By definition, remote communities are areas with less than 2,500 residents located a minimum of 10 km from the nearest road or port and power grid (Hjartarson et al. 2014). Many remote communities face obstacles in attaining their economic potential due to their distance from skilled workforce and critical infrastructure that is essential to business operations (Danika, 2016). Infrastructure such as roads, broadband internet access, and healthcare communities would strengthen sovereignty and advance the region’s contribution to national prosperity (Danika, 2016).
The development of transportation infrastructure in remote communities promotes economic development, reduces the cost of living, improves quality of life, and is a key element in ensuring their vitality and sustainability (Danika, 2016). Remote regions can also have large, untapped areas of resources capable of contributing towards the economic growth and prosperity of their nations. In order to develop this wealth, transportation infrastructure systems to resource rich regions need to be enhanced (Hjartarson et al. 2014). Successful exploration and development will lead to increased profits and the creation of jobs for local communities (Hjartarson et al. 2014).
The siting of a corridor is difficult and requires the incorporation of different viewpoints. These viewpoints include environmental, social, and economic perspectives. From the environmental viewpoint corridor siting needs to include the consequences of habitat fragmentation and destruction (Forman and Alexander, 1988), reduction in wetland area, increased wildfires, the increase of illegal hunting, and biodiversity loss (Laurence et al. 2014). Additionally, mortality and population declines are often a result of new corridors due to animal road crossings. Economically corridors can service mineral claims and communities to increase prosperity. Communities located far from all season corridors are typically isolated and the creation of a corridor will bring services, goods, and lower living costs. Mineral claims are locations where there is potential for mineral exploration, creating a road in close proximity to these claims would be beneficial for companies the own the claims. Alternatively, construction limitations such as slope will limit prosperity. Furthermore, social considerations in siting transportation corridors include the integration of remote communities. The integration of remote communities will not only provide economic benefit but also social benefit in the form of employment, accessibility, and community services. These concerns and considerations must be evaluated in order to determine transportation corridors.
Applying GIS to transportation systems enables the involvement of integrating and managing various types of spatial and non-spatial data (Kaysi et al. 2007). Recent advances in geographic information science and decision support have resulted in a set of new techniques for efficient integration of georeferenced data layers, including multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) to map least cost pathways (LCP) (Kaysi et al. 2007). A study by Kaysi et al. (2007) created a structured GIS-based framework for corridor planning and analysis in Beirut, Lebanon. This was accomplished using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to structure the MCE task. The developed framework was simplified and organized in two levels, by separating corridor construction variables from geographic variables and using the ranking system for each separately. This approach was effective, however, the integration of both operational options and desirable traits would have been beneficial for the study. While the applications of MCE methods are growing in siting corridor research, their applications in northern areas are still limited. The combined use of MCE and LCP for northern areas can help decision-makers determine which factors are most important, provide insights into value judgments, and ultimately decide where corridors should be located.
The purpose of this research is to identify routes connecting Pickle Lake to the Ring of Fire incorporating environmental, social, and economic variables using a GIS based model.
1) Identify relevant characteristics that influence corridor development.