Improving Active Routes & Transportation

Moving Ahead - Improving Active Routes and Transportation

The Town of Banff builds, maintains and manages transportation infrastructure, provides public transit, contributes to safety and efficient use of resources through traffic and parking regulations, and strives for the highest levels of active transportation in Canada. The Town is expanding a system of connected routes, with programs to make walking and cycling safe, easy to navigate, and the preferable alternative to motor vehicle travel. This trail, route, and walkway system fosters fitness and connectivity throughout the townsite and links to trails outside town boundaries.

Relevant long-term directional plans:

A limited land base creates opportunities for leadership in areas such as environmental sustainability, active transportation, and a focus on infrastructure renewal and innovation, rather than expansion. Banff should not build our way out of traffic and parking issues. Our community must embrace more creative solutions to mobility in the townsite. Banff's multi-modal transportation system is economically and environmentally sustainable and enhances the lives of residents and the experience of visitors. Our approach fosters choices that empower our shared responsibility to preserve and enhance the natural and heritage assets of Banff National Park.

Direction from 2008 to 2018 Banff Community Plan

  • Provide a transportation system that encourages and complements pedestrian movements and cycling.
  • Provide a transportation system that enhances the resident and visitor experience.
  • Encourage the integration of local and regional transportation of people and goods.
  • Provide a transportation system that is economically and environmentally sustainable.
  • Improve pedestrian and cyclist safety and enjoyment by creating a defined and contiguous system of pathways throughout the town.
  • Improve trail connectivity to the national park.
  • Build a system of open spaces, trails and parks that reinforce connections to the natural environment.
  • Increase the use of Banff parks and trails.
  • Implement an active-living program that educates and encourages healthy lifestyles.
  • Develop and implement a town-wide wayfinding plan that is simple and graphically representative of our sense of place.
  • Pursue a regional transportation plan that introduces public transit links between Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, the surrounding ski areas and popular national park destinations or trailheads.

 Key Partners Include:

  • The residents of Banff who help set the standard by making choices that demonstrate shared responsibility to preserve Banff National Park.
  • Parks Canada, who is responsible for the construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure outside the town, and for providing trail construction, maintenance and signage around the town and providing information for users.
  • Federal and provincial governments, as key funders of transportation initiatives.
  • Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission, which operates Banff and regional public transit.
  • Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Town of Canmore, Improvement District 9, and Parks Canada for support to regional transit.
  • Local hotels that provide parking or bicycles and encourage active modes, and participate in supporting Roam Public Transit.
  • Local businesses that rent and sell equipment for active modes.
  • Local businesses involved in tourism and transportation, and encourage their employees to commute using active modes.
  • Local businesses that seek to expand mass transit in the region and other development to reduce traffic congestion in town.
  • Trail users, providing input on plans and trail conditions and helping keep the trails clean and safe through appropriate trail etiquette.
  • Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, providing information for users.
  • Canadian Rockies Public Schools for programs that promote walking and cycling.

Transportation Strategies:


  • Reduce demand for downtown parking.
  • Protect parking for vulnerable sectors of our community.
  • Limit RV traffic in the downtown core.
  • Trial new parking management strategies in 2021 in light of increased proportion of individual travellers associated with use of private vehicles, and focus on additional measures to incentivize use of intercept parking lot.


  • Establish and maintain high-quality service standards.
  • Transition towards 100% renewable energy for the Banff routes.
  • Improve bus travel time relative to vehicle travel time.
  • Work to rebuild transit ridership by increasing awareness about public transit opportunities, with an emphasis on promoting safety protocols to ensure transit is a safe mode during the COVID pandemic.

Active Modes:

  • Upgrade existing trails and develop new trails.
  • Develop new sidewalks and on-road cycle routes.
  • Close and rehabilitate redundant trails.
  • Add trail amenities.
  • Develop bridges and crossings.
  • Improve trail and walkway experience for visitors.
  • Update trail policies and bylaws.
  • Improve trail monitoring, education and maintenance.

Traffic Management:

  • Reduce use of private vehicles downtown.
  • Reduce traffic delays by encouraging fewer vehicles downtown.
  • Improve pedestrian and driver satisfaction with movement downtown.

Regional Transit Connectivity:

  • Reduce congestion and parking issues throughout the Bow Valley by enhancing opportunities for people to travel without private vehicles between Calgary and the Bow Valley.
  • Continue to work with partners to expand bus services:
    • Between Calgary and the Bow Valley
    • Throughout the Bow Valley
  • Work with partners to evaluate the concept of passenger rail.

Transportation Targets by 2022


  • Maintain parking shortfall to less than 150 stalls in the downtown area, comprising Zone A (central downtown commercial district), Zone B (downtown west of Lynx St. and north of Wolf St. to Moose St.), and Zone C (east of downtown between Beaver St. and Otter St.).
  • Achieve average summer occupancy of 50% in intercept parking lot.


  • Return transit ridership to 2019 levels by 2022, and maintain 2019 infrastructure.

Active Modes:

  • Increase by 100% (over 2018) active mode crossings of the Bow River.
  • Build a second pedestrian crossing between Central Park and the Recreation Grounds.
  • Identify options for a pedestrian crossing (over or under) of the CP railway between Marmot Circle and the Industrial District.
  • Build a minimum of 4 kilometre of additional active mode trails/bike lanes/sidewalks, primarily key linkages and connections.
  • Reduce the percentage of residents who commute to work in personal vehicles by 15%: from 30% in summer and 41% in winter (2017 census) to 25.5% in summer and 34.8% in winter by 2022.

Traffic Management:

  • Reduce days in a year exceeding 16,000 vehicles per day (VPD) over the Bow River Bridge from 81 to 5.