Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stats stats stats

I was busy at the Statistic Canada website pulling together stats about mode share for work/school journeys. I wanted to see the difference between the 2001 and 2006 census. I have tabulated the data for you, with a focus on South Fraser communities. I also put Vancouver and Burnaby in as a comparison for the South Fraser. I wanted to point out a few things.

Click on the graphics to make them bigger!

We all know that there is not enough public transit in the South Fraser, but over the last little while TransLink has improved service in some areas. You can see that all communities have seen gains in mode share. What is interest to see is the difference between the Township of Langley, which only saw a 1% gain, and the City of Langley which saw a 3.5% gain. This makes sense because the City of Langley has seen much more transit service improvements than the Township. Also, you can see that Abbotsford has seen virtually no change in transit mode share. This could be attributed to the lack of investment in transit service. Funny enough, it seems that the more transit service you provide, the more people will take it. It is encouraging to see that we are changing mode share, but I believe there is one area that needs major improvement.

Cycling in the South of Fraser is almost non-existent as a mode of commuting. In fact it has gone down since 2001. You can see that places like Vancouver (that have invested in cycling infrastructure) are seeing people cycling more. In the South Fraser, cycling infrastructure is a patchwork of bike lanes that start and end almost at random. We can do much better to promote cycling in the South Fraser. The Township of Langley has the right idea with their cycling network that is starting to form in newer neighbourhoods.

Finally, I wanted to point of that more people take transit in Calgary than Edmonton. Both Cities are very similar, but the major difference is that Calgary has way more light rail… Maybe light rail does attract people to transit after all. ;-)


Corey said...

Build it and they will come.

I believe this to be true when it comes to any type of transportation infrastructure that connects two destinations, and ultimately which mode people will take becomes a function of its quality/frequency/cost. Better road? More cars. Better transit? More riders. The "density is needed for transit" argument is a bit of a false one.

Good transit and bicycling infrastructure allows these modes to beat out cars even in relatively low-density areas. Unfortunately the mantra in the Lower Mainland seems to be "density first, then investment." But if you think about it, what developer in his/her right mind would invest potentially hundreds of millions in transit oriented development without a concrete commitment for permanent infrastructure?

Nathan Pachal said...

Yes, that's true. I think that why we are a bit off in the Lower Mainland. We need to shift away from this density first mindset...