National Engineering Month, organized by Engineers Canada, is “designed to spark an interest in the next generation of engineering professionals and to celebrate the role that engineers play in society.” This year’s theme, “there’s a place for you in engineering,” celebrates the diversity of thought, opportunities, and people that make up the engineering profession. We’re joining the celebration by sharing examples of how two of our Canadian engineering staff use their creative talents to enhance the lives of people and communities.
Communicating Through Comics
Ryan Martinson is a Senior Engineer working in Calgary. Three years ago he and his daughter worked through a “How to Cartoon” book, and it rekindled his lifelong interest in drawing. Ryan started drawing daily, and quickly began to see ways he could combine one passion with another, using this new medium to tell stories about the goals and values that inform his work as an engineer.
“Drawing comics allows me to highlight some of the issues that are more subtle in nature and play with metaphors or examples in a literal way,” Ryan says. “I don’t need to search for a perfect picture. Instead, I can use my imagination and create the right shot in my mind’s eye.”
A two panel cartoon on equity and bicycle infrastructure soon evolved into a fully-illustrated presentation on equity and the built environment, which he later turned into an eleven-page comic on equity. Today Ryan has written and illustrated five comics dealing with transportation and the built environment.
You can read Ryan’s latest comic, “Nurturing the First Steps: A Walkability Comic,” in the Winter 2019-2020 issue of Transportation Talk, the quarterly journal of the Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers (CITE). Ryan shares the superheroic measures he’d take to improve walkability in his community, as well as practical tips and strategies for walkability advocates who don’t have superpowers.
Lights, Camera, LEGO®
Before joining Toole Design, Edmonton Office Director Tyler Golly was a Senior Engineer with the City of Edmonton. He was part of team that created a series of award-winning outreach videos for the City, to educate the public about the implementation of new bike infrastructure. These charming and informative shorts feature LEGO® figures navigating colorful brick cityscapes, and demonstrating the right way to use the then-new bike facilities. You can watch a video about the project below, and see all the videos on the City’s YouTube channel.
Our Canadian engineers are working on industry-leading projects in communities across the country.
W. 10th Avenue Bikeway Design (Vancouver, BC): Toole Design led a collaborative stakeholder engagement process that resulted in an innovative bikeway design which accommodates bicyclists and patients accessing a hospital on a busy transportation corridor.
West Alexander to East Exchange Corridor Bikeway Design (Winnipeg, MB): Toole Design helped the City analyze numerous potential designs for a separated bicycle facility to connect downtown to an adjacent neighborhood and health precinct, and narrow the options to designs that could be implemented quickly.
Richmond-Adelaide Corridor Cycle Track Planning and Design Study (Toronto, ON): Toole Design conducted a sophisticated demand analysis that led to conceptual designs for bike facilities on Richmond and Adelaide Streets, two of downtown Toronto’s most heavily trafficked arterial roads. The resulting separated bike lane designs serve riders of all ages and abilities, and are among the most widely used bike facilities in the city.