Identifying the Desirability & Feasibility of a Passenger Ferry Across the Northwest Arm
Van Leeuwen, Claire
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Dalhousie University’s population is growing and with this growth comes increased demand for sustainable transportation options. Although, the Dalhousie Green Guide provides sustainable transportation alternatives for the Dalhousie community, these options favour those who live on the Halifax peninsula and not those who live on the mainland across from the Northwest Arm. As a result, this study was undertaken to determine the desirability and feasibility of a passenger ferry in the Northwest Arm. It focused primarily on the Dalhousie Community, which is comprised of the students, staff, faculty and administration of Dalhousie University. This ferry initiative has the potential to contribute to the overall sustainability of the university by creating an environmentally superior transportation option for those living across the Northwest Arm. This area is difficult to access and as a result, has not previously been incorporated into Dalhousie’s sustainable transportation plan. After conducting an exhaustive search for relevant literature, it was established that a questionnaire and a face-‐to-‐face interview needed to take place to gain a better understanding of the topic. The questionnaire was created on Opinio and distributed online to 44 academic departments at Dalhousie. The questionnaire provided the opportunity to gather data regarding the desirability of the Dalhousie community for a ferry that crosses the NorthWest Arm. In cooperation with NDP MLA Michele Raymond, a face-‐to-‐face interview was conducted to gain a better understanding of the feasibility of a ferry that runs across the Northwest Arm. This interview proved very beneficial because Michele Raymond had previously conducted a pilot project with a small passenger ferry crossing the Northwest Arm. The results showed overwhelming support for ferry service in the Northwest Arm by those who would use the ferry for leisure purposes rather than commuting. Furthermore, the majority of respondents were students who lived on the Halifax peninsula, over half of which use motor vehicles to commute to and from the campus. This shows that future researchers should use a research tool that can reach a greater number of people that live on the mainland and therefore have greater potential to use the ferry service for daily commuting purposes. The study concludes with recommendations for further research. This includes continuing research on this topic, as it has been noted that research should be expanded to the greater Halifax community to ensure the possibility of greater feasibility of this service, and benefits to a wider range of stakeholders.