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Rural Transportation Solutions for Ottawa

Moving Solutions

See Recent Presentation to Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee


Rural Transportations Solutions  is a community-based team that aims to propose realistic, affordable and sustainable transportation options to help solve rural Ottawa’s transportation deficiencies.

We formed in response to the needs voiced by rural community members and aim to propose a range of transportation solutions for rural communities in the City of Ottawa. Our initial activities have included collecting information regarding rural transportation needs and then analyzing that information for patterns and indications of innovative solutions.  Innovative rural transportation solutions are increasingly being introduced in rural areas across the country. 

The solutions that we are seeking for rural transportation will be consistent with the priorities of the New Official Plan and the Master Transportation Plan. As we move forward on this project, we are engaging residents, councillors and staff. 

The Current Transportation Situation in Rural Ottawa

Ottawa comprises a large rural constituency and a rural economy. The city’s rural character has changed significantly over the past generation from the predominantly agricultural, closely-knit communities to a more diverse group of residents. These residents include youth, adults, seniors, modest or low-income earners, single parents, minorities, and persons with disabilities. The diversity of the rural communities is increasing as urban in-migration increases.

Within the vast rural Ottawa area, the available services vary significantly. Areas may lack basic services such as child care, recreation activities, social services and programs, medical and mental health facilities, public transportation, grocery stores and pharmacies. Care coordination for those in need often involves accessing services outside the rural areas. There is an increasing need for transportation services to enable rural residents to reach these much-needed services.

Personal vehicles are currently the most prevalent means of transportation for residents in Ottawa’s rural areas. Still, the needs of those who do not have access to a personal vehicle are not being met. On a daily basis, residents in rural Ottawa experience the challenge of meeting their various needs for transportation with little benefit from public transportation options. Few options are available to most rural residents:

  • Adults need transportation to get to their place of employment and to conduct a range of other activities associated with their personal and family life.
  • Older adults may drive less frequently or not drive at all. Some experience the physical challenges related to aging, such as visual and mobility impairments, that impact their ability to drive. They often need to rely on family members and caregivers. Increased recognition of the value of ‘aging in place’ programs increases the demand for transportation.
  • Many youths face difficulties finding transportation to and from work, school, social activities and various personal and health needs. Local part-time job opportunities in rural areas are limited, and youth have few transportation options to look for opportunities in the urban areas.
  • Members of minority groups face cultural and social barriers. They must deal with isolation as they cannot access some of the services that are accessible to those living in the urban area. New Canadians in the rural area experience a lack of culturally specific services and face a long commute to access these services.

Rural transportation has been consistently identified as a barrier to accessing services for the well-being of rural residents. This situation has been discussed during the Rural Summits. The city’s Equity and Inclusions Lens document also recognizes the deficiency in transportation options. Furthermore, the Official Plan and the Rural Economic Development Strategy.