Last month, the (Mobility Pricing Independent) Commission released a report that outlined two possible policy approaches: congestion point charges — which involve charging someone a toll when they pass a certain congested point or location — and charging drivers for each kilometre they drive (varied by time and/or location). …
Price Tags will print all of them throughout the day.
All maps are available here.
MAP 1: Congestion Point – Downtown Vancouver

Why did we choose this example?
• Getting to, from and around downtown Vancouver was identified as one of the top congestion areas
• Good availability of alternative modes of transportation already exist in the area
• Downtown decongestion charging has been effective in many other cities Who would pay?
Who would pay?
People who drive past the congestion point charges would pay. However, this charge could be higher in very specific congested hot spots, and lower in less congested areas and/or with less access to transit. As social equity is a key consideration, we are still exploring discounts and exemptions for certain individuals.
Where and how would congestion improve?
Drivers may avoid travelling in and out of downtown Vancouver during peak hours which would reduce congestion. Congestion would be reduced in and around downtown Vancouver, major arteries and hot-spots that connect the rest of the region to downtown.
How much would I pay?
This charge may be just enough to prompt behaviour changes from some vehicle users with access to alternative modes of transportation. As affordability is a key consideration, we are still exploring what a price structure, discounts, and maximum charges (caps) could look like.
What are related considerations we heard in Phase 1?
• Consider the availability and improvement of transit and transportation modes to provide accessible and attractive choices for vehicle users
• Consider impacts on businesses downtown, particularly small businesses
• Consider equity implications, including discounts or exemptions for those who have fewer choices or lower income
• Consider impacts from traffic diversion
What about Bowen Island?
We know that Bowen Island residents already pay to ride the ferry. The project team will conduct further research for Bowen Island residents


  1. I never liked the idea of singling out the primary core of any region. Congestion in downtown Vancouver is largely a result of the car dependence of people from elsewhere so it should not be downtown alone that pays an economic price. Furthermore it doesn’t improve the dozens of other choke points in the region. The solution lies in reducing car dependence everywhere.

    1. They didn’t single out the primary core. They used that core as an example to get discussion going. You could have multiple zones like these just as easily. It contrasts with having a congestion charge on all of Metro, more than proposing any one or several areas for charges.

      1. Every reference on that map and accompanying explanation is about downtown Vancouver. If they’re talking more broadly they’ll have to be much clearer.

      2. These maps are interesting to review. But recall that they were part of a 3 hour workshop with multiple presentations, group exercises, opportunities to ask questions, etc. Here, they are simply snapshots of discussion starters.
        By showing multiple examples, with the same exercise questions, it became easier for the participants to tease out what the issues were in applying the various models. Questions on equity, fairness, positives, negatives, and so on. It wasn’t a debate about where the line was.
        I thought the workshop was worthwhile.

  2. they really need to come up with an app, where people can simulate their trip to effectively measure the impact of the toll
    I tend to lean for a scheme like below:
    where basically the toll is triggered when traffic goes above the red line (to “maintain free flow” traffic.
    If not “ideal”, the reason why that is better than other schemes are exposed here
    the good news, is that the Mobility Pricing I Commission seems to agree.
    …the bad new is the provincial government has killed any idea of road pricing in the region.

  3. It shouldn’t matter that Bowen Island residents “already pay to ride the ferry”.
    Under the existing regime – there is an extra cost to live on tranquil Bowen Island – the ferry cost.
    In the future scenario, likewise, there will be an extra cost to live on tranquil Bowen Island – the ferry cost.
    To subsidize them because they already have a ferry fare is to LOWER their burden relative to their existing burden.
    If you’re doing that, then you may as well subsidize residents of Surrey and Langley for the COST of their time for having to travel longer distances than residents who live closer to downtown.

    1. In a workshop discussion of ‘fairness’ for Metro residents in a future scenario with mobility pricing, someone must have raised the point that ferry fares are mobility pricing, that Translink doesn’t serve Bowen Island, that BC Ferries wasn’t part of the current discussion, and that Bowen residents are also Metro residents. I believe that all the workshop organizers were saying was that they weren’t going to solve that one right now, so let’s park it. Seemed reasonable.

  4. Pretty high level. Any details on cost per zone? 20 cents ? $1 ? $5 at rush hour going to $12 if still clogged ? Trucks $35 ??
    Anyone having to pay a toll will be very upset. What taxes are lowered in lieu ?
    Many folks happy to pay the toll to get more flow will likely not show up at “engagement sessions”. Only unhappy folks.
    It will be interesting as both NDP, Green and Liberal voters drive cars, live throughout MetroVan and no party has fully or at all endorsed it.

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