Peterborough is again leading the way when it comes to promoting active and sustainable transportation for healthier residents and a healthier community.
Last fall, Trent University became the first post-secondary school to sign on with Commute Ontario and now Peterborough Public Health has followed suit — becoming the first health unit in Ontario to partner with the province-wide program promoting active and sustainable means of transportation.
Commute Ontario encourages commuters to leave their cars at home and walk or cycle to work or school where possible, or to let someone else do the driving by carpooling or taking public transit.
Peterborough Public Health shares Commute Ontario’s goal of promoting active transportation, resulting in better air quality and reduced commuter stress — both key factors to improved overall health.
“Peterborough Public Health is happy to partner with Commute Ontario to support employees in choosing sustainable and active transportation options,” says public health nurse Kate Dunford. “Local data shows that 40 per cent of people are inactive, so incorporating active transportation into our daily lives is a great way to increase physical activity which then reduces the risk of chronic diseases.”
Along with Trent University, the City of Peterborough and Peterborough GreenUP were among the first organizations to sign on with Commute Ontario when it launched in 2018. Commute Ontario provides programs and tools that promote active and sustainable transportation to Ontario municipalities, post secondary institutions, and workplaces such as Peterborough Public Health.
The program is completely free of charge because the non-profit social enterprise behind the program, SustainMobility, received a three-year grant of $710,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
“We hear it all the time that Ontarians are fed up with their commutes,” says SustainMobility executive director Glenn Gumulka. “Feeling stressed out at the beginning and the end of each day is not a healthy place to be.”
Once they’ve signed up with Commute Ontario, organizations gain immediate access to a host of programs, campaigns, and promotional materials all promoting active and sustainable transportation options such as carpooling, walking, cycling, and taking transit.
This includes an online carpool matching tool at carpoolontario.ca where users can participate in ride-matching.
As well as Peterborough, other municipalities that have signed on with Commute Ontario include London, Thunder Bay, Barrie, Orangeville, Shelburne, Grey Highlands, and Dufferin and Perth Counties.
Along with Trent University, other post-secondary institutions that have signed on include Kings College, Georgian College Orillia, and Midland and Owen Sound Campuses.
Environmental organizations to sign on so far include Peterborough GreenUP and EcoSuperior in Thunder Bay.
For more information and to sign on with Commute Ontario, visit commuteontario.ca.