Research and Development


Innovation is crucial to Canada’s economic growth and national quality of life. Transport Canada undertakes research and development (R&D) to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of the transportation system, and to improve the safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods in Canada.

Technological innovation and the application of new technologies are becoming increasingly important to meet emerging challenges to the system, such as rapidly increasing flows of goods and people, congestion, an aging but active population, changing weather patterns in the North, and concerns about the environmental footprint of transportation.

Not only does strategically oriented R&D support the development and maintenance of a smart transportation system, it also enables the federal government to develop regulatory and policy approaches appropriate to an evolving transportation environment, and to maximize the benefit of investments in transportation technology and infrastructure.

Focussing on Priorities

Research priorities are established by a senior management committee that reviews proposals and establishes funding priorities based on the Department’s strategic objectives.

An intradepartmental working group develops selection and evaluation criteria as well as performance metrics and documentation. It identifies opportunities for integrated and shared R&D projects for better management of resources, and it identifies and shares best practices for R&D program delivery and monitoring, as well as assessing effectiveness and measuring outcomes.

Development work is contracted out to agencies best qualified for the work, including manufacturers, operators, research organizations, and universities. Staff manage the technical aspects of each project, control finances, and evaluate progress.

Building Partnerships

The success of Transport Canada’s research program depends on building collaborative initiatives with industry, academia, and government to find common, applicable solutions to Canada’s transportation challenges.

By bringing together stakeholders from industry, academia, other federal departments, and other levels of government as partners in the research program, the Department ensures that the results of the work gain ready acceptance and application in the transportation system. Partnerships also enhance the reach and scope of the Department’s R&D activities, and provide access to expert insight into complex transportation issues.

Through tools such as memoranda of understanding, cooperative research agreements, and contribution agreements, the unique capabilities, interests, and resources of various and varied stakeholders are brought together to deliver better outcomes.

Knowledge Transfer

Transport Canada makes the results of its own research activities publicly available. It also plays a key role as a broker of knowledge for the broader transportation community by building networks and communities of interest.

Knowledge transfer activities include:

  • Publication and distribution of the results of research projects to stakeholders, researchers, other governments and government departments, and the public.
  • Organization of forums and workshops that bring together governments, stakeholders, and researchers to share the latest developments in specialized areas.
  • Participation in a variety of industry and government committees and associations to exchange information about emerging issues and technologies.

Research Publications: