Frequently Asked Questions

What is CWATS?CWATS logo

CWATS is the County Wide Active Transportation System. When completed, CWATS will provide paved shoulders, off-road paths like multi-purpose trails, and shared roadways. CWATS will connect people to other active transportation facilities and places of interest around the towns of Essex County. CWATS facilities and programs will help people live more active lifestyles, enabling them to “Walk, Ride, County Wide.”

What do you mean by “active transportation”?

Active Transportation is all about getting around using human power. It’s “self-propelled” transportation such as bicycling, walking or running, rollerblading or skateboarding, or even getting around in a wheelchair. Active transportation in the County of Essex will one day enable people to “Walk, Ride, County Wide.”

Where is CWATS?

There are currently about 115 km of connected on-road and off-road facilities across the County of Essex. Just look for the CWATS signs along local roadways and paths. A total of 709km of new facilities are proposed to be built in Essex County. Once completed, CWATS will connect people with all of our local towns, ERCA trails, and with routes in the City of Windsor and the Municipality of Chatham Kent.

Who is CWATS for?

CWATS is for everyone. It better supports those who are already active outdoors and provides new opportunities for people who want to get out and actively enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds of Essex County. It’s for families who value active recreation such as bike rides to visit a fun destination. It’s for people who want to explore their communities and surrounding areas. It’s for those who see the health benefits of regular physical activity. And, it’s for anyone who wants to enjoy some good old-fashioned fun.

Isn’t CWATS just about bike paths?

CWATS is actually part of a bigger strategy. It’s part of Essex County’s “Active Transportation Master Plan” that will guide the construction of active transportation facilities over the next 20 years. Other important components of the plan are the resources and events that will encourage residents to get out and get active using CWATS. These will promote safety and tell users where they can get active and what these facilities can connect you to. CWATS will also support skill development like how to ride a bike, and explain why being active is good for you, the environment, and the local economy.

Why should I care?

Active transportation is a great way to be physically active on a regular basis. CWATS encourages physical and mental fitness. It supports healthy lifestyles for everyone who uses the system – and to some degree, even those who do not by promoting more environmentally-friendly modes of transportation. Healthy infrastructures such as CWATS also make communities more “liveable.” It makes our region a more attractive place for people to want to live and grow, to invest in business, and to visit. In that sense, CWATS supports job creation and our communities’ goals of attracting people of all ages to grow, live, and retire.

What should I do?

Be a vocal supporter of active transportation and CWATS. Find out more about CWATS by getting out and exploring the County through the CWATS network. Share your experiences with friends and family. And tell your elected representatives that you support municipal investments in CWATS and active transportation facilities. Tell them that CWATS benefits everyone by making our towns more liveable and vibrant for residents, investors, and tourists.