New Mobility
April 20, 2021

Transport 2050 Phase 2 engagement

TransLink is leading the development of Transport 2050, the region’s next 30-year transportation strategy.

Phase 2 runs from April 19 – May 14.

During Phase 1 in 2019, the region shared its values and ideas for the future of transportation.  In Phase 2, there are draft goals and three actions that could help transform the region:

  • People-first streets that invite walking, biking, and rolling
  • Fast and frequent rapid transit that’s a competitive choice for most longer trips
  • Automated vehicles that provide convenient access to car trips, without adding to congestion

 

For more information, see the Discussion Guide.

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Veronica Reynolds is the sustainable travel advisor for Milton Park which is a one square kilometre office and industrial park with 7,500 employees and over 250 organizations near London. She’s been very successful at getting people to look at other options besides motor vehicles for commuting, and has installed new walking paths and connecting cycling bridges around highway infrastructure. I previously wrote about her implementation of the first autonomous public transit shuttles in Great Britain to service the park.

Veronica asked me if I knew “what3words”.  I did not.

What3words is a geolocation technology that looks at the world made up of squares of three meters by three meters. That makes a whole lot of squares, and each square is given an address with three words. The addresses are translated into 43 different languages, and yes the addresses are not the translations of the same words.

Vancouver’s City Hall’s three word geolocation is putty.averages.closets.

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Cubic, the company that provides TransLink with Compass technology, collects data on how mobility is changing in cities around the world, including Vancouver.

As cities are starting to re-open, road congestion is growing while transit continues to lag, signaling that congestion may become more severe than pre-pandemic levels.

Here’s the one for April:

Lots of room for interpretation here. (What’s up with Singapore?)  Clearly there’s a big difference in Motordom cities like Miami and transit-dependent ones like London.  Vancouver, as expected, falls in the mid-range of change – except when it comes to walking.  Guesses?

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When technology and economy come together, that’s usually called a revolution.

You can get one of these electric scooters for a few hundred bucks at Canadian Tire:

 

Joe Sulmona says you may soon be able to get one of these if you need  more carrying capacity.

Bigger battery too.  From Euractiv:

Advances in technology mean that battery-powered heavy trucks can go up against their fossil-fuel counterparts on price and – with better charging infrastructure – on range, according to the study, conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), an independent research institute.

“A tipping point is in sight for electric trucks,” said Björn Nykvist, lead author and senior researcher at SEI. “Battery technology is very close to a threshold that makes electric trucks feasible and economically competitive. All that is missing is one companion component: fast charging.”

If you’d like to know more the evolution of one-person electric transportation and its impact on urban transit as a whole,  here’s a more definitive piece from Boundmotor:

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This morning on the Comox Greenway side of Lord Roberts Elementary School, an experiment began.  “School Street” – a pilot program for four weeks at three schools is, according Jeff Leigh of HUB (below left), designed to allow easier access by those who walk, bike and roll to class (or drop off their kids to get there).

Comox has been closed to vehicles for a block during drop-off and pick-up times, but it needn’t be so permanently if safe access was provided (like separated bike lanes, as has been on done on other parts of the greenway.)  There are still places for those in cars to access the school, but ‘School Street’ is as much a message as a physical change.

Here’s Dale Bracewell, the City’s Manager of Transportation Planning, who was present at the creation of the Comox Greenway years ago.

The West End was home to (maybe the first) traffic calming in North America back in the early 70s, and it has weathered various controversies that inevitably occur when changes are made to vehicle access and parking.  School Street is another in the generation of changes to the post-Motordom city.

 

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PT: Bob Ransford, who has been working on the Southlands project in Tsawwassen for years, brings another observation on change in that area:

Gordon wrote a few weeks ago about the wave of the future that has suddenly hit the beach with the recent popularity of e-bikes – not just in downtown Vancouver, around False Creek or the Stanley Park seawall, but on the hills of the suburban North Shore. It seems the perfect confluence of factors: an aging demographic, the yearning for pandemic-safe recreation, small, powerful batteries and falling prices for e-bikes, is suddenly manifesting in the form of a new suburban mobility.

On a weekend last September, in the midst of the pandemic, I was participating in the launch of sales for the first phase of housing at Southlands developed by Century Group – a new beach community rooted in farming and food in Tsawwassen.  On the two days, more than 3,500 came from near and far to wander through Southlands’ Market Square.

I was pleasantly shocked by the number of people who arrived on bicycles.  The tally of cyclists exceeded 730 cyclists over the two days.

What really caught my eye was the number of people who rode e-bikes to the event. Many of them were like me – aging boomers. Two of them were Tsawwassen residents Murray Pratt and Gord Sarkissian (below) who, in May, will be opening a new e-bike shop called Pedego Delta in a store-front space in Southlands’ new Discovery Centre building.

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Imagine if some all-powerful researcher suggested that as a society we shut down a good part of the economy for a few months, close offices and work places, shutter restaurants, clubs and theatres, stop most sports and arts activity, make it possible to realistically work at home, and, just for extra impact, close the borders.  And then see what happens to traffic before and after, how it changes as we tweak the restrictions, and what new patterns emerge.

Which is exactly what we’re doing.

I’m surprised we’re not getting traffic updates like we do the weather, and what new patterns are emerging from week to week.  We actually do have that data, and the City of Vancouver has been good enough to provide some of it (and hope to add counts regularly on VanMap).

Here’s the data that shows the reductions in average monthly volumes of traffic year over year coming into the City, and then onto the Downtown Peninsula – from the start of the pandemic last year to just last month:

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