Our Efficient and Equitable Transportation Action Plan identifies eight specific policies to create a more diverse, efficient and equitable regional transportation system. By improving resource-efficient travel, and providing incentives for travellers to use the most efficient options for each trip, it can achieve emission and traffic reduction targets and provide diverse economic, social and environmental benefits.
Our transportation system could be significantly more efficient and equitable if it had better mobility options and incentives for travellers to choose the most efficient option for each trip. Although few motorists want to give up driving altogether, surveys indicate that many would prefer to drive less and rely more on other modes, provided they are convenient, comfortable and affordable. The policies and programs recommended here respond to these demands, making everybody better off overall, including people who continue to drive.
This report describes eight policies to increase our transport efficiency and equity in our region. Most are not new ideas – this agenda simply accelerates and expands existing plans to create a more diverse, efficient and equitable transportation system. If fully implemented to the degree that is cost-effective these policies can increase walking, bicycling and transit travel by 50-100%, reduce automobile travel by 20-30%, achieve regional emission and traffic reduction targets, and provide numerous benefits. Everybody benefits, including motorists!
1. Accelerate Regional Transit Plan Implementation
BC Transit’s Victoria Transit Future Plan provides a strategic vision for improving our region’s transit network. It includes increased service (more frequency, destinations and operating hours), higher operating speeds (bus lanes, signal priority and faster loading), more comfort and amenities (better buses, stops and stations), plus improved user information and payment systems. It can include targeted fare discounts for lower-income residents. The only problem is its 25-year completion target; many of us will be dead before it is fully implemented! Accelerated funding will allow faster implementation.
Approximately 7.5% of current regional trips are by transit. The provincial target is to increase this to 12%. High-quality transit can leverage additional vehicle travel reductions, so each additional transit passenger-kilometer reduces more than one auto-kilometer. Completing the Transit Futures Plan can reduce regional automobile travel 5-10%, and more if implemented with the Transportation Demand Management (TDM) incentives and transit-oriented development described below.
Transit Future Plan implementation will increase operating efficiency and ridership, directly benefit users, provide independent mobility for non-drivers, improve public fitness and health, and reduce total automobile travel and associated problems including traffic and parking congestion, infrastructure costs, accidents and pollution.
Regional transit services currently cost approximately $350 annually per capita, of which about $250 is public funds and $100 is fares. Achieving the 12% transit mode share will require approximately 50-100% more funding, which translates to $125-250 in additional annual public funding per capita. These costs are likely to be more than offset by consumer savings.
Faster implementation will require additional funding. Federal and provincial governments generally provide money, but local match funding and support features such as bus lanes and stations are also required. Experience elsewhere indicates strong public support. Measure M, a funding referendum to accelerate Los Angeles’ transit plan won 67% voter approval.
2. Improve Interregional Transit Connections
Currently, public transit service between the CRD and nearby regions is infrequent and expensive. Victoria-Vancouver connections could be improved with better user information, integrated fares, as well as better bus service and comfortable bus shelters at ferry terminals. Connections between Victoria and Duncan could be improved with frequent (hourly) and affordable (up to $5.00 one way) bus service.
Experience elsewhere indicates that frequent and affordable transit service plus TDM incentives can significantly reduce auto travel. For example, although Maple Ridge and Fraser Valley Regional District residents make less than 4% of total trips by transit, they use transit for 14% of their trips to urban destinations and up to 40% of trips to Vancouver. The Puget Sound Regional Council’s TDM Program, which improved interregional ridesharing and transit services, increased transit mode share from 29% to 48%, and reduced auto mode share from 50% to 25% of downtown Seattle trips. These are similar in time and distance as trips between Victoria and Duncan.
Improved interregional transit services will reduce driver stress and vehicle expenses, provide more independent mobility for non-drivers, and reduce traffic problems including congestion, parking, accidents and pollution emissions along the entire corridor.
Frequent and affordable bus service between Victoria and Duncan is estimated to require $5-25 million in annual subsidies. Better transit connections between Victoria and Vancouver would cost, perhaps one million dollars annually, offset by more fare revenue. These are much cheaper than the full costs of expanding interregional highways and ferry systems.
These projects will require support and coordination among various agencies including the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, BC Transit, BC Ferries and regional districts, plus more multimodal planning and funding, so resources currently dedicated to highways and parking facilities can be used to improve and encourage public transit.
3. Improve Active Transportation (Walking and Bicycling) Conditions
Walking and bicycling play important roles in an efficient and equitable transport system. They provide basic mobility, connections to motorized modes, and healthy exercise. Improvements include sidewalks and crosswalks where lacking, more bike lanes and parking, separated paths, plus education, enforcement and encouragement programs. The CRD has a Regional Pedestrian & Cycling Masterplan, and local governments are improving walking and bicycling conditions, but implementation is slow due to inadequate funds.
Walking and bicycling improvements have proven effective at increasing use of these modes and reducing driving. For example, the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program, which invested about $100 per capita in active transport improvements in four typical communities, caused a 23% increase in walking and a 48% increase in bicycling, while reducing automobile travel. One study found that installing sidewalks on all streets in a typical North American community would reduce about 12 miles of driving for each mile of increased active travel. In 2017, 14% of regional trips were made by walking and 5.0% by bicycling. The CRD’s Regional Pedestrian & Cycling Masterplan predicts that suitable improvements could increase bicycling mode share to 15% region-wide and 25% in densely populated areas.
Walking and bicycling improvements directly benefit users, particularly people who cannot, should not, or prefer not to drive. They provide financial savings, health and safety benefits, and enjoyment, and by reducing motor vehicle travel, reduce traffic problems.
Provincial governments currently spend about 1-2% of their budget on active transport, averaging approximately $5-10 annual per capita. Victoria’s downtown bicycle network cost about $12 million over four years, or about $40 annual per city resident. Comprehensive walking and bicycle improvements typically cost an additional $50-100 annual per capita.
Coordinate planning among provincial, regional and local agencies. Increase funding for active transport facility improvements, plus education, enforcement, and encouragement programs.
4. Implement Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Programs
TDM includes various policies and programs that encourage travellers to use the most efficient option for each trip. The table below lists examples. In 2008 the CRD established a largely unimplemented regional TDM strategy. Some local organizations have successful programs: UVic’s Sustainable Transport program and Camosun College’s TDM program significantly reduced vehicle travel to their campuses. California and Washington states, and some cities, support TDM and mandate Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) programs for some employers.
|Local and Regional Governments||Employers and Developers||Provincial and Federal Gov.|
|School transport management
Mobility management marketing
Pedestrian and bicycling improvements
Road space reallocation
Local transit improvements
Encourage car- and bikesharing
Efficient parking pricing & management
|Locate in transit oriented areas
Commute trip reduction programs
Commuter financial incentives (parking cash out, transit subsidies, etc.)
Rideshare and closer commute incentives
Telework, flextime and guaranteed ride home
|Support and mandate CTR
Freight transport management
Multimodal transport planning
Fuel/carbon tax increases
Interregional transit improvements
High occupancy vehicle priority
Allow and regulate ridehailing
This table identifies who is responsible for implementing various TDM programs.
TDM programs typically reduce affected vehicle travel 5-15% if they only involve information and encouragement, and 20-30% if they also include financial incentives such as efficient parking pricing. Local programs both support and are supported by provincial and federal strategies such as carbon taxes and Pay As You Drive (PAYD) vehicle insurance and registration.
Some TDM strategies directly benefit travellers by improving travel options or providing rewards for reduced driving. Some strategies, such as efficient pricing and HOV priority measures, increase transport system efficiency. Virtually all TDM strategies reduce facility costs, and traffic problems including congestion, accidents and pollution emissions. By increasing ridership, TDM incentives increase the economic returns on investments in non-auto modes.
Costs vary depending on strategies and conditions. CTR programs typically cost $50-150 annually per employee but are generally repaid by parking cost savings and other benefits. Efficient road and parking pricing increases motorists’ costs but provides revenues.
Local, regional and provincial governments can implement some TDM strategies themselves, as well as require or encourage employers and developments to implement TDM programs. Since the province is a major Victoria region employer, it can be a major TDM program partner.
5. Encourage Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
TOD (also called Smart Growth and New Urbanism) refers to development policies that create compact, walkable neighborhoods along frequent transit corridors. This type of development maximize the number of jobs and homes located in areas where residents can reduce their driving. Consumer preference surveys indicate that many households want to live in such neighborhoods, and many businesses want to locate in TODs in order to improve customer and employee access, and reduce parking costs. Peer communities, including Edmonton, Hamilton and Saskatoon, have TOD guidelines and incentives.
TOD requires high-quality transit plus improvements to stations, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, and streetscaping, which typically cost $200-600 annually per capita, but are usually more than offset by road and parking cost savings, and property value gains.
TOD involves improvements to transit service, stops and stations, plus compact and mixed development, pedestrian and bicycling improvements, and reduced parking requirements along frequent transit routes. Since our regional population increases about 5,000 residents annually, efficient development requires adding 2,000-3,000 housing units annually in transit-oriented areas, or 50-150 units annually in each urban-core neighborhood, as described in Cities for Everyone’s 1.5% Solution for More Inclusive Communities. This can be achieved by allowing more “missing middle” infill in walkable urban neighborhoods in Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria, plus compact village development in Colwood, Langford, Saanichton and Sidney town centers. It should also involve restrictions on sprawled, automobile-dependent development.
6. Eliminate or Reduce Minimum Parking Requirements
Parking requirements mandate the number of spaces that must be included in a development, so parking costs are incorporated into mortgages and rents rather than paid directly by users. A typical community has 2-6 off-street parking spaces per automobile, representing thousands of dollars in annual subsidy per vehicle. Minimum parking requirements are described as a “fertility drug for cars.”
Many cities are eliminating or significantly reducing parking requirements. For example, Buffalo eliminated parking requirements in 2017, and Victoria recently reduced parking requirements. Critics sometimes imply, incorrectly, that this will eliminate parking and therefore driving; in truth it allows developers to determine parking supply based on user demands. The elimination of parking requirements typically reduces parking supply by 20-60% and shifts the market from subsidized to user-paid parking. For example, an apartment that currently rents for $2,000 per month with one “free” parking space would rent for $1,800 per month plus $200 for each space needed.
Reducing parking supply and shifting to cost-recovery pricing typically reduces affected vehicle trips by 10-30%. Reducing parking requirements allows for more compact development which helps create more multimodal communities and reduces travel distances.
Eliminating parking requirements can provide hundreds of dollars in annual savings per capita. It tends to increase economic efficiency and fairness by reducing the subsidies that non-drivers must pay for parking facilities they do not need. It also reduces vehicle ownership and use, and allows more compact development, which reduces traffic problems and sprawl-related costs.
Eliminating minimum parking requirements can reduce motorists convenience (they will have fewer free spaces) and cause spillover problems (motorists parking in undesirable locations) which requires more enforcement.
Municipal governments can eliminate minimum parking requirements and implement management strategies and enforcement programs to address any spillover problems.
7. Encourage Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles (including e-bikes and scooters, electric cars and electric buses) reduce petroleum consumption and pollution emissions. Electric vehicle technologies are improving rapidly, provincial and federal governments offer large financial incentives for consumers to purchase them. A major obstacle to electric vehicle use is a lack of public recharging stations. Local governments can support electric vehicle use by requiring public and private parking garages to be wired for rechargers, and developing networks of public recharging stations.
Because they are cheaper to drive, electric vehicles tend to increase motor vehicle travel. E-bikes and -scooters may reduce some local car trips.
Electric vehicle travel signficantly reduces the external costs of petroleum production and distribution (environmental damages caused by drilling, refining and transporting petroleum), traffic noise, local air pollution, and carbon emissions, particularly in our region because most of our electricity is renewable (carbon emission reductions are much smaller or non-existent where electricity is generated by coal).
Electric vehicle incentives, including government subsidies, regulations requiring garages to be wired for rechargers, and networks of public recharging stations are costly. Many public charging stations are free to use, and electricity vehicle users do not pay special fuel taxes, which is generally considered a road user fee. These subsidies currently total several thousand dollars per vehicle and are regressive (they primarily benefit higher-income motorists). The need for subsidies may decline as the electric vehicle matures, and if public recharging stations become priced and road user fees are applied to electric vehicles.
Require public and private parking garages to be wired for rechargers, develop networks of public recharging stations, and choose electric vehicles for public uses.
8. Commercial Travel Transport Management
Commercial Transport Management (also called logistics) includes various strategies for increasing freight and commercial transport efficiency. This can include more coordinated deliveries so fewer vehicle trips are required, improving routing and scheduling to reduce freight vehicle mileage and increase load factors (e.g., avoiding empty backhauls), using smaller and human-powered vehicles, particularly for urban distribution, increase freight vehicle fuel efficiency through design improvements and driver training. In resort areas, it can include tourist transport management. New technologies, such as freight brokerage websites and dynamic route planning, support commercial transport management.
Approximately 15% of total vehicle travel is for commercial activities. Case studies suggest that improved logistics can reduce commercial travel by 5-20%, and sometimes more.
Although only 10-15% of total vehicle travel is for commercial purposes, it includes large vehicles which are costly to operate and tend to impose large congestion, crash risk, noise and pollution costs, so efficient management can provide large savings and community benefits.
Commercial transport management program costs vary widely depending on specific conditions. Their costs are often offset by user savings and benefits.
There are many possible ways to increase commercial transport efficiency.
- Local and regional governments can develop strategic freight transport efficiency or emission reduction plans.
- Commercial centers and industrial parks can develop Transportation Management Associations and logistical centers that provide commercial transport coordination and support services.
- Transportation and port authorities can improve intermodal transfer facilities.
- Local governments can encourage use of smaller and human powered vehicles for local deliveries.
- Governments can encourage or require use of low-emission delivery vehicles.
The table below summarizes the eigh policies’ implementation requirements and travel impacts.
Table 2 Summary of Policies
|1. Accelerate regional transit plan implementation||Increase transit funding by 50-100% ($125-250 annual per capita).||Increase transit ridership by 60% and reduce auto travel by 5-10%.|
|2. Improve interregional transit connections||Coordinate planning and services among provincial and regional agencies.||Shift 10-30% of auto travel to transit on affected corridors.|
|3. Improve active transportation||Increase active transport program funding by $50-100 annual per capita.||Approximately double active mode shares.|
|4. Implement Transportation Demand Management programs||Local and regional governments can Implement TDM strategies and require TDM programs by large employers.||Reduce affected vehicle travel 5-30% and support shifts to other modes.|
|5. Transit Oriented Development||Transit improvements and local policy reforms to create compact, walkable neighborhoods along frequent transit.||Typically reduces affected residents’ and employees’ auto travel 20-50% and increases non-auto travel.|
|6. Eliminate or reduce minimum parking requirements||Local policy reforms to reduce parking requirements and more efficiently manage parking supply.||Reduced parking supply and efficient pricing typically reduce affected vehicle trips 10-30%.|
|7. Encourage electric vehicles||Develop recharging stations. Encourage electric vehicle purchase.||May increase total vehicle travel but reduces vehicle emissions.|
|8. Commercial transport management||Develop freight transport management plans and programs.||Can provide large reductions in congestion, crash and pollution costs.|
This table summarizes the eight recommended policies.
These eight policies vary in the types of travel they affect. Transit improvements affect regional personal travel, active travel improvements directly affect local travel, TDM programs can affect targeted travel (commuting, freight, tourism, special events, etc.), Transit Oriented Development affects resident and employee travel, and parking policies can affect all types of vehicle travel. Shorter walk and bicycle trips often substitute for longer car trips, so an increase in walking or bicycling often causes a larger reduction in auto travel, for example, if children walk or bike to school rather than being chauffeured with an empty backhaul (return trip).
Many of these strategies have synergistic impacts: they become more effective if implemented together. For example, a transit improvement by itself might only reduce driving 5%, and parking pricing might reduce driving 10%, but together they reduce driving 25% by providing both positive and negative incentives to shift mode. Similarly, transit improvements attract more riders if implemented with more compact development and improved walkability around stops and destinations. An integrated set of strategies can create communities where residents reduce their vehicle ownership, and non-auto travel becomes more socially acceptable, which leverage additional vehicle travel reductions.
If fully implemented these policies can increase walking, bicycling and transit travel by 50-100%, and reduce automobile travel by 20-30%, and more if supported by provincial and national strategies such as fuel tax increases and pay-as-you-drive vehicle pricing. This will achieve regional emission and traffic reduction targets as discussed in the following section.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section discusses various questions concerning efficient and equitable transportation strategies.
What Are Emission and Vehicle Travel Reduction Targets?
Many jurisdictions have emission reduction targets. These can be achieved through a combination of vehicle travel reductions and “cleaner vehicle” technologies (more efficient and alternative fuel vehicles). Vehicle travel reductions provide more benefits (consumer savings, reduced congestion, increased safety, infrastructure savings, improved public fitness and health, etc.), and are generally faster to implement than changing vehicle fleets, so most transport emission reduction plans achieve about half their targets through travel reductions.
Examples of Emission and Vehicle Travel Reduction Targets
- CRD: Reduce GHG emissions 61% below 2007 levels, by 2038, increase Victoria area transit mode share to 12% and double walking and bicycling by 2030.
- Victoria: 55% of trips are by walking and bicycling and 100% of neighborhood are “complete” by 2041, 25% of trips are by transit and 100% of personal vehicles are renewably powered by 2050.
- Canada: Reduce 2005 emission levels 30% by 2030.
- British Columbia: Reduce 2007 emission levels 40% by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 80% by 2050.
- Vancouver: Reduce emissions by 33%, reduce per capita vehicle-kilometres by 20%, and increase total walking, bicycling and public transit mode shares to 50% by 2020 and 66% by 2040.
- California: Reduce emissions 40%, reduce vehicle travel 15%, increase walking 400% and bicycling 900%, plus 10-50% transit and 10-15% active mode share in major transit hubs.
What Factors Affect Vehicle Travel?
The table below identifies various factors that affect how much and how people travel, and therefore their energy consumption and emissions. Local and regional policies can affect many of these factors. For example, multimodal planning and compact development can create neighborhoods where most children walk or bicycle to school, residents walk and bike for local errands, more commuters use public transit, and households can reduce their vehicle ownership, going from two to one car, or becoming car-free.
|Not Affected by Local and Regional Policies||Affected by Local and Regional Policies|
|· Residents’ age and physical ability.
· Incomes and local economic activity.
· Vehicle taxes and fees.
· Carbon and fuel taxes.
|· Transport options (quality and price of walking, bicycling ridesharing and public transit).
· Roadway design.
· Parking supply and prices.
· Neighborhood design (density, mix, proximity).
· TDM incentives and programs.
Many factors affect how people travel. Many of these are affected by local and regional policies.
What Traffic Reduction Programs are Successful?
Experience in other communities, including Kelowna, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and Vancouver, demonstrate that more multimodal planning and TDM incentives can significantly reduce driving and increase travel by resource-efficient modes, as illustrated below. Although most individual TDM strategies only affect a small portion of total travel, these and other examples indicate that integrated TDM programs typically reduce automobile travel 5-15% if they rely on information and encouragement, 10-30% if they also include financial incentives (such as cost-recovery parking pricing), and even more if they include transit-oriented development or large fuel tax increases.
The portion of travellers driving to the University of Victoria declined from 58% in 1996 to 38% in 2018, a 34% decrease, due to improved mobility options and TDM incentives. Similarly, Davis, California, Eugene, Oregon and Kamloops, BC campus transport management programs have helped reduce per capita automobile travel city-wide (Davis averages 18.8 DVMT, and Eugene averages 19 DVMT, over 20% less than the national average, and less than most peer cities).
These examples indicate that large vehicle traffic reductions can be achieved with an integrated program multimodal planning and TDM incentives. These strategies have synergistic effects: they are most effective if implemented together. This gives travellers better mobility options and incentives to choose the most efficient option for each trip: walking and bicycling for local errands, public transit when travelling on major urban corridors, and automobile travel when it is truly most efficient overall, considering all impacts. When fully implemented, they often reduce motor vehicle travel 20-30%, and cost less than expanding roads and parking facilities.
How Much Can This Agenda Reduce Vehicle Travel and Emissions?
As previously described, although each of these policies only affects a portion of total travel, their impacts are synergistic; they tend to be more effective if implemented together. They provide various travel options and incentives that allow households to reduce their vehicle ownership and stimulate more compact development, which leverages additional vehicle travel reductions. As a result, their total vehicle travel reductions can be large.
Their potential travel reductions can be evaluated based on peer community travel patterns. The table below compares daily vehicle miles travelled (DVMT) per capita for various U.S. urban regions similar in size to the CRD (unfortunately, similar data is not available in Canada). They vary from less than 20 to more than 40 DVMT. Vehicle travel reduction programs are equivalent to shifts from higher- to lower-DVMT communities. For example, a 20% vehicle travel reduction is equivalent to shifting from Chattanooga (35 DVMT) to the travel patterns of South Bend (28 DVMT), or from South Bend to Santa Rosa (22 DVMT). Substantial vehicle travel reductions can be achieved within the range of peer communities.
Although it is difficult to precisely predict the total travel reductions provided by this package of policies, large changes are possible. If fully implemented, these policies could increase walking, bicycling and transit travel by 50-100%, and reduce automobile travel by 20-30%, and more if supported by provincial and national strategies such as fuel tax increases and pay-as-you-drive vehicle pricing.
What are the Benefits of This Agenda?
Automobile travel is resource-intensive: it requires more road and parking space, and therefore more costly infrastructure, uses more energy, and generates more congestion, crash risk and pollution emissions. Targeted discounts, such as those in Portland and Seattle, significantly increase affordability. As a result, multimodal planning can provide a variety of economic, social and environmental benefits, as summarized below. Not every strategy provides all of these benefits, but most provide many. As a result, this agenda can provide numerous benefits, including many that are often overlooked or undervalued in conventional transport planning.
Table 4 Multimodal Transport Benefits
|Improved Mobility Options||More Use of Efficient Modes||Reduced Automobile Travel||Smart Growth Development|
|Better Walking, Bicycling, Ridesharing, Transit, etc.||More Walking, Bicycling, Ridesharing and Transit||Motor Vehicle Travel Reductions||More Compact and Accessible Communities|
|· Improved user convenience and comfort.
· Equity benefits (since users tend to be disadvantaged).
· Option value (the value of having an option for possible future use).
· Improved operating efficiency (if service speed increases).
· Improved security (reduced crime risk)
|· Mobility benefits to new users.
· Increased fare revenue.
· Increased public fitness and health (by stimulating more walking or cycling trips).
· Increased security as more non-criminals ride transit and wait at stops and stations.
|· Reduced traffic congestion.
· Road and parking facility cost savings.
· Consumer savings.
· Reduced chauffeuring burdens.
· Increased traffic safety.
· Energy conservation.
· Reduced air and noise pollution.
|· Additional vehicle travel reductions (“leverage effects”).
· Improved accessibility, particularly for non-drivers.
· Reduced crime risk.
· More efficient public infrastructure.
· Farmland and habitat preservation.
More multimodal transportation planning can provide many economic, social and environmental benefits.
Compared with conventional communities, residents of compact, multimodal communities:
- Spend 10-30% less on transportation.
- Consume less energy and produce 20-50% lower pollution emissions per capita.
- Have substantially lower traffic casualty rates.
- Are healthier and live longer.
- Have greater economic mobility (chance that children born in lower-income households become economically successful as adults).
- Spend less time driving and delayed by congestion.
- Require less land for roads and parking, which reduces stormwater management costs and heat island effects, and preserves openspace (farmland and habitat).
- Reduce costs of providing roads, parking facilities and public services.
What are the Costs of this Agenda and Who Bears Them?
This agenda would require $250-500 annual per capita in additional investments in active and public transit, and TDM programs, although these costs should be offset by road and parking facility cost savings. For example, bus service improvements are much cheaper than the full costs of expanding urban roadways and parking facilities, the Malahat Highway, or the vehicle capacity of ferry terminals and vehicles, so these programs could be financed by shifting funding from other transport budgets. In addition, these programs can provide large household transportation cost savings which can offset any additional taxes or fees.
The most effective programs include financial incentives. Parking cash out offers commuters who don’t drive cash benefits equivalent to the parking subsidies provided to motorists, which can pay for itself through parking facility cost savings (employers rent or build fewer parking spaces). Parking fee and fuel tax increases impose costs on motorists but generate revenue to their total impacts depend on how those revenues are used; if used to reduce other fees or taxes, or rebated to commuters or residents as a group, anybody who reduces their driving is better off overall.
How Does This Agenda Affect Households?
Most households would benefit from this agenda. Anybody who, at least occasionally, cannot, should not, or prefers not to drive benefits directly from improved mobility options, reduced vehicle traffic, and more compact, multimodal development. Motorists benefit from reduced traffic and parking congestion, reduced risk of crashing due to other drivers’ errors, and reduced chauffeuring burdens. Experience elsewhere indicates that residents of more multimodal, compact communities save on transport costs, have lower traffic casualty rates, and are overall healthier than residents of more sprawled and automobile-dependent areas.
For typical motorists, a 20% vehicle travel reduction requires using an alternative mode one out of every five trips. For example, they could commute by bicycle, ridesharing or bus once a week; walk or bike to neighborhood stores rather than driving to shopping centre for one out of five shopping trips; choose a home that is 20% closer to work and services; or live in a walkable, Transit Oriented Neighborhood for a greater portion of your life, especially when a young adult and retired. Many people can reduce a significant portion of driving by walking and biking for local trips enough to achieve physical activity targets of 150 weekly minutes of moderate physical activity, which provides about 8 miles of walking or 25 miles of bicycling. These reductions do not require giving up auto travel altogether; residents can still drive for whenever automobile travel is truly the most efficient travel option.
U.S. and Canadian surveys indicate that many people want to drive less and rely more on walking, bicycling and public transit, and live in more compact, multimodal neighborhoods, provided that they are convenient, comfortable and affordable. These policies respond to those demands by improving mobility options, rewarding travellers for using the most efficient option for each trip and creating walkable and transit-oriented communities.
How Does This Agenda Affect Businesses?
This agenda can affect businesses in the following ways:
- Improved travel options and TDM incentives reduce traffic and parking congestion, reducing costs to businesses and improving customer access. Parking cost savings reduce rents and allow more businesses to locate in central business areas.
- Increased community livability tends to attract customers and tourists, and improves employee recruitment and retention.
- More multimodal planning improves employee health and productivity.
- Allows more compact development, which increases economies of agglomeration, regional productivity and wages.
- Sales of automobile-oriented goods would decline, but these are offset by increased sales of other goods and services. Since automobiles and fuel are imported from other regions, these shifts tend to increase spending on locally-produced goods such as housing, food, entertainment and education, which increases regional economic productivity and incomes.
As a result, per capita economic productivity tends to decline with increased automobile travel.
Responses to Common Criticisms
“Our city is too small for transit or TDM.”
Every city is unique and needs an appropriate set of transport options and incentives, but experience around the world indicates that smaller cities can be particularly effective at reducing driving and shifting travel to sustainable modes, particularly walking and bicycling. Good examples include Davis, California (population 72,794) and Eugene, Oregon (population 247,421), both of which average less than 20 Daily Vehicle-Miles of Travel (DVMT) per capita, about 25% less than the national average. Our region already has higher rates of walking, bicycling and public transit than most peer communities, but we could do much better.
“These programs have never been implemented before.”
Every component of this agenda has been implemented elsewhere, and many have been implemented in this region. For example, both UVic and Camosun College have successful commute trip management programs that have significantly reduced automobile travel and associated costs, and BC Transit and MoTI have already started developing a bus rapid transit system between the Western and Core communities in our region; the agenda simply expands, accelerates and integrates such programs.
“Transit cannot serve all trips. I need my car.” (Cites example of automobile-dependent trip)
This agenda would not eliminate automobile travel – it recognizes that cars are the best option for many trips. However, most people make some car trips that could shift to more resource-efficient modes if they had better options and incentives; experience in other communities indicates that multimodal planning and cost-effective TDM incentives can shift 20-40% of trips in ways that benefit travellers overall, with financial savings and health benefits.
“These programs are unfair to motorists. They are a ‘war on cars’”
Motorists benefit directly from multimodal planning that reduces their traffic and parking congestion, risk of being a crash victim caused by other drivers’ errors, and chauffeuring burdens. In addition, many motorists would like to use alternative modes for some of their travel to reduce driving stress, for exercise and recreation, or when for any reason they cannot or should not drive. Multimodal planning lets this happen.
“These policies are expensive.”
These policies are inexpensive compared with the full costs to governments, businesses and households of automobile travel and sprawl. This agenda’s programs require approximately $250-500 annually per capita in additional funding but will provide $500-2,000 annual road, parking and vehicle expenses, plus large safety and health benefits. These are more cost effective than expanding roads and parking facilities to accommodate more driving, and so provide government budget savings. For example, frequent and affordable bus service between Victoria and Duncan would cost a fraction of Malahat Highway expansions and provide other benefits. It is also much faster to implement and more flexible than any infrastructure project and provides more long-term employment and economic development.
For More Information
BC Climate Action Toolkit: Transportation (www.toolkit.bc.ca/tool/transportation-plan)
Michelle Byars, Yishu Wei and Susan Handy (2017), State-Level Strategies for Reducing Vehicle Miles of Travel, UC Institute of Transportation Studies (https://its.ucdavis.edu); at https://bit.ly/2LvA6nn.
Climate Works (2014), Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change, Climate Works Foundation (www.climateworks.org) and World Bank (www.worldbank.org); at http://tinyurl.com/lgr75hl.
Co-Benefits of Climate Action (www.changingtheconversation.ca/co-benefits).
Kevin Fang and Jamey Volker (2017), Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions is Only the Beginning: A Literature Review of the Co-Benefits of Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled, National Center for Sustainable Transportation, University of California, Davis; at https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4h5494vr.
GCEE (2014), Better Growth, Better Climate: The New Climate Economy Report, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate (www.newclimateeconomy.report).
Christopher M. Jones, Stephen M. Wheeler and Daniel M. Kammen (2018), “Carbon Footprint Planning: Quantifying Local and State Mitigation Opportunities,” Urban Planning, Vol. 3 (DOI: 10.17645/up.v3i2.1218).
Todd Litman (2019), Rethinking Malahat Solutions: Or, Why Spend a Billion Dollars If a Five-Million Dollar Solution is Better Overall?, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (www.vtpi.org); at www.vtpi.org/malahat.
PPMC (2016), An Actionable Vision of Transport Decarbonization: Implementing the Paris Agreement in a Global Roadmap Aiming at Net-Zero Emissions Transport, Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), Global Climate Action Agenda Transport Team (www.ppmc-transport.org); at https://bit.ly/2mBWtZm.
Deborah Salon (2014), Quantifying the Effect of Local Government Actions on VMT, UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, California Air Resources Board (www.arb.ca.gov); at https://bit.ly/2NHsmkS.
Sarah Shenstone-Harris (2016), Have We Reached Peak Driving? University of Ottawa (https://bit.ly/2JjHRv0).