How did a transit-backward town become a national poster child for ridership success? So asks CityLab; since 2007, the fastest-growing city in the country has added nearly a quarter million jobs (thanks in considerable part to Amazon), and has grown in population by more than 15 percent since 2010.
Remarkably, though, Seattle has not gained more cars in its most congested areas. The number of commuters driving private vehicles downtown has declined by 10 percent since 2010, even as new residents and workers have spiked. Read on >>
Kudos to Pat Doherty and her blog The Walking Commuter, in which she describes her walking route to work, and her commuting practice, which she started during a Toronto Transit strike a few decades ago.
In her blog, Pat asks a question that can also be asked in Vancouver: “Have you ever really needed to get to a bathroom while walking in Toronto – and not been able to find one? It seems to be a near-universal experience. But does it need to be? I think that the lack of public washrooms in Toronto discourages people from longer trips on foot that are not tied to shopping or eating out. Can’t we do something about it?”read on>>
Last month the Seattle Times sent reporter David Gutman up to Vancouver for a story on the similarities and differences in transportation between the two cities – an unusual commitment in this day of constrained resources. He talked to a lot of people (including Price Tags) and here is a much-abridged version of what he found. (Full story here.)
With three fully-built light-rail lines and an interconnected bus network, Vancouver’s transportation system is like Seattle’s, just a couple of decades in the future. But the Canadian city differs in its rock-solid commitment to building housing right on top of transit.
Metro Vancouver — which comprises Vancouver and 23 surrounding cities and towns — is a region being built, more and more, around its thriving and ever-expanding light-rail system. …
South Lake Union, home of Amazon and the epicenter of Seattle’s construction boom, currently has 15 major projects under construction, about evenly split between apartments and office space.
South Lake Unions are sprouting up at SkyTrain stops all over Metro Vancouver. …
“There’s different attitudes about density than in Seattle, that’s for sure,” said Kevin Desmond, CEO of TransLink, the agency in charge of transit and roads in Metro Vancouver. “But if you’re going to manage congestion, which is getting worse and worse in Seattle, you’ve got to get people nearer to transit.” …
Throughout the region, 146 developments are being built close enough to a SkyTrain station or track that they need special permission from the rail agency.
In 2012, there were only two such developments. … read on >>
There is a remarkable restored film that was made in 1911 in New York City by the Swedish company Svenska Bigrafteatern. The footage has been slowed down and there is unfortunately a soundtrack added that is not original.
It does show the remarkable time when streets easily incorporated all users, and formal pedestrian crossings had not yet arrived. read on >>
There has been a four-month demonstration project with double-decker buses being used by TransLink in Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Vancouver. The test buses were loaned by Alexander Dennis the firm that manufactures them. The trial was successful enough that Translink hopes to add 32 buses by June 2019.
Despite some early learning moments in Delta, including tree branch encroachments and low overhead wires, the double-decker buses were well received. These buses have an increased passenger capacity and a steady ride. An interim report as mentioned in the Delta Optimist indicated that passengers were 75 per cent more likely to take transit if it was a double-decker. There are a couple of hiccups~diesel double-deckers were found to be more compact and also more efficient, although that’s not necessarily the best fuel source for the environment. But the “panoramic views from the top deck, wide, well-lit staircase with handrails, a screen that allows riders to see vacant seats up top before going upstairs and full accessibility with a low step, flat floor and ramp for boarding” won over passengers.
The new double-deckers are being bought using federal gas tax funds, and will replace the more elderly Orion buses on some TransLink routes.
In March the Province of British Columbia enacted new rules for drivers of eighty years of age or more. Those drivers must have a doctor’s note submitted every two years stating they are “medically competent” and must undertake an on-road test or road assessment if required. This is similar to the Province of Ontario which instituted a licence renewal every two years for drivers over eighty requiring a vision test, a driving rules class, a driving history review, potentially retaking a driver’s test and detailing medical history.
Price Tags Vancouver has previously written about the fact that seniors are being targeted as prime users of autonomous vehicles, with AVs touted as a way to keep seniors mobile. Data collected from Statistics Canada in 2009 suggest that close to 28 per cent of drivers over 65 years and older are driving vehicles with some form of dementia. Statistics Canada data from 2012 shows that over the age of 70 years seniors have a higher accident rate per kilometre than any other group except for young male motorists. Seniors are also more likely to die in a vehicular crash. A poll conducted by State Farm in March 2017 found that “55 per cent of respondents would keep driving past 80 years of age. About 29 per cent would give up their license between ages 80-84, 16 per cent would stop driving before 90 years of age, while 10 per cent would keep driving after 90.”
The challenge is finding a balance between seniors’ mobility and road safety in British Columbia, and ensuring that seniors can continue to be independent. As an aging population there needs to be an increasing emphasis on the use of public transit, taxis and accessible services such as HandyDART and ride shares.
The magazine Driving.ca puts it bluntly: “If you’re 80 and over and facing this retesting every two years, how can you prepare? … do a walkaround on your car and honestly address any dings, scrapes and dents you don’t recall getting. Consider this quote from the American Automobile Association in the U.S.: ”Seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of 7 to 10 years.”
From City Councillor and Urbanist Patrick Johnstone, on the City of New Westminster’s Transportation Forums at Innovation Week:
Thursday March 1 would be a good day to spend in New Westminster if you are interested in learning about urban transportation and how we pay for it. As part of Innovation Week, the City of New Westminster is hosting free events all day where planning professionals, policy experts, and anyone with an interest in the future of the region can learn about how technology is changing transportation planning, and could re-shape the region. The day starts with a Keynote presentation by Robin Chase, the transportation entrepreneur behind ZipCar and Veniam. She will be speaking about a positive vision for shared mobility, based on her international experience at the cutting edge of car share and creating the information solutions required to make them work.
The day will be populated with panels featuring thought leaders in local government, academia, and private companies working in applying new technology to transportation. The conversations will be relevant to people working in planning, but also those interested in the region’s sustainability, and those who are trying to find opportunity in the disruptive aspects of the new tech. Panels through the day include:
· The future of, and challenges for, public entities managing Open Data to make transportation systems and cities work better;
· Electric vehicles, and how we can build the necessary infrastructure and data systems to support their charging needs in our existing built environment;
· Autonomous vehicles, and a “fireside chat” about what they mean for our economy, for mobility within our cities, and for our existing public transportation systems.
The evening forum will discuss Road Pricing Congestion Charges Mobility Pricing, and what it means to the Lower Mainland as the Mayors Council looks to implement some form of it to fund future regional transportation investment. The panel discussion will feature the Vice Chair of TransLink’s Independent Commission on Mobility Pricing, Joy McPhail, sustainable urban planning gadabout Brent Toderian, and Economist Marc Lee from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The combination should result in a dynamic discussion around what TransLink is trying to achieve, what it means for the shape of our cities and our region, and what the public policy implications are as we try to develop a “fairer” pricing system for transportation.
All events are free, you can come and go as you like, but the organizers would love if people can register to let them plan better.
It will be a long day, but don’t feel the need to pack a lunch, as the Anvil Centre is surrounded by several great restaurants and pubs if you need refreshments. Look for Councillor Patrick Johnstone to give you the best restaurant advice to fit your taste and/or budget! A list of the several events is available on the Innovation Week website:
Transportation Forums (part of Innovation Week)
March 1, 2018
10:00. Keynote by Robin Chase
11:00. Open Data 101
1:30. Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure
3:15. Autonomous Vehicles
4:00 Wrap-up and Reception
6:00 Mobility Pricing Independent Commission
Anvil Centre (across the street from the New Westminster SkyTrain Station)
Open to the public, limited seating, please register to assure a seat.
What do you do when you are the active transportation manager for one of the largest industrial parks in Great Britain? Milton Park houses 7,500 workers and 250 businesses on a 250 acre site. It is located near Milton Oxfordshire and is known for leading work on science and technology. If you are Veronica Reynolds the “Behavioural Change Advisor” at Vectos, you build connected bikeways and walkways, and secure funding for autonomous vehicle shuttles to move people around the industrial park.
The United Kingdom’s first trial of autonomous vehicles on public roads will be implemented here to reduce car usage in this industrial park by fifty per cent.Funded by Innovate UK, 2.5 million pounds has been awarded to trial self driving vehicles between the private roads within the industrial park and the public roads linking the site to the nearby bus and train network. Even though the industrial park is close to a transit station most travel to and from Milton Park is by private car. The new cycling paths and walkways augment the autonomous vehicle buses, which will also network in with the expansion of the site planned in the coming years. Commuters will book and pay for their autonomous vehicle shuttle to the industrial park from the transportation hub in one easy process.
“Veronica Reynolds said: “A key aim of the Milton Park Travel Forum is to work closely with the Park’s business leaders to future-proof the park’s transport offer. This innovative new project builds on the work of that Forum and its vision to provide more and greener travel options. We would like to thank everyone at Milton Park for the support we have received to date which has undoubtedly contributed to the success in securing this project funding.”
And that is how one active transportation manager had an industrial park in Britain become one of the first offering workers the opportunity of using an autonomous vehicle shuttle on their daily commute.
What can London, Stockholm and Singapore teach New York City and other places considering congestion pricing? The New York Times explores how these fees have been implemented and how they have resulted in less traffic, reduced congestion, and less air pollution. “Each city does congestion pricing in its own way. Singapore sets varying fees based on the road and time of day, and adjusts them in response to traffic conditions, with fees going up when there is congestion, and down when there is not. Stockholm also sets varying fees for a congestion zone covering the central city area, with the highest fees at the busiest times of day. But its system is less flexible than Singapore’s since those fees do not regularly fluctuate with traffic and any changes require the approval of Sweden’s Parliament.
“In contrast, London charges a simple flat-rate of $16 per day no matter how often a vehicle goes in and out of a designated congestion zone in the center of the city. In New York, a state task force has proposed a flat rate of $11.52 per day for passenger cars — and $25.34 for trucks — for entering a congestion zone in Manhattan that would stretch from 60th Street south to the Battery. Taxis and ride-hailing cars could face a separate charge of $2 to $5 per ride.” “All three cities invested heavily in technology and infrastructure before they rolled out their congestion-pricing systems. Stockholm spent the most — $237 million — to set up a system of gantries and cameras in 2007 that register and identify vehicles by snapping photos of license plates, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit policy and advocacy group based in New York that has compared the three systems.”
Costs were later recovered from congestion fees. “London receives about $230 million annually in net revenue, while Stockholm’s system raises $155 million and Singapore’s generates $100 million each year, according to the campaign. New York’s task force estimated its proposed congestion plan could raise more than $1 billion annually for public transit.”
Bike lanes, new buses and additional transit services have been added while congestion fees have doubled in London since implemented. Singapore plans to use satellites to replace their physical gantries and camera systems in 2020. And there are troubles even with road pricing~”London’s gridlock has returned, driven in part by an influx of Uber and ride-hailing cars that did not exist a decade ago. Singapore is working to make its system more efficient and less costly by turning to satellites to replace the physical gantries beginning in 2020.
“Daniel Hellden, a vice mayor of Stockholm who oversees the traffic division, said that congestion taxes have raised millions of dollars for building roads and highways, expanding the subway system, and making other investments in public transit. Torbjorn Heierson, a regional director for the Swedish Association of Road Transport Companies, which represents the hauling industry, said that he has come to see the benefits of congestion pricing. “We are expanding public transportation so that private individuals can leave their cars at home and make room for the professional drivers who have goods to deliver”.
You can read the whole article here.
From Councillor and Urbanist Patrick Johnstone, on the City of New Westminster’s Metro Conversation at Innovation Week:
The theme for the 2018 Innovation Week in New Westminster is Innovation in Transportation, and one of the events is a Metro Conversation that will challenge some of the assumptions made about the emerging and disruptive technologies that promise to change everything about how we move around our cities.
You may remember the brief Twitter dispute late last year between Transportation Tech Utopian Elon Musk and an actual Urban Transportation Expert. Jarrett Walker, among others, suggested that the transportation solutions the brightest engineering minds are working on (underground tunnels, hyperloops, automated vehicles, drone taco delivery) are some combination of not feasible or simply not addressing the actual problems facing transportation in urban areas.
Metro Conversations are a series of talk in Urbanist issues, but taken out of Downtown Vancouver into the surrounding communities, where the pressures of sustainable urban planning are perhaps felt more acutely.
This 5th Metro Conversation will be asking about Utopian visions for the future of urban transportation, and how they fit in our dream of more sustainable, more livable and safer communities. How realistic is the public discussion of the future of Automated Vehicles? What challenges do these disruptive technologies present to local governments? Are these technologies promising a vision we want?
The Panel will feature the Mayor of New Westminster, Jonathan Cote, District of North Vancouver Planner, Shazeen Tejani, and Adrian Bell of Activate Planning. As with all Metro Conversations, there will be questions from the Moderators, all City Councillors from around the Lower Mainland (Nathan Pachal from Langley City, Kiersten Duncan from Maple Ridge, Mathew Bond from the District of North Vancouver, and Patrick Johnstone from New Westminster), and lots of opportunity for the audience to ask questions and get involved in the conversation.
If four City Councillors can figure out the tech, it may be on Facebook Live (check out the Metro Conversation facebook page). But you are better off planning to be there in person! You can register here.
Metro Conversations are brought to you through a partnership with the SFU City Program and generous support from the SFU Public Square.
Metro Conversation (part of Innovation Week)
February 27, 6:30pm
Anvil Centre, room 417 (across the street from the New Westminster SkyTrain Station)
Open to the public, limited seating, please register to assure a seat.