Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Digging into the Data

Last week Joe blogged about a new snapshot series from the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD). Today, I would like to dig a bit deeper into the information.

Not surprisingly, in the FVRD most trips stay within their communities of origin. There are two main factors for this. First about 60% of all trips are “personal business” (running errands, etc.). Only 28% of trips are for getting to/from work/school. The 28% number is important though, because while the 60% is spread throughout the day, the 28% usually travels at very specific times of the day (aka rush hour).

Also interesting is that both Abbotsford and Mission have a higher percentage of people heading to Metro Vancouver than traveling to other communities in the FVRD for work. Of those trips, over half are heading to Langley and Surrey. As the following map shows, there is a strong case for building high quality transit (like light rail) between Abbotsford, Langley, and Surrey. Also, the West Coast Express should be beefed-up for better service on the North side of the river.

It would also appear that Chilliwack is very self-contained.

The fact that 60% of trips are for “personal business” mean that we need to look at ways if making it easier for people to leave their car at home while running errands and going shopping. Giving people mixed-use, transit-friendly development options will go a long way to giving people that choice. The real key is to then connect these developments together with a better transit, cycling, and walking network.

While many communities have about a one job per person in the workforce ratio, It doesn’t necessarily translate directly into "everyone that lives in the community work in the community." About 40% of all commuter trips, in Langley City and Abbotsford, travel less 5km. In the Township that number is about 25%. The following graph shows the percentage of people that work in their city of residents.

As a note, in 1996 71% of people worked and living in Abbotsford. In the Township of Langley, that number was 46%. There has been a steady improvement since the 1990's. It would be interesting to see the new stats for the Township and City of Langley. Ether way, we need to be providing a light rail backbone for transit in the South Fraser and Fraser Valley.

1 comment:

Corey said...

It's also important to note that the 2004 TransLink Trip Diary had a very low sample size, although I can't remember precisely what it was. The 2008 Trip Diary that will be released later this year should give a more accurate and up-to-date picture of travel patterns in the Fraser Valley.

Another important fact is that the census data in that purple map only tracks people with a "regular" place of work. So those numbers don't include trips for personal business (which the Trip Diary showed was a significant proportion of all trips), people with an "irregular" place of work (such as salespeople) or those too young or old to work.

Judging from personal experience (I currently commute from Vancouver to Chilliwack) there are more people on the highway than the census shows, although a detailed survey would need to be done to get concrete numbers on that!

By the way there are open houses for the FVRD's transit study being held all this week, so I would encourage anyone who is interested in transit-related issues to attend. A schedule can be found at http://www.srtfv.ca/