Thursday, October 10, 2019

Sustainable transportation usage up in the South of Fraser. Walking way up.

TransLink recently released the results of its 2017 trip diary. This is a region-wide survey that has occurred for decades measuring how people get around in our region. These trip diaries were completed in 1994, 1999, 2004, 2008, 2011, and most recently in 2017.

These diaries are surveys, so they are based on a representative sampling of people in our region. For the 2017, TransLink adjusted the way it determined this sampling of people to “reduce transit bias due to the oversampling of transit users.” While TransLink adjusted the 2011 data as a result, data from previous years cannot be used in an “apples-to-apples” comparison.

While TransLink provides information by municipality, this is a regional survey. This means that municipalities like Langley City and White Rock have a small sampling of people which means that the accuracy for these municipalities is not as robust as at the regional or sub-regional level. This is why I only want to share information from the sub-regional level.

The South of Fraser which includes Surrey, Langley, and White Rock has seen an increase in sustainable transportation modes. These modes include walking, cycling, and transit. In 2017, 17.3% of all trips used sustainable modes.

Trips by mode in the South of Fraser (percent). Select chart to enlarge. 

Cars take up a lot of space. As our population continues to grow, we don’t have the space to widen or build more roads and parking lots in our region. Municipalities must invest in sustainable modes of travel. It is encouraging to see that sustainable transportation mode share is increasing in the South of Fraser.

It is also interesting to look at why people are travelling. While much attention is placed on commuting, the fastest growing reasons why people travel are for escorting and shopping. Escorting includes things like getting kids to soccer practice, and getting a parent to the doctor’s office.

Trips by purpose in the South of Fraser (total number). Select chart to enlarge.

One of the things we need to do as local governments is design our communities so that it is easier for people to do these personal trips via sustainable modes of travel. We need to design our communities to make walking to shopping easy, and our streets and parks in ways that parents feel safe letting their children bike to soccer practice on their own.

While many people believe that a majority of trips cross the Fraser River, they simply don’t. Around 90% of trips that start in the South of Fraser, stay in the South of Fraser.

For more information, please look at TransLink’s Tableau visualizations.

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