Leading With Transit

Dedicated to a long-term strategy and investment for transit in HRM.


Our Work


Public transit connects people and places. It touches each of our lives.


To make transit the first and best choice for getting around Nova Scotia


Public transit is the essential public service that connects people and places. It can improve each of our lives. Transit is more than buses—it includes light rail, ferries, and trains, and exists beyond the needs of the commuter. Investment in great transit is not a choice, but the only way to meet our collective expectations for healthier, more environmentally responsible and economically vibrant communities. We should experience our streets as social, open spaces. Transit will meet these expectations by being efficient, frequent, reliable, passenger-centric, and accessible. It must also be permanent because it provides an essential public service, which is why transit infrastructure must be separate from traffic infrastructure.

Why are we “Leading With Transit”?

Because public transit is the key to change. When you look at it from health, economic, and environmental standpoints, the arguments for transit are all there. Great transit is for everyone: it connects us all, shifts our perspectives of streets, and shapes the development of our communities. When you lead with transit, everything else follows.

Leading With Transit is a community based initiative sponsored by more than 20 public, private, institutional and NGO partners. This grassroots movement is advocating for a bold vision for the future of public transit. Our mission is to make transit the first and best choice for getting around in HRM.

Ultimately, investment in great transit is not a choice. It is the only way to meet our collective expectations for healthier, more environmentally responsible and economically vibrant communities. It also makes it possible to rethink public spaces (particularly streets) as places that are not increasingly dominated by cars, focused on parking and designed primarily for movement. For those who can’t afford a car and for those who may be too old or too young or just not up to driving, transit is key to connecting with friends, discovering the city and providing access to jobs and services.


The difficulty with transit plans developed by government agencies is that they are limited, not only in terms of budget and policy, but also in their scope. By developing a plan that is “for the people and by the people”, we are not operating under these same constraints and are therefore free to do the kind of visioning that is desperately needed. The next step is to decide what kind of transit we want to enjoy, not only in 5 or 10 years, but 50 or 100 years down the road. We recognize that transit must integrate into a larger context: the Regional Centre is within HRM, central Nova Scotia, and the Atlantic Region as a whole. These different scales are connected and should be considered within a future transit system. 

Develop the idea.

  1. Establish and clearly define principles for the Leading with Transit system.

  2. Develop the complete vision, illustrate the concept and identify/design the critical components.

  3. Identify how Leading with Transit affects and could be integrated into current plans, bylaws, approval processes and budgets (a strategy for implementation).

Make the case.

  1. Identify cost/benefits of investing in transit including -environment, economy, equity and health.

  2. Make the business and non-business case for investing in transit now.

  3. Develop a funding strategy for ensuring long term investment in transit.

Spread the word.

  1. Build political support for the concept. Make transit a 3-level election issue.

  2. Engage the community in designing, promoting, approving, and building Leading with Transit

  3. Make Leading with Transit highly visible, clearly understood, and broadly supported.

How we do it.

The coalition is made up of three task forces: Communication, which focuses on connecting with outside interests and spreading the word; Investment, which looks at possible sources of income and cost/benefit analyses; and finally, Concept, which is concerned with the actual vision and design of the system itself. These task forces meet regularly to complete the above work. Task forces are open to anyone and report to a steering committee led by representatives of our partner organizations. 



1. Frequent

  • Continuous service, maximum 5-10 minute wait times

2. Reliable

  • Dependable at all hours

  • Safe environments - on vehicles and at all stops and terminals

  • Separate transit right-of-ways

3. Efficient

  • Seamless connectivity between modes and routes

  • Connectivity: linking communities with places of work, education, and recreation

  • Environmental and energy efficiency

  • Faster and easier than private vehicles

4. Permanent

  • Long-term investment that will shape development of our city and province

  • Routes will not change

  • Permanent transit defines growth

  • Integration of transit with development and environment

5. Accessible

  • Accessible for all abilities

  • Equitable and affordable fare structure

  • Maximum 500m access to transit

6. Passenger-Centric

  • Intuitive, simple, easy to navigate

  • Identifiable routes and stops

  • As much or more comfort than a private vehicle

  • Weather protection, good lighting, Wifi, seating, food and coffee

  • Space to accommodate bikes, groceries, or luggage

7. Placemaking

  • Honour neighbourhood culture and heritage through signage, public art, and design

  • Create identifiable transit stops with unique identities

  • Tie communities together, rather than splitting them apart

  • Integrate land use and built form


The Significance of LwT: 


Adjust the Scope.
The timeline becomes 75 years. The boundaries become more extensive. The targets for ridership are more ambitious.


Think about Transit holistically.
Transit is viewed as a system and a service linked to land use, built form, equity, environment, and economy.


Make Transit permanent.
Transit is fixed and integrated infrastructure. We build with it, around it, and on top of it. New buildings help pay for it and benefit from it.


Commit to investment.
Public and private sector investment starting now. Plan for investment for decades to come. 


Ready to help?



Task Force Work Sessions

Come join our Investment, Communications, or Concept task force!

We meet every:

  • 2nd Thursday of the month, 6-7:30pm, room HB2 of Medjuck building, 5410 Spring Garden Rd.

  • 4th Wednesday of the month, 9:30-11am, DHBC boardroom, 104-1546 Barrington St.

Members make it to one or more work session a month.

If you are interested in attending a session or joining a task force, please let us know via the Contact Us tab.

Thank you in advance for your interest!