Transit versus trucks and cars in Metro Vancouver

Earlier this month, a report by Bruce Schaller, New York’s deputy transportation commissioner for planning and sustainability, showed that the influx of residents there embraced mass transit, as opposed to automobiles.

So how does New York City’s success with transit compare to Metro Vancouver?

To compare, TransLink provided me with a document called Transport 2040, released in October of 2007, and containing “key information, statistics and forecasts related to Translink’s 30-year strategy.”

It doesn’t provide an exact comparison with the Big Apple findings. But it does give a good glimpse into the kind of transportation trends seen in the Lower Mainland this decade.

Among the highlights:

  • All parts of Metro Vancouver saw population growth between 2001 and 2006 but it was fastest in Downtown Vancouver and the eastern and southern parts of the region.
  • In 2006, TransLink provided 5.1 million hours and 116.2 million vehicle kilometres of transit service. Public transit ridership has increased significantly over (those) past five years, from 129 million revenue passengers in 2001 to 165 million revenue passengers in 2006, an increase of 23 per cent.
  • But there’s also this:

  • In recent years, the number of cars in Metro Vancouver has been increasing at a faster rate than the population. Car ownership increased by 40 per cent between 1991 and 2006 compared with population, which increased by 32 per cent during the same period.
  • So the question then is, did the growth of car ownership lead to higher traffic volumes? And in Metro Vancouver, which mode of transport is actually winning: transit or traffic?

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