid in creating a walkability task force/community group.
  • Explains how to create meaningful action to improve community walkability.

School Travel Planning Toolkit (Canada Walks) – available in English and French

  • A comprehensive toolkit for implementing school-travel planning in your community.
iCAN Walk Checklist (Canada Walks) – available in English and French.

Healthy Community Design: Policy Statements for Official Plans

  • The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, with help from stakeholders and professional planners, put together this resource with health-related policies for Official Plans, required of all municipalities in Ontario. Many of these policy recommendations address the provision of walk-friendly environments. Municipalities are free to use the concepts within this document and adapt, amend, or revise the wording to suit their particular needs and circumstances.
  • A toolkit that promotes community engagement with a broad focus on healthy design of the built environment.

Citizen’s Guide to the Planning Act

  • This Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website provides a basic overview to how land-use planning happens in Ontario.
  • Walk Boston outlines and explains the results of using some creative means of reaching out to people who do not usually get engaged in planning of their communities.
Urban Traffic Calming & Health (National Collaborating Centre for Public Policy)
  • This literature review examines the effects of traffic calming in urban environments on four health determinants:
    • the number and severity of road collisions;
    • air quality;
    • environmental noise;
    • physical activity associated with active transportation.

Community Mapping Project (Part of Hamilton Pedestrian Mobility Planning)


Active Transportation – Making it Work in Canadian Communities (Transportation Association of Canada)

  • This link is to a brief primer of the comprehensive manual, which is available for purchase from the Transportation Association of Canada. Based on experiences from across Canada, it identifies a set of 11 principles to guide practitioners and their communities in responding to the diverse challenges of improving active transportation in Canada. The comprehensive “how-to” manual is an excellent resource, containing case studies from across the country and is available for purchase from the TAC Bookstore: $$$
  • Available in French.

Planning by Design: A Healthy Communities Handbook (Ontario Professional Planners Institute)

  • A handbook for municipal staff to share and generate ideas about how healthy and active communities can be designed, with Ontario best practices provided.

Healthy Communities and Planning for Active Transportation

  • The Ontario Professional Planners Institute call to action paper.
Healthy Communities Practice Guide (Canadian Institute of Planners)
  • Comprehensive “How To” Guide for planning healthy communities at the national level.
The Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (Ontario Ministry of Infrastructure)
  • Policies to guide development in Ontario’s “Greater Golden Horseshoe” region in order to create complete communities that offer more options for living, working, learning, shopping, and playing while reducing traffic gridlock by providing more sustainable transportation options.
Active Transportation in Canada: A Resource & Planning Guide (EcoPlan International for Transport Canada)
  • A guide primarily for municipal and regional transportation planners in communities with limited active-transportation planning and implementation experience.

Child & Youth Friendly Land Use & Transport Planning Guidelines for Ontario (Gilbert & O’Brien)

  • A set of 21 planning guidelines specifically created to meet the transportation needs of children (and everyone else) whose needs are so often overlooked.

Collingwood, ON –  Urban Design Manual

  • This comprehensive Urban Design Manual provides guidance on designing high-quality environments that are high quality, walk-friendy, and interconnected.
Transit Supportive Guidelines (Ontario Ministry of Transportation)
  • This document is useful in providing tools and strategies to create a more compact land-use pattern supportive of walking and cycling, optimize the effectiveness of existing or future transit services, retain ridership and better target transit service. In mid-size or larger cities, the guideline will help to better utilize existing infrastructure, grow ridership and manage urban growth in a more transit-supportive manner.
  • Includes a section on Complete Streets planning.
A Review of Urban Sprawl & Public Health in Ontario (Ontario College of Family Physicians)
  • A summary of the issues related to urban sprawl and its growing impact on the health of Ontarians.

Designing Healthy Communities Toolkit (Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit)

  • A toolkit including many tools for use by municipal leaders, planners, and concerned individuals who are interested in designing an active community where they live.

Glossary of Terms for Planners & Public Health Professionals (K. Bergeron)

  • A glossary of terms to bridge the language gap between planners and public health professionals, who can have powerful results when working collaboratively on healthy design.

Social Equity Agenda for Sustainable Transportation (T. Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute)

New Urbanism – Section of the on-line TDM Encyclopedia (T. Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute)

Metropolitan Area Transportation Planning for Healthy Communities (USA Department of Transportation)

Sample Walking Plans

Toronto Walking Strategy

Ottawa Pedestrian Strategy

Surrey, BC Walking Plan

District of North Vancouver

Chicago Pedestrian Plan (one of the best examples in the world!)

Sample Active Transportation Plans

Town of Ajax

Town of Cornwall

Town of Minden Hills


Ontarians With Disabilities Act

AMCTO Resources in respect to the Accessible Built Environment Resources

City of Vancouver Pedestrian Accessibility (great website example with information on making the city accessible for all)

Pedestrian Design for Accessibility within the Public Right-of-Way (U.S. Department of Transportation)

Aging in Place, Stuck Without Options: Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boom Generation (Transportation for America)

Sidewalks, Trails & Pathways

Ontario Regulation 239: Minimum Maintenance Standards for Municipal Highways (now includes section on standards for sidewalks)

Pedestrian Network Strategy (City of Hamilton)

Sidewalk Strategy (City of Edmonton)

Ontario’s Best Trails:  Guidelines and Best Practices for the Design, Construction, and Maintenance of Sustainable Trails for all Ontarians

Complete Streets

Complete Streets by Design (Toronto Centre for Active Transportation)

  • The adoption of a Complete Streets policy requires planners and engineers to design roadways to be safe and comfortable for users of all ages and abilities, including pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users.
  • This research represents the first known in Canada highlighting the opportunities and barriers for the adoption of Complete Streets policies. More specifically, the transportation section of the Official Plan (OP) for 17 of Ontario’s largest municipalities was analysed using the ten elements of a comprehensive Complete Streets policy developed by the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Complete Streets:  Making Canada’s Roads Safer for All (Transport Canada)

Connectivity & Density

Promoting Physical Activity Through Healthy Community Design (Larry Frank)

WalkScore (rates towns, cities, and specific addresses by how connected and dense the location is)

GTHA Warming to Increased Density (Toronto Star Article)

Estimating Canada’s Suburban Population (Research team led by Professor David Gordon, Director of the School of Urban & Regional Planning, Queen’s Univeristy)

Public Transit

The Big Move (Metrolinx: comprehensive regional transportation plan for the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area)

Mobility Hub Guidelines (Metrolinx: a resource to provide guidance and inspiration on developing mobility-hub plans and incorporating mobility-hub objectives into other planning activities)

Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits (Victoria Transport Policy Institute)

Pedestrian Safety Guide for Transit Agencies (U.S. Department of Transportation)

Google Directions for Using Transit Plus Other Modes with Google Maps (Google)

Improving Transit Stop/Station Access (website for Pedestrian & Bicycle Information Centre)

A Public Transit Success Story for Rural Communities (


Depave Paradise (A Project of Green Communities Canada)

Richmond Hill Parking Strategy (example of an Ontario municipality developing a comprehensive strategy that “recognizes the need to provide residents and businesses with parking supply sufficient to meet the needs of the growing and vibrant community, while at the same time using the provision of parking supply quotas and other parking supply measures as a tool to selectively manage travel demand, discourage auto use, support, where appropriate, higher transit use and influence auto ownership choices.”

LEED Transport and Parking Improvements (Victoria Transport Policy Institute)

Impact of Parking Supply & Demand Management on Central Business District Congestion, Transit Performance & Sustainable Land Use (Prepared for Florida Dept of Transportation by University of Florida, Dept of Urban & Regional Planning)

Rethinking the Parking Lot (New York Times Article)


Ministry of Infrastructure, Places to Grow:

Spacing Magazine:

Canadian Urban Institute:

Victoria Transport Policy Institute:

School Travel Planning:

West Coast Environmental Law Smart Growth Bylaws:

West Coast Environmental Law Smart Growth Checklists:

Smart Growth Canada Network:

Complete Streets:

Age Friendly Communities:

Walkable & Liveable Communities Institute:



OPPI Video: “Community Planning 101 – Walkability,” by Robert Voigt

Density Done Well – A Keynote Presentation by Vancouver’s Brent Toderian, Consulting City Planner

A Tedx Manitoba presentation by Hazel Borys, principal of Placemakers:”Confessions of a Former Sprawl Addict”

Melbourne, one of the most liveable cities in the world, is a pedestrian paradise, as showcased in this STREET FILMS video:


Built to Last…


 Townmakers Guide Poster (Walkable and Liveable Communities Institute)

  • A very visual depiction of car-centric, unliveable development vs walk friendly, liveable development.


  • A blog focusing on civic engagement to create healthy, active communities by Collingwood, ON planner Robert Voigt.

  • A blog detailing developments related to the Collingwood, ON, Active Transportation Plan.

  • A blog featuring Todd Litman, Executive Director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, which frequently addresses walkability issues.


Todd Litman, Executive Director, Victoria Transport Policy Institute: