About

Nancy Smith Lea has 30+ years of professional experience as a non-profit leader with specialized knowledge in applied research, analysis and policy specific to Complete Streets and active transportation. She has served as a transportation advisor to several Canadian municipalities in helping them to achieve their active transportation goals and to advance cycling. As the Director of The Centre for Active Transportation at Clean Air Partnership between 2008 and 2021, she successfully contracted and managed 40+ projects, primarily as project lead, and also as subcontractor, co-investigator or collaborator.

Nancy's research interests include:

Prior to her work at TCAT she was a senior research officer at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto where she was employed between 1990 and 2009. Her master's thesis was undertaken at OISE in Sociology and Equity studies where she examined the personal responsibility approach to urban cycling safety in North America and barriers to cycling experienced by women and visible minorities.

Smith Lea has been actively involved in working towards improving cycling conditions in Toronto since 1993 when she served a three-year term as a member of the Toronto City Cycling Network Planning Committee (1993-96). She then joined the committee formed by the Regional Coroner of Toronto which met over a two-year period to prepare the research and analysis leading to the 1998 coroner’s report on “Cycling Fatalities in Toronto, 1986-1996: Recommendations for Reducing Cycling Injuries and Death”, and provided input into the 2003 City of Toronto’s staff report “Toronto Bicycle/Motor-Vehicle Collision Study.” She was one of the co-founders of Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (1996-2005), a past board director and treasurer of the Community Bicycle Network (2002-2005) and a founding member and board director of Cycle Toronto (formerly Toronto Cyclists Union) through its first year of operation (2008-2009).

Skilled in strategic thinking and partnership development and a frequent invited speaker at conferences, workshops and as a university guest lecturer, Nancy is a six time award-winner recognized for active transportation, transportation equity, and city building leadership.


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