Thursday, January 24, 2008

Falcon Misinformed on Truck Traffic

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon claims the we need to expand the Port Mann to accommodate “commercial-goods–movement” (Jan 24 Georgia Straight). But according to his own department's figures, only 8% of the traffic on the bridge is truck traffic. Clearly the current bridge has plenty of capacity for commercial-goods-movement.

The vast majority of the traffic on the bridge is single occupancy vehicles and these drivers need to be given the option of transit now, not years in the future. Falcon does get one thing right - tolls will help induce people to take transit. But we need to start congestion pricing on the current infrastructure not future infrastructure. That is what other cities that are taking sustainable transportation seriously are doing. Why is Metro Vancouver falling behind?

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

More thoughts on the new BC Transit Plan

Speaking about the new Provincial Transit Plan, Premier Campbell said "Our transit mission is nothing short of being a global leader in terms of public transit and transit usage."

Unfortunately, the plan will get us no where near to being a "global leader." The new transit plan has ridership reaching 17% by 2020.

But in Stockholm 70 percent of peak period trips are by public transit. In Berlin it is 40% with a goal of 80%. Paris and London are both over 20%.

Other European cities :

Utrecht - 40%
Helsinki - 30%
Zurich - 40%
Copenhagen - 31%

Even some American cities seem to be ahead of us (note: these numbers are for percentage of commuters not total trips):
Washington - 33%
New York - 53 %

I would like to see us be a global leader in public transit. But unfortunately, this plan is too little too late. Maybe if we cancelled all the highway expansion projects and made transit a priority we could start to make progress towards that goal.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Thoughts on the new transit plan

The BC government has announced a new Provincial Transit Plan.

Finally something that addresses transportation, one of the biggest contributors to ghg emissions in BC. But is it enough?

It appears the first of the new projects announced won't be finished until 2014. This is after the Gateway Program highway expansion. This indicates to me that highway expansion is still the priority, not mass transit.


The goal of the plan is to increase ridership by 1-5% (depending upon the region) by 2020. This doesn't seem to be enough to meet the 33% ghg reduction that the province has set for 2020.

The plan has a goal of reducing ghg emissions by 4.7 millions tonnes "cumulatively" by 2020. I assume by "cumulatively" they mean over the course of the 6 years that the plan is rolled out. This number seems high given the 1-5% ridership change but if we assume it is correct that works out to about 0.78 million per year.

However, our current annual ghg emissions from light duty vehicles in BC are over 11.1 tonnes. That means that this plan will only reduce emissions by 7 % ! Not even close to the government's target of 33%.

Update: It turns out that 4.7 million tonnes figure is actually spread out over 12 years so the plan is even worse than I thought. It will reduce by less than 4% the emissions from light vehicles in BC.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Another City with a Congestion Charge

Milan, Italy has instituted a congestion charge. It joins other cities that already have implemented or tired congestion charges such as London, Singapore (the first scheme in the world, started in 1975, upgraded in 1998), Rome, Valletta, and Stockholm. With all the talk about Vancouver being a leader in sustainability why are we falling behind the rest of the world on this very effective measure?

Peter Ladner has an interesting post on why we might want to follow Singapore's example.


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