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Calgary in the Canadian province of Alberta is known as ‘oil country’ due to its economic dependence on oil and gas and is home to a number of oil and gas headquarters. After a downturn in the local economy due to a deflated oil price and a high office vacancy rate (sound familiar?), Calgary invested in walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure to boost its economy.

Key facts

  • Calgary’s cycling strategy in 2011 set out a goal to build 30 km of separated cycle track by 2020.
  • At the time, the city had no cycle tracks. The idea was to give more transportation choices to Calgarians while making the city more sustainable.
  • In 2014, urged on by a group of citizens and businesses who rallied behind a cheerful “Calgarians for Cycle Tracks” campaign, council voted 8–7 to create a pilot downtown network.
  • Instead of installing a network lane-by-lane, Calgary decided to construct an entire network all at once, two east-west lanes, two north-south, through downtown, all at the same time
  • In the time since, the network has been hailed as a success on myriad fronts, regarded as an example to follow by cities across North America.
  • The percentage of downtown commuters who cycle has risen from 1.9% in 2010 to 3.8% in 2018, just shy of the 2020 goal of 4% accommodating an additional 8,000 bicycle trip. Female ridership increased slightly to 1 in 4 cyclists and even kids are getting in on the action.
  • By the end of 2017, Calgary had built 7km of the 30km of cycle track and 43km of the 180km painted lanes.

Key Project: The Peace Bridge

  • Since its ribbon-cutting in March 2012, though, the Peace Bridge has become one of the most-travelled walking and cycling routes in the city, with more than 5.5 million crossings, an average of 28,000 per week
  • After its construction, the 750m bidirectional, curb-protected 7th Street cycle lane quadrupled cycling numbers along that corridor overnight and was the key driver for discussions to install an entire connected cycle track network at the same time.

Photo Credit: @tourismcalgary