Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Port Mann Bridge: Traffic volume lowest in two decades

Transportation Investment Corporation, the BC crown corporation that is response for the Port Mann Bridge, recently released a report about traffic volume across the bridge.

2005 – 2014, January Average Daily Weekday Traffic Volume on Port Mann Bridge. Click graph to enlarge.

The whole justification used to replace the Port Mann was because traffic was suppose to continue to grow across the bridge. What is interesting is this is not the case. In fact even before the toll was introduced on the Port Mann, traffic volumes were dropping.

The average daily traffic volume in 1996 was 105,797. Traffic volume on the Port Mann today is at the lowest level in about two decades.

Besides the toll which is limiting growth, statistics are showing that since the mid-2000s traffic volume have been declining across North America. It seems that the Port Mann is just the latest example.

Reading the report that TI has put together, traffic volume during the weekday has dropped about 3% since tolls were introduced, weekend traffic has dropped 10%.

Just like the Golden Ears Bridge, the financial solvency of the Port Mann Bridge is based on increasing traffic volumes. Between the Golden Ears Bridge and the Port Mann, I have to wonder if taxpayers are going to be on the hook for billions of dollars due to poor planning. It is no surprise that province couldn’t find a private corporation to do a P3 with for the Port Mann project.

Traffic volumes have increased 1-2% on the Alex Fraser and Pattullo Bridge, but traffic volumes are down across the George Massey Tunnel.

Traffic volume peaked in 2004 through the Massey Tunnel, and have been dropping ever since. This is interesting because the province is looking at expanding and tolling this corridor.

If the province was actually interested in building a 21st century transportation system in Metro Vancouver, they would put a small $1.50 toll on all river crossing to manage congestion. They would use that money to keep our transportation system in a state of good repair. They would also work with the region to increase transit service (for which there is actually a demand.)

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