Like everything else about our daily lives, COVID-19 greatly impacted how we get around in Halifax. With many people working from home beginning in March, restrictions on transit use and capacity, and people across the municipality taking up walking and cycling as a way to get outside and for essential trips, the broader picture of mobility and mode share in Halifax changed significantly. One of the biggest changes was the drop in vehicles on the road during peak hours, which meant less congestion on our roads.
As we start to head into fall and head back to work and school, traffic congestion doesn’t have to be a part of the new normal. Less congestion means more time spent doing the things you love, less money spent on your commute, and a positive impact on the health and well-being of you, your family, and the people living in your community.
To ensure your mobility options are more comfortable and convenient, the municipality has made several changes to our street network and transit service. These include:
- roll-out of temporary infrastructure through the Street Improvement Pilot Project program to support the safety and comfort of people walking, rolling, and cycling
- introduction of health and safety measures on Halifax Transit like mandatory masks for passengers, barricades for Transit operators, and enhanced cleaning protocols
- return to 100% pre-COVID service levels for Halifax Transit
Here are some tips for reducing your vehicle trips:
- Learn about your options: Halifax has more options than ever for getting where you need to go and we’re working to make it more comfortable and convenient to walk, roll, cycle, and take transit every year. Now is the perfect time to re-think your mobility habits and explore other ways of getting around in Halifax.
- Continue to telecommute, sometimes: Working from home doesn’t work for everyone, all of the time. However, with the right practices in place, working from home a few days a week can be a long-term solution to decrease commuting costs, time spent in traffic, and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Shop smart: During the pandemic, we had to be strategic about when and how often we shopped. Just because we may feel more comfortable visiting shops and stores doesn’t mean we need to do so every day. Plan ahead and group your errands together to limit the amount of trips you take each week.
- Get there by bike: People all over Halifax have taken up cycling this year in response to the impacts of COVID-19. With new temporary and permanent bikeways, it’s more comfortable than ever to ride a bike in Halifax. Check out our Bike Map to plan your next trip. We have also partnered with the Ecology Action Centre to bring you a series of videos (available in English, French, Mi'kmaw, and Arabic) to help you make the transition into cycling.
- Back on the bus: With Halifax Transit service back up to 100% and measures in place like enhanced cleaning, mandatory masks, and physical separation for Transit operators, taking the bus or ferry is a comfortable and convenient option for getting around in Halifax. As you head back to school or the office, consider taking public transit to save money on your commute and reduce the number of vehicles on the road.
- Rethink your carpool: If you are returning to work, you may not feel comfortable getting back into a car with your carpool group just yet. Reach out to a friend or colleague who bikes to work and ask them if they can show you the way. Riding together (while staying physically distanced) is a great way to build your confidence cycling on the street.