Regional Transportation Plan 

The plan will establish a coordinated and strategic vision for a regional transportation system that makes sustainable growth and development possible and improves the safe and efficient flow of people and goods into, out of, and throughout Halifax and surrounding communities. 

The preliminary study area includes most of Nova Scotia’s population and one of the most important economic hubs in Atlantic Canada and will play a critical role in advancing broader Provincial Government initiatives to tackle climate change, support growth and economic development, and improve Nova Scotia’s health, well-being, and quality of life.  

The Regional Transportation Plan will be developed over multiple years with a target completion date of November 2024. The plan will provide both shorter and longer-term actions, taking us through the next 20 years and beyond.  

Aerial of a white transport truck driving on a highway surrounded with forest in the fall.
A map shows the study area for the regional transportation plan. It includes most of HRM, all of East Hants, all of West Hants, Chester, Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Bridgewater, Wolfville, Kentville, Truro, Stewiacke, Millbrook First Nation, Sipekne'katik First Nation, Glooscap First nation, Windsor, Acadia First Nation, and Annapolis Valley First Nation

The above map shows the areas included in the Regional Transportation Plan. The focus is on Halifax Regional Municipality, but the plan will also include communities that are around a one-hour travel time to Halifax as they have also experienced growth.

The study area includes 14 municipalities outside of HRM:

  • Municipality of the County of Colchester
  • Municipality of the County of Kings
  • Municipality of the District of Chester
  • Municipality of the District of Lunenburg
  • Municipality of East Hants
  • Town of Berwick
  • Town of Bridgewater
  • Town of Kentville
  • Town of Lunenburg
  • Town of Mahone Bay
  • Town of Stewiacke
  • Town of Truro
  • Town of Wolfville
  • West Hants Regional Municipality

As well as five First Nations:

  • Acadia First Nation
  • Annapolis Valley First Nation
  • Glooscap First Nation
  • Millbrook First Nation
  • Sipekne’katik First Nation

Desired Outcomes

We envision a regional transportation system that is… 


A long-term planning timeline means uncertainty. The plan must identify infrastructure investments and a transportation system that can thrive in an uncertain future. The plan must also establish methods to monitor and respond to trends, technology, and changing socio-economic patterns to ensure the regional transportation system can adapt over time. 

Climate Resilient 

The impacts from climate change are already being experienced. While the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be a major focus of the plan to support the mitigation of more severe impacts, climate change adaptation must also underpin all aspects of the plan to ensure the resulting transportation system and infrastructure can withstand a changing climate. The plan must support broader provincial and municipal efforts to protect natural assets and biodiversity by avoiding the location of transportation infrastructure and discouraging housing and employment nodes in these areas.   

Strategically Aligned 

The plan must serve to align interests and establish criteria to consistently evaluate recommended projects and actions to arrive at a cohesive regional transportation system. The plan is anticipated to identify projects which require the pooling of resources among partners or external funding support. The plan must also identify and align with existing and anticipated funding opportunities that can support plan implementation. 


The plan’s direction will be guided by broader provincial and municipal policy goals but will be focused on the desired outcomes determined in collaboration with our team, partners, interest groups, and the public. The plan must include an implementation strategy with specific, achievable actions that are possible in the immediate (5-year), medium (10 to 15-year), and long-term (20-year plus). 

Plan Priorities

What’s important as we develop the plan? 


  • Enhance the overall safety and security of the transportation system.  
  • Identify initiatives in the region that support the reduction and eventual elimination of fatalities and serious injury from collisions, while prioritizing and enhancing protection for vulnerable users (e.g., pedestrians and cyclists).   
  • Explore initiatives to enhance emergency preparedness.  


  • Advance multimodal transportation planning and transportation choice through consideration of all modes of transportation within the region.  
  • Focus on the movement of people (walking/rolling, cycling, buses, ferries, trains, vehicles), goods (trucks, trains, ships, planes), and the associated infrastructure (streets, active transportation facilities, highways, bridges, rail corridors, ports – marine, ground, air).  
  • Explore a combination of conventional measures that may not have been implemented to date and innovative measures which may not have been studied to date. 

Goods Movement

  • Evaluate goods movement throughout the region, including the adequacy of truck routes, and freight corridors under both existing and future uses, to ensure support of the region’s growing economy. 
  • Develop a strategic goods movement network for the region, including associated requirements for those corridors.   
  • Consider both national and global markets and the influences on regional goods movement. 

Higher Order Transit

  • Explore new or alternative transportation options, including higher order transit concepts (i.e., bus rapid transit, ferries, rail, other future solutions) and under what conditions and timeframes they may become viable  
  • Consider the relationship between conventional and community transit service and any new higher-order transit concepts, in particular, the importance of these existing systems and service types. 

System Efficiency & Strategic Investments

  • Identify opportunities to maximize the efficiency of the existing transportation system.  
  • Explore integrated technologies to support greater system efficiencies.   
  • Recognizing that not all growth will be accommodated within the existing infrastructure capacity, identify the most strategic and cost-effective options to bring new infrastructure online in an environmentally and financially sustainable way to optimize investments and support the region’s growing population and economy. 
Spring 2023

Background Assessment

Spring 2023 – Fall 2024


Summer 2023

Determine Goals and Values

Fall 2023

Scenario Planning

Spring 2024

Detailed Analysis

Summer 2024

Draft Plan

Fall 2024

Final Plan

Travel Demand Model 

The travel demand model simulates travel behaviour and provides us with information needed for decision-making. A regional-scale travel demand model can examine the interactions of population, employment, land use, and mobility options and allows us to test different possible futures, quantify the need for travel, and assess the utility and scale of the different modes of transportation that will be required to serve the region in the future.  

HRM currently maintains a travel demand model, but it is limited in geographic coverage and functionality. To provide a more flexible, realistic, and policy-sensitive tool for use in the creation of the Regional Transportation Plan and other major ongoing and upcoming projects, the JRTA and HRM are partnering to create a new activity-based travel demand model.

The objectives of the travel demand model are to:  

  • Create a new activity-based travel demand model to support a wide range of land use and transportation planning and engineering projects in the region.
  • Update HRM’s existing travel demand model to act as an interim tool to support ongoing and upcoming projects while the activity-based model is under construction.

The creation, calibration, and validation of a new travel demand model is a complex technical exercise. Attempting to represent the daily travel decisions for a rapidly growing region of 600,000+ people requires a significant amount of data, time, and technical work to understand their habits, choices, and preferences well enough to be able to examine not only how things are operating today and why, but how the answers to these questions might change in the future.

Return to top