Since it may result in ‘pricing the ride’, and thus plunge motordom into a user-pay system, the road use charges proposed by Metro Vancouver’s Mobility Pricing Independent Commission in their final report, issued today, will no doubt raise anguished howls of outrage.
But the proposed charges, along with more (and better) alternatives like transit, are crucial to building a region that works. Without these charges, the future will be even less functional than it is now.
Read, if you dare, the Metro Vancouver Mobility Pricing Study: Findings and Recommendations for an Effective, Farsighted, and Fair Mobility Pricing Policy (55 pages)
Price Tags welcomes your thoughts – for your consideration, here’s an excerpt from Part 1. Context.
Metro Vancouver is growing, bringing lots of new opportunities.
By 2040 there are expected to be around a million more residents and half a million new jobs. The regional growth strategy Metro 2040, and the Regional Transportation Strategy define the pivotal role of an efficient, affordable, and sustainable transportation system in giving everyone access to the opportunities growth will bring.
Density brings many advantages. Being closer makes it easier and faster to get together, increasing opportunities for trade and innovation and increases our quality of life. A region that is more spread out means longer trips to get together and more time spent in traffic.
But our rising population and its demand for goods and services will bring more vehicles and a need to manage traffic growth. This will keep denser urban areas as attractive places to live and work. The regional growth and transportation strategies include a plan to explore demand management strategies, such as road usage charging. This is why the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation and the Board of TransLink established the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission (‘the Commission’).
Traffic congestion is a growing threat to those opportunities.
Imagine if those million new residents bring with them as many cars as Metro Vancouverites own today. There could be more than 600,000 new vehicles trying to find space on our already crowded streets. Congestion is already having an impact on our quality of life, our health and our safety, and our region’s economy. Estimates of the economic cost of congestion to our region range from $500 million to $1.4 billion every year. That means the costs of congestion are one of many things contributing to our region’s challenges with affordability.
From the Executive Summary: