Friday, October 29, 2010

Retrofitting Suburbia

Last night, I attended a lecture from Ellen Dunham-Jones on retrofitting suburbia at SFU Surrey. You might know her from the TED Talks of the same name.

I suggest you check out the full talk, but I wanted to point out some of the interest demographics and stats that are pushing us back to the normality of urbanity. Before I get to the information from Dunham-Jones, I found some interesting information from a bulletin from City of St. Albert in Alberta.
New immigrants tend to make up a higher proportion of those living in lower income rental housing, but increasingly more are living in a home owned by relative. Anecdotal evidence suggests new home purchases in many of the outer areas of Edmonton and Calgary are increasingly being made by visible minority, extended families.

While still small, there is a growing trend of young families settling in urban centres in downtowns (Cohen, 2006, Slobodzian, 2007).

With the widening chasm between the poor and the wealthy, greater demands for affordable housing and housing supports will likely increase. This could be tied to increased demand for more compact developments with increased access to transit and other forms of transportation, a key component in improving affordability.

In the same study, projections suggest the demand for attached and small-lot housing will exceed the current supply by 71% while there will be insufficient demand for the amount of large-lot housing available.
Dunham-Jones points out that in the US in 2008 76% of suburban households don't have children. This stat is also valid in Canada.

Not surprising, the vast majority of her case studies show that more sustainable, mixed-use suburban retrofit developments are predicated on high-quality transit being available. One interesting fact is that in Florida, state law automatically allows high density, 25 story towers within a 5min walk and 8 story towers within a 10min walk of rapid transit stations. Could this be something useful for our region? Would it help with 200th Street in Langley?

Finally, mixed-use development provide three to 40 times the tax revenue compared to single-use developments which goes along way to providing sustainable funding for municipal services. No one likes tax increases.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

In many parts of Canada, local government elections have just wrapped up. I wanted to focus on two cities where change is in the midst. Toronto, once called the city that works and inspired great urbanist like Jane Jacobs, has elected Rob Ford who believes "It’s time to end the war on cars" by giving back the streets 100% to the auto. He believes that "Streetcars are not the answer to Toronto’s transit needs", "Subways make sense", and will remove on-street bike lanes. He wants to kill Transit City. Jacobs would be turning in her grave.

Meanwhile in Calgary, home of limitless sprawl, the Stampede, and big oil, citizens have elected Naheed Nenshi for mayor. Nenshi believes that "Calgarians will be able to get around easily by any mode of transportation", "Calgary will be a city of sustainable, walkable, livable, complete communities", and "Calgary Transit will be a preferred choice, not the last choice."

I wonder if anyone else notices the irony...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

UBC vs South of Fraser

Not surprising, some noise is being generated at UBC around the fact that their rapid transit line is now number three in line after the Evergreen Line and Surrey Line. An article from the Burnaby News Leader has all the facts and figure about how Broadway is the busiest transit corridor in the region and UBC is the second biggest transit destination in the region, but it fails to see the point in why Surrey has moved up in the list of rapid transit priorities.
UBC Alma Mater Society president Bijan Ahmadian said the line to UBC should be rated an "equally urgent priority" to the Surrey-area expansion.

"UBC is the second-largest transit destination in the region," he said, adding the 100,000 daily riders pack 99 B-Line buses that serve the Broadway corridor, more than the ridership of both the Canada Line and the Millennium Line.

"Metro Vancouver staff have gone above and beyond their jurisdiction to undermine a project that is about the sustainability of the region by pushing it back 30 or 40 years."
While UBC serves captive transit riders and Broadway is an established "streetcar corridor" with high transit modal share already, rapid transit is being proposed to try and shift modal share away from the auto and define the future of the South of Fraser to something more sustainable. This in an important goal for our region. How anyone at UBC can even dare to talk about regional planning is a shocker to me since they requested and we granted an exemption from the Province to not be subject to Metro Vancouver's regional planning policies. Rapid transit to UBC will not have the same profound effect on our region as it will have in shaping the future of the largest growth area in Metro Vancouver; the South of Fraser.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Save the Date - Big Events

South Fraser OnTrax is proud to present our second annual Sustainability on the Edge Lecture Series. This year our keynote speaker will be Dan Burden who Time Magazine called “One of the 6 Most Important Civic Innovators in the World.” He will be speaking on “How we got into this mess and our way out” along with other sustainability minded developers and local government staff from the South of Fraser. We would like to thank our local government sponsor the Township of Langley for providing the facilities and partial funding for this event.

Saturday, November 20, 2010
9:00am – Noon
Township of Langley Civic Facility

With the help from the City of Langley, we will be hosting our first ever “Living Green, Saving Green” workshop. Our keynote speaker will be David Suzuki's Queen of Green Lindsay Coulter. She will help you live green and save money by answering your questions about everyday green living to offering up tips and recipes. BC Hydro will be on hand to give a presentation on energy saving in the home and provide help with accessing various energy saving rebates available.

Saturday, November 27, 2010
1:00pm – 3:00pm
Douglas Recreation Centre

Please save the dates as you won’t want to miss these events. More details will follow in the coming weeks.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Picture of the Day - Fort Langley

One of the great things about established neighbourhoods are the tree-lined streets that provide a real sense of place and an "outdoor room." The following pictures are from Fort Langley and is part of my Monday posts showing that urbanity does exists in the South of Fraser.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Conservative Case for Public Transit

Grist Magazine has an article about a book called "Moving Minds: Conservatives and Public Transportation". In the article, one of the co-authors William Lind is interviewed. I suggest that you read the whole article, but here is a snip.
The fundamental reason conservatives should support public transportation is because traditionally we've been strong on national security. The country's single greatest national security vulnerability is our dependence on imported oil. For at least half of the American population, that dependence is complete; that is to say only half of the population has any public transit available at all. The first conservative virtue, as Russell Kirk argued, is prudence. It strikes us as wildly imprudent to make our mobility hostage to events in unstable parts of the world.

The second [reason] is that there is a myth that has grown out of the libertarian camp -- libertarians and conservatives are often confused, but in fact they're very different -- that somehow public transportation is subsidized and highways are not. Well, that's nonsense. The latest Federal Highway Administration statistics show that user fees, including the gas tax, only cover 58 percent of the direct costs of highways. That's not even looking at the vast indirect costs. And many rail -- not bus, but rail -- public transit systems are able to cover 50 percent and more of their expenses out of the fare box. Of course they're all built with government money, mostly federal, more federal in the highways than transit. Highways get 80 percent federal; normally transit only gets 50 percent. So the picture that many conservatives have that it's a matter of free enterprise versus subsidy couldn't be more wrong.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

SFU/City of Surrey Transportation Lecture Program - MoT

Over the last few weeks, I have been attending the SFU/City of Surrey Transportation Lecture Program which is hosted at SFU Surrey. Last night, we heard from John Schnablegger who is a planner at the Ministry of Transportation. Before I get to the good stuff, I wanted to touch on some of the questions I asked Mr. Schnablegger about the Port Mann/Highway 1 Gateway expansion project. I asked about what strategies the Province has used to manage the demand for the provincial highway network in Metro Vancouver. I wasn’t given a clear answer. I asked about the stat from Statistics Canada noting that our region was the only one in Canada to see an average decrease in commuting travel times. I was told that Stats Canada didn’t know what they were talking about and that selected commute times have increase on average 8 minutes a year. To be fair to Mr. Schnablegger, he was probably talking about the 0.7% of trip within our region that travel between Langley and the North Shore. Also, I did a fact check and found that our region was the only region in Canada to see no change in travel time between 2001 and 2006. It takes 45min to drive from Langley City to Downtown Vancouver when there is no traffic. Certainly from 2000 to 2010, the drive time didn’t go from 45min in peak period to 2 hours and 4 minutes. When I have used a company vehicle (which has been twice this year) to drive from my home in the City of Langley to work in Downtown Vancouver during peak periods, it takes 1 hour and 30min as a single-occupancy vehicle. The Stats Canada survey was looking at all trips in the region. If there is one thing we know about this region, it is that we don’t have a central city/suburban travel pattern. That’s why 80% of all trips in the South of Fraser are internal. Anyway, on to the good stuff.

I asked Mr. Schnablegger why the Province didn’t give the Lions Gate Bridge to TransLink when the rest of the secondary highway network was transfer over in 1999. He said that it was because the Province thought it was unfair to burden TransLink with the cost of upgrading the bridge. He mentioned that he foresees many roads that are current provincial assists being transfer to TransLink in the coming years. On top of that, he said that it was never envisioned that TransLink would have to pay for capital programs with its current funding model. He said, for example, that gas tax would need to increase from 18 cents to 30 cents a litre to make TransLink's current revenue model work. Not to put words into his mouth, but that would suggest that the federal and provincial governments should be the ones coughing up the cash for capital. Another positive comment was that from 2014 to 2021, the Ministry of Transportation will be out of the road building business in Metro Vancouver and will essentially become a transit agency. I hope this is true and it will sure be a departure from years past. It was great to hear from the Ministry of Transportation and speaking to others in the Ministry, I think there is a change afoot.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Last Nights Meeting - ALC

Last night, I delivered a presentation on the report that we put out in August called "A Snapshot of the Agricultural Land Reserve from 2000 – 2009 in the South of Fraser". You can follow the link to find more information on the report and download a copy. We also had a good chat about how mixed-use development is going to provide the case for transportation choice in Langley.

We also talked about two events which we are hosting in November. Mark you calendars for November 20th, as we will be having our annual Sustainability on the Edge Event in the Township. On November 27th,  we will be hosting a Living Green, Saving Green workshop in the City.

Decade of Exclusions - A Snapshot of the Agricultural Land Reserve from 2000 - 2009 in the South of Fraser
View more presentations from sfot.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Meeting Tonight

Our next meeting is today starting at 7pm in the Yorkson Creek
Meeting Room, Township of Langley Civic Facility, 4th Floor
20338-65 Avenue.

The month we will be speaking about the Agricultural Land Reserve
report that we put out in August. Also, we will be touching on the
two events that we have planned for November.

Metro Vancouver 2040 - Shaping our future

Sorry for the month delay in posting this. I was waiting on Metro Vancouver to send us the presentation. I will update this post if Metro Vancouver sends us the presentation.

Last night, we had the pleasure of hearing from Ray Kan who is a Senior Regional Planner with Metro Vancouver. He spoke on Metro Vancouver's Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy. I suggest that you check out the audio and presentation below as we had a great discussion around regional planning in this region.

I wanted to highlight one thing that we talked about at the meeting which was on the matter of increasing housing options and density in single-family housing neighbourhoods. As we've seen from Vancouver to Langley, when neighbourhoods densify there is normally some citizens that become irrationally fearful about the change. We were told that Metro Vancouver was going to work closer with local government is educating people about the many positive effects of housing diversity which far outweigh any negative effects. This will be important as the region looks to add 1 million more people into the same urban footprint.



Monday, October 18, 2010

Picture of the Day

In my new picture series to showcase the fact that the South of Fraser isn't all single-family housing and strip malls, I took a picture of one of the many in-fill apartment buildings that are popping-up in the City of Langley. Over the last 20 year, the City has transformed its areas north of the Nicomekl River into multi-family housing. Density to support transit and active transportation can be achieved with the low-rise 4-6 story buildings that are being built in the City.

New Apartment Douglas Crescent at 206th Street
The Next-Door Neighbours
The apartment is being built in what used to be a single-family housing neighbourhood

Friday, October 15, 2010

TransLink Public Consultation on Surrey Rapid Transit Study

Last night, I attended the first in a series of public consultations on the Surrey Rapid Transit Study in Langley. You can check out TransLink's website for a complete list of workshops and information on the upcoming webinar.

The event was well attended and TransLink provided a list of several rapid transit alternatives for us to go over from Bus Rapid Transit to Light Rail to SkyTrain. One final alternative was called “Best Bus” which seemed to be the baseline that all other alternatives could be compared to. All the alternatives focused on providing rapid transit service along Fraser Highway, King George Boulevard, and 104th Avenue.

We were split into four tables and each table spend 20 minutes each listening to experts and providing feedback on the different rapid transit technologies and alternatives. This first phase of the public consultation was not about picking the best alternative, but to make sure that TransLink captured all the possible alternatives.

One question brought up by several tables was why the Interurban was not included as a possible corridor. Also, I had a question about why the rapid transit connection to Langley City seemed to get the most BRT treatment while 104th Ave/King George seemed to get the most rail treatment in the alternatives. This confused me because according to the study area data, Surrey City Centre will see huge population growth and the Langley Regional Centre will see equally large employment growth. In fact, Langley will see more employment growth than Guildford, Newton, Fleetwood, and South Surrey/White Rock combined! By 2041:

Surrey City Center
Population: 82,000
Employment: 54,000

Population: 38,000
Employment: 25,000

Population: 8,400
Employment: 3,000

Population: 25,200
Employment: 16,000

White Rock/South Surrey
Population: 21,600
Employment: 13,300

Langley Regional Centre
Population: 39,000
Employment: 68,000

A wise planner once told that in order for rapid transit to be successful, it needs to go to major employment areas. Langley is a major employment area and I believe it deserves a higher quality of transit service.

It will be interesting to what TransLink comes back with in the spring as the alternatives get refined.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Regional Tolling

One of the challenges that must be addressed when implementing a user-pay road system is the issue or perceived issue of equality. The Vancouver Sun has a article that sums up that thought from Mayor Lois Jackson of Delta.

"It really is a conundrum because the jobs are downtown but they don't want any cars downtown, they want bicycles and that's not just possible for us," said Jackson.

"Pay as you go has always been in the back of my mind. However, if you think about people on low wages and fixed incomes and the only job they can get is in North Vancouver, should they have to pay a toll for the Massey Tunnel or Alex Fraser? Then you have to go over the Queensborough and Second Narrows (bridges), so when does that end?"

Now the irony is that Delta has really good bus service (their buses even have A/C [which they don't have in Surrey or Langley]) into downtown Vancouver and only 0.7% of trip go from Delta/Surrey/White Rock into North Vancouver. Of course the point is that our region is going to need rapid transit in the South of the Fraser for user-pay roads to be politically possible. Also, the taxpayer is certainly going to want every last penny from road pricing to go back into improving public transit and making sure that roads are in a good state of repair. But, I guess I'm getting ahead of myself as we still don't have funding for the Evergreen line...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Surrey Rapid Transit Study Alternatives

TransLink has released a laundry-list of potential technologies (BRT, Light Rail, SkyTrain) and alignments for the Surrey Rapid Transit Study. While you can check out the details on their website, there is basically rapid transit of some form along King George Boulevard to White Rock, 104th Ave to Guildford, and Fraser Highway to Langley City. The fact that rapid transit is planning on going straight to Langley City is a testament to the work that the City of Surrey has done in the East Clayton Neighbourhood in Cloverdale and the City of Langley has done with their Downtown Master Plan. Missing from the plan is any transit options for the 200th Street corridor, but looking at the recent public hearing about adding density along 200th, I wonder if people in that part of town even want it?

Joe and I will be at the Community Consultation Workshop tomorrow from 6pm to 9pm at the Langley Hampton Inn. We will give you an update on the study Friday.

Next Meeting

Our next meeting is coming up on Tuesday, October 19 starting at
7pm in the Yorkson Creek Meeting Room, Township of Langley Civic
Facility, 4th Floor 20338-65 Avenue.

The month we will be speaking about the Agricultural Land Reserve
report that we put out in August and will be speaking about real
estate income trusts and the challenges they present to mixed-use
development in Langley. Also, we will be touching on the two events
that we have planned for November.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Picture of the Day

When I talk to and listen to people from the "other" side of the river about the South of the Fraser, I usually hear things like "the suburb's suck," "there are apartments in Langley?!", "there is nothings to do", "you can walk to the grocery store?!", etc. There is also this notion that the region revolves around the City of Vancouver and that the vast majority of people in the South of the Fraser work in Vancouver.

When you look at the stats, you will see that Metro Vancouver doesn't have a central city/suburbs travel or a built pattern. We have a collection nodes. From a purely travel standpoint, Burnaby, Richmond, and the North Shore could be considered a suburb of Vancouver; and Langley could be considered a suburb of Surrey, but that is a stretch.

Anyway, I'm going to start posting picture from around the South of Fraser from time to time hopefully educating those that may be ignorant about life in my part of this region. The following picture is of people lined up at a bus stop in Fort Langley during the annual Cranberry Festival last weekend. Yep, there's things to do and people that take transit out here!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Vital Signs

The Vancouver Foundation released a report card this week called "Vital Signs for Metro Vancouver". Our very own Joe Zaccaria was interviewed as part of this report card. The report card looks at public perception of livability and the factual indicators of livability within Metro Vancouver.

Take transportation and environmental sustainability in the region. People gave our region a "C" for transportation with expanding transit and making it more affordable on the top of  actionable items. On cycling, research indicates that 90% of people feel comfortable riding on routes that are separated from cars while only 51% are comfortable on roads with parked cars. On environmental sustainability, citizens gave our region a "B-" with improve transit service, reduce reliance on cars, and cutting down on waste as important regional initiatives.

These facts a good to know as our region shift from an auto-dependent region to an inclusive transportation region (ie: the bike lanes in downtown Vancouver.) Also while TransLink, the Province, and mayors are struggling to find common ground on funding public transportation; this report card shows that taxpayer wants improved service now (and there is only one taxpayer.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

202 Street Park & Ride and Transit Exchange

As part of the Provincial Gateway Program/Highway 1 expansion program, a new park & ride and transit exchange will be built at 202nd Street on the south side on Highway 1. This 800 space park & ride facility will also connect to the HOV lanes on Highway 1 and over into Walnut Grove via a transit only/vanpool lanes underpass.

A design concept drawing of the Park & Ride site, which includes up
to 800 parking spaces and a new transit exchange that will act as the
eastern hub for the new RapidBus service across the Port Mann
From what I hear, there is also interest in developing a transit-orientated, mixed-used development near this facility. If the stars line up, this could be the first of this type of development in Langley Township. Construction is ramping up this year and will be complete by the spring of 2012 in time for the new express bus (BRT) service between Langley City/202 Street Park & Ride/Lougheed Town Centre SkyTrain.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TransLink Municipal Update

On Thursday, October 7th TransLink will be meeting with municipal leaders to review the potential 2011 funding supplement to help pay for the Evergreen Line and other provincially mandated projects. I received a backgrounder that was sent out to local councils on October 1st. This supplement is only the first step as there is still on going discussions about long-term funding for the agency.

The backgrounder presents a list of project that could be funded in the supplement and presents an "A" list and a "B" list. While the document talks about a special 50/50 analytical method used to priorities projects, it basically is weighted 50% for Transport 2040 priorities and 50% for projects that have federal and provincial dollars behind them. This is how the Evergreen Line and North Fraser Perimeter Road Phase 1 (United Boulevard Extension) jump the cue and become the two "A" list items. Other items like the King George Boulevard B-Line Service which scored the highest on the Transport 2040 priorities got bumped to the "B" list.

B List Priorities Include:
-Main Street Station Upgrades
-Metrotown Station Upgrades
-King George Boulevard B-Line Service
-Guilford to White Rock via Surrey Central (104th & King George Blvd)
-Bus Service Hours to Meet Minimum Guidelines
-Restore funding to Bike Capital
-Surrey Central Station Upgrades
-Restore funding to MRN Minor Capital
-Highway 1 Bus Rapid Transit Project
-New Westminster Station Upgrades
-Lonsdale Quay Upgrades
-Bus Service Hours to Accommodate Population Growth
-Bus Service Hours and Infrastructure on U-Pass Routes
-White Rock to Langley Bus Service

As property tax is the only way to pay for these project at the moment, TransLink has costed the "A" list to increase the average homeowner's tax bill by 9 cents a day or $31 a year. Adding the "B" list will bring the total tax bill to 15 cents a day or $54 a year (less then a cup of coffee!)

If the mayor council only approves the "A" package, I think that the some 650,000 (30% of the region's population) people that live in the South of Fraser may think that once again we are paying for "Vancouver's" transit.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Employment Density

One of the misconceptions about building transit-friendly cities is that you need big towers everywhere. In the City of Langley, 4-story apartments are being approved almost monthly. The latest proposal (p. 26) will see 80 units per acre. This is more than enough density to support transit service from bus to rail. One thing that we do well at as a region is residential density. Of course for effective public transit, you need employment density as well. I could argue that employment density is even more important. If you can't take transit to work, it doesn't matter is you live in the tallest tower in the region.

Employment density is an area that the South of Fraser struggles with; just look at the Langley Bypass. In Metro Vancouver, 38% of our employment lands can't be served effectively with transit. While uping density in residential areas can create political issues, designing transit-friendly and mixed-used employment areas should be a no-brainer. Areas like Willowbrook and Carvolth Business Park (200th St by Highway 1) are the real areas we need to look at improving in Langley. Willowbrook has already seen a few mixed-used development with more on the way, but according to the plan for Carvolth, mixed-use is not even on the table! This must change if we want to see employment density that supports sustainable communities.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Small Lot Size coming to Langley City?

Langley is a very interesting city in that it is split in half by the Nicomekl River Floodplain. North of the river is mixed use, medium density residential, industrial, and commercial property. The south side of the river is single-family houseville.

The City of Langley has been looking at increasing the density in the south side of the river for some time. This started with legalized secondary suites in December 2006. Now the City is looking at introducing infill, smaller-lot houses to increase diversity and density in the area. Not surprising, the community is almost split 50/50 on the issue. What I don't get is that people with large lots have the opportunity to make a bit of money with the proposed changes, so you'd think there would be more support.

Anyway, the City start public consultations tomorrow and have a web page setup where you can read more about the proposed changes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

SkyTrain Extension to Langley City and Rapid Bus to Chilliwack

Well, the bombshell of sorts was dropped today at the Union of BC Municipalities meeting in Whistler. Premier Gordon Campbell addressing the group promised SkyTrain to Langley City. He said:

"It's time to get started doing the SkyTrain to Langley City which has planned itself to actually provide the opportunities for the future that are required to make sure that transit works. It's time to get ready to build a rapid bus from Langley to Chilliwack. It's time to build rapid transit to UBC. It's time we got started. We decided finally on the technology. We made the decisions within the next year so we can get on with building the kind of communities and cities that we need that will serve the needs of our citizens."
You can read the whole speech here. There is talk of more highway work and new park initiatives. It is a bit disheartening to us LRT advocates I must say. While we agree with rapid transit in Langley City and the Township, we want something that is sustainable, efficient and makes good business sense. A SkyTrain station is $30M-50M and an LRT station is only about $5K. Besides the capital costs to build this, what will the operating costs be? I have mixed feelings about this plan and mostly I'm thinking we could get more bang for our buck and more areas of Langley serviced by other modes. I have to politely disagree with the Premier on this one.

Hat tip to Mike MacDonald for directing me to this CBC article.

News Update

There is a great article in the Victoria Time-Colonist called "Driving transit into the future". It talks about how to improve the fare box recovery ratio for BC Transit by making transit more accessible and by pricing car travel.
It doesn't matter whether you ever use transit, you're paying for it. And you might be paying far more than you realize -- about 77 per cent of the cost of keeping those buses on the road.

And that, as B.C. Transit CEO Manuel Achadinha says, needs to change.

Make buses faster than cars. Buses already have priority lanes and the right of way when they are pulling away from stops -- but how about a bus-only flyover at McKenzie and the Trans-Canada Highway? Or dedicated lanes so buses could breeze past cars?

We could also consider parking taxes, which could raise money for transit while encouraging people to leave their vehicles behind. It would only work, however, if it reduces the number of cars downtown; if it simply becomes another way to subsidize transit, it would miss its mark.
Meanwhile in Toronto, the Tornto Transit Commission is having a showdown with the province over what type of fare system to have: an open fare system that would accept debt and credit cards as fare media that could be used a pay-as-go or as passes, or the province's $250 million Presto smart card system. According to the Toronto Star:
Open fare payment versus smart card has been a point of contention between the TTC and province. Under open payment a rider pays with a credit or debit card or cell phone and the cost of managing fare collections would go to an outside provider that would make money on the transaction fees.

A smart card system requires riders to “load” the card with money and the fare is deducted when the card is scanned.

So fare the province has committed $250 million to developing the Presto smart card for all nine regional transit providers, including the TTC. The TTC is considered essential to Presto’s success because Toronto provides 85 per cent of the transit trips in the region. But as the largest system the TTC is concerned about paying for the Presto system.
On a side note, the Chicago Transit Authority is moving to an open fare system.

Finally in Seattle, Metro Transit will be adding a slew of express bus services according to Crosscut:
On Saturday, Metro fires up its long-awaited entry into a form of service that has proliferated, really, across the globe: bus rapid transit. On Rapid Ride Line A, 16 new buses will run almost a hundred times a day in each direction on Pacific Avenue South between Federal Way and Tukwila, connecting a string of big transit destinations, including, for example, Highline Community College and Sea-Tac Airport.

There are five more Rapid Ride lines to follow.