Thursday, December 13, 2018

What will our transportation system look like in 30 years? TransLink trying to answer that question.

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation will be meeting this morning. On the agenda are two important topics: South of Fraser Rapid Transit Planning (SkyTrain along Fraser Highway) and the Regional Transportation Strategy.

Visualization of what the future Regional Transportation Strategy should address. Select image to enlarge.

While much has been said about SkyTrain this week, there hasn’t been much focus on the proposed update to the Regional Transportation Strategy. This will be the topic of today’s post.

One of the legal requirements for TransLink is to prepare a rolling 30-year transportation strategy for Metro Vancouver. Transportation and land-use are linked. For example, walkable communities where people can access shops and services are required to support high-quality transit. TransLink’s long-term strategy must integrate the following objectives:

  • Regional land-use objectives
  • Provincial and regional environmental objectives, including air quality and greenhouse gas emission reduction objectives
  • Population growth in, and economic development of, Metro Vancouver
  • Provincial transportation and economic objectives

Sometimes these objectives may be at odds with each other. In the past, provincial transportation objectives have clashed with regional land-use objects. The complex nature of the long-term strategy means that it can take a few years to develop.

TransLink’s last attempt at creating a Regional Transportation Strategy was in 2013, but it was put on pause due to the 2015 transit referendum. In order for people to have had something to vote on, the Mayors' Council 10-Year Vision was put together. This has been the guiding document for regional transportation investments over the last several years.

With the final phase of the 10-Year Vision hopefully moving towards funding in the next year, a new long-term strategy is now required for the next 30 years.

This long-term strategy will be an opportunity for the region to “think big” about the future of transportation. For example, what role will autonomous vehicles play in the future? How will they integrate with walking, cycling, and public transit? Will buses be autonomous? How will they impact current on-site parking requirements for buildings?

Another big topic will be around what the future rail rapid transit, bus rapid transit, and frequent bus network will look like. Will we build rail transit lines on Scott Road and 200th Street, or a line out to Abbotsford for example?

As our region grows, the only way to get people out of congestion will be to continue to make walking, cycling, and taking transit convenient for more people. I’m looking forward to the process of developing this new long-term transportation strategy.

This long-term strategy will inform TransLink’s investment plans for the road and transit network for years to come. If all goes well, the new Regional Transportation Strategy will be adopted near the end of 2020.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"As our region grows, the only way to get people out of congestion will be to continue to make walking, cycling, and taking transit convenient for more people."

In my opinion the only way to get people out of congestion will be to develop municipalities in such a way that will give people work in places where they live. So, the significant amount of residential development has already taken place and more is coming. What about bringing new industries that would mean more diverse job opportunities? Only then, walking and cycling will be a viable option for those living outside Vancouver.

It is nice that TransLink is making a 30-year strategy. But, do the municipalities have their long-term strategies? Based on what we have seen in Langley - and I am thinking both municipalities as one - over the past 25 years, development has been quite chaotic.