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Pollution Probe’s transportation program seeks to help Canada realize its potential as a global leader in low-carbon modes of transport that support a thriving economy and societal well-being.

Transportation 101

What is transportation and why is it central to our lives, our economy and the climate? What are the key elements of this complex system and what factors determine how different transportation systems take shape in different parts of the world? What modes, fuels and technologies could change the way we move around in the future?

Get the answers in this short 101 video and also find out how you can lower your environmental impact through transportation choices.

Stay tuned for our upcoming video on the Canadian transportation system!

This video series was produced by Pollution Probe in partnership with Student Energy.  

Areas of Focus

The Pathways Initiative


Pollution Probe’s Pathways Initiative works to identify and promote transportation pathways which will deliver deep reductions in greenhouse gases and promote economic growth, thereby contributing to actions to address climate change.

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Key projects include:

The Pathways Initiative Workshop: In March 2016, Pollution Probe convened international transportation experts to explore options for decarbonization of the transportation sector.

Supporting the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change: In June 2016, Pollution Probe released a series of policy recommendations to support the development of the framework. Four reports were posted to the federal climate web portal (reports also available below).

Projects, Publications and Policy Submissions

Personal Transportation

EV Banner 2Pollution Probe is a pioneering research organization for electric vehicles and other alternative transportation technologies and modes, and is a leading source of information and expertise on EVs.

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Personal transportation encompasses all types of light-duty cars, vans, and trucks, as well as modes of mass transit like buses, trains, ferries and airplanes, and lastly modes of active transportation like bicycling and walking. Electric vehicles (EVs) currently represent the most promising low-carbon option for personal vehicles, especially in countries like Canada which have an abundance of renewable electricity. Pollution Probe is a pioneering research organization for EVs and other alternative transportation technologies and modes, and is a leading source of information and expertise.

Key projects include:

Accelerating the Deployment of Plug-in EVs: Accelerating the Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles in Canada and Ontario is the result of a collaborative study undertaken by Bruce Power, Plug’n Drive, Pollution Probe and the University of Waterloo’s Department of Chemical Engineering. The report explores potential options for building on existing policy frameworks at the federal and provincial levels related to electric vehicles, and highlights opportunities to optimize their potential to contribute to decarbonisation efforts.

EMAPPollution Probe developed the Electric Mobility Adoption and Prediction (EMAP) initiative as a predictive analytical tool to help utility companies prepare for the expected increase in demand for EV charging in their communities. EMAP culminated in six reports covering ten cities – Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, St. Catharines, London, Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Calgary and Edmonton – which present comprehensive strategies to enable and promote EV use in ways that reflect the unique consumer markets and local electricity systems of each city.

EVANProject EVAN (Electric Vehicle ANalysis) was a comparative study undertaken by Pollution Probe with the support of FleetCarma and Fleet Challenge Ontario to establish the business case and environmental justification for fleet managers in both the public and private sectors to incorporate electric vehicle technology into their procurement and vehicle replacement plans.

Electric Mobility Master Plan for TorontoIn April 2010, Pollution Probe convened a workshop with 50 stakeholder organizations and individuals who will play a significant role in the future development of Toronto’s transportation systems, with the goal of  developing a series of recommendations to put Toronto on the right path to electric mobility.

Driving ElectricIncreasingly, new vehicle models that are appearing on the market are incorporating varying levels of electrification. The Driving Electric brochure presents Canadians with information about the different types of hybrid-electric and electric vehicles, including the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Roundtable Series on Emerging Light-Duty Vehicle Technologies: Part of a series of roundtable events, Pollution Probe’s Roundtable on Emerging Light-Duty Vehicle Technologies brought together leading experts and government representatives to discuss short-term transportation technology priorities and long-term infrastructure requirements. The three main technology themes discussed were: 1. Engine efficiency and performance-enhancing fuel options; 2. Drivetrain efficiency and power distribution and use; and 3. Aerodynamics, rolling friction and lightweight materials.

Projects and Publications

Freight Transportation

Freight BannerThe on-road freight sector is the fastest-growing source of transportation-related emissions, and currently represents 32% of total emissions from the Canadian transportation sector. Other modes of freight transport include rail, marine and aviation, which combined contribute 8% of Canada’s transportation-related emissions.

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The on-road freight sector is the fastest-growing source of transportation-related emissions, and currently represents 32% of total emissions from the Canadian transportation sector. Other modes of freight transport include rail, marine and aviation, which combined contribute 8% of Canada’s transportation-related emissions. Pollution Probe works with government and the heavy-duty vehicle sector to help facilitate the coordinated efforts required to reduce the carbon footprint of freight transport.

Key Projects include:

Cost and Adoption Rates of Fuel-Saving Technologies for Trailers in the Canadian On-Road Freight SectorPollution Probe collaborated with the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) on a study to better understand the costs, performance levels, and current adoption rates of fuel-saving technologies for trailers in the Canadian on-road freight sector.

Comments on ECCC Approach to Phase 2 HDV RegulationsOn March 3, 2016, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) hosted a pre-consultation session with stakeholders from industry and the not-for-profit sector to gain feedback on its proposed approach to developing Phase 2 heavy-duty vehicle and engine emission regulations for trucks manufactured in post-2018 model years. After reviewing ECCC’s proposed approach, Pollution Probe compiled a series of comments in support of increasingly stringent emission regulations that would be feasible for Canada’s on-road freight transport sector to comply with from an economic perspective.

Railway Association of Canada’s Locomotive Emissions Monitoring (LEM) Program: Pollution Probe sits on the LEM MOU Management Committee and the Technical Review Committee. The primary purpose of the LEM Program is to publicly report on greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions from Canada’s fleet of locomotives serving both the freight and passenger sectors. This voluntary initiative, undertaken by the Railway Association and Transport Canada, sets annual emission reduction targets and reports on actual emissions from freight, passenger, and regional and short line operations.

Roundtable on Emerging Heavy-Duty Vehicle Technologies: Pollution Probe’s Roundtable on Emerging Heavy-Duty Vehicle Technologies was convened to inform government decision-making on HDV engine and emission regulations. Experts from industry, academia, government and not-for-profit research organizations engaged in a closed-door dialogue over the course of one day to discuss emerging options to reduce fuel consumption and emissions from the on-road freight transport sector.

Projects and Publications

Low-Carbon Fuels

Other transportationNo holistic transportation program would be complete without exploring options for GHG reductions within alternative fuels. Pollution Probe’s work is focused on researching and advocating for cost-effective transportation fuels that have the smallest possible environmental impact.

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Key projects include:

A Primer for Automobile Efficiency in Canada: In collaboration with the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA), Pollution Probe created a primer on automobile fuel efficiency and emissions. The primer serves as a useful and comprehensive resource for all Canadians as they strive to understand the changes that can be made both within the automobile industry and in their own lives to improve vehicle efficiency.

Workshop on Low-Carbon Fuel Standards for Canada: This 2013 report was prepared by Pollution Probe to relay subject matter expert and key stakeholder discussion on the current state of Low-Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS) regulations in Canada, the United States and Europe that occurred during the Workshop on Low-Carbon Fuel Standards: Taking Stock of the Implications and Assessing the Future of LCFS in British Columbia. The report captures perspectives shared by the workshop presenters and participants and provides recommendations for advancement of the LCFS regulations.

Roundtable on Biofuels in Canada: Pollution Probe’s Expert Roundtable on Biofuels in Canada brought together global and national experts to discuss the political, economic, social, technological, and environmental dimensions of biofuels. A variety of critical challenges and opportunities related to biofuel production, management, regulation and use were discussed, and questions were posed to and by government representatives in attendance.

Off-Road Vehicle Roundtable: Pollution Probe’s Roundtable on Emerging Off-Road Vehicle Technologies was a one-day expert dialogue hosted at Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Air Quality Laboratories in Ottawa. The event brought in experts from around the world to discuss technological advancements and policy options related to vehicles used in the construction, agricultural, forestry and mining sectors in Canada, which combined account for almost 5% of national transportation-related emissions.

Projects and Publications


Blog Posts


Recommended Reading

Heavy Duty Vehicles

Ontario Action on Climate

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Steve McCauley, Director

Derek May, Project Manager

Melissa DeYoung, Project Manager

Mariana Eret, Policy Analyst

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