Electric and Sustainable Mobility in Burlington

Transportation (gas/diesel-powered vehicles) is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in Burlington. To help combat this, the City partnered with BurlingtonGreen, a local non-profit environmental organization, to complete our first community based Electric Mobility Strategy. It was important to work with an organization like BurlingtonGreen to develop a community-based plan and engage with local experts, organizations and individuals. BurlingtonGreen already has “boots on the ground” with a history of engaging the local community to take action on climate change and has been very involved in supporting the development and implementation of the Burlington Climate Action Plan.

How was the Electric Mobility Strategy developed?

Surveys were posted on getinvolvedburlington.ca to obtain input from residents on their experiences and opinions related to electric vehicles, electric bikes and electric (stand-up) scooters, helping to identify barriers and opportunities. We received over 600 responses between the three surveys. Here are some key findings:

  • High satisfaction noted by EV owners
  • Those living in apartments and condos concerned about access to EV chargers
  • Need to ensure accessibility when designing EV chargers for the public
  • Concerns about safety related to e-bikes and e-scooters, as well as risk of theft

Responses were assessed along with information obtained through research and interviews with staff, stakeholders and experts to help form the strategy document. Draft actions were also made available on getinvolvedburlington.ca for feedback before the plan was finalized.

The final Electric Mobility Strategy was presented to Council in September with four objectives:

  • Expand access to public and private electric charging;
  • Increase awareness and support for electric vehicles and electric micro mobility options such as e-bikes and e-scooters;
  • Build an ‘EV (electric vehicle) supportive’ policy framework; and,
  • Support an equitable transition to electric mobility in the community.

How can we achieve the plan’s objectives?

There are 35 actions in the plan which support:

  • The expansion of charging infrastructure and investment in grid capacity;
  • City leadership through action and advocacy;
  • Community education and awareness; and
  • Equity and accessibility.

Implementation will require community collaboration and partnerships. Based on a community survey, most people in Burlington have some awareness of electric vehicles, but more is needed to engage the community on their benefits. Public events like the Plug’n Drive MEET event held at Central Park earlier this year was a great opportunity for community members to test drive EVs and talk to EV owners to learn about their experience.

The City itself can be a leader by continuing to add EV charging infrastructure on City property and increasing the number of EVs in its fleet. An update to the City’s Green Fleet Strategy is underway and will help move the corporate fleet toward low to zero emissions.

Connection to climate change and other plans and programs

As mentioned above, transportation is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in our community. Supporting a move to low and zero emission vehicles is a key program area identified in Burlington’s Climate Action Plan with a goal to have a net carbon neutral community by 2050, but electric mobility is not the only solution. Sustainable active transportation measures and public transit will also be key to our success to support a healthy and livable city with less congestion. An Integrated Mobility Plan, which is focused around moving people versus vehicles, led by our Transportation Services staff is expected to be presented to Council by mid-2023.

What can you do to lower your transportation carbon footprint?

  • For short trips less than five kilometers, consider walking or cycling.
  • Choose transit and teach your children how to take transit.
  • Is an EV in your future? Reach out to Plug’n Drive to learn more about EV models available, charging options and EV rentals available to test drive.

Take Action Burlington! Consider walking, cycling or taking transit. If you’re going to drive, charge your ride. Collectively we can make a difference to reduce community emissions.

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