Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Metro Vancouver’s Walkability Index highlights gaps in the transit network

TransLink is well underway in delivering the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Transit and Transportation Vision which extends to about 2025. This includes SkyTrain to Langley.

Map of Mayors’ Council 10 Year Investments. Select map to enlarge. Source: Mayors’ Council.

Work is now underway on Transport 2050 which is our region’s long-term transportation plan. Metro Vancouver has had a series of these long-term plans which have been successfully implemented since at least the early 1990s.

The Metro Vancouver Regional District and TransLink has been working with the UBC Health and Community Design Lab to create a walkability index for our region. The walkability index has five components that determine the score: residential density, intersection density, land-use mix, commercial floor area ratio, and sidewalk network completeness. While the index does have some challenges, it helps to highlight areas that are walkable.

Why does this matter, and how can this link to Transport 2050?

One of the longstanding goals for regional planning in Metro Vancouver has been to create walkable nodes with a mix of housing, shops, services, offices, and industry connected by high quality transit. In Metro Vancouver’s land-use plans, these are called urban centres.

The following map overlays these urban centres, TransLink’s frequent transit network, and the walkability index.

2016 Walkability Index overlaid with Metro Vancouver’s Urban Centres and TransLink’s Frequent Transit Network. Select map to enlarge. Source: Metro Vancouver.

There are a few observations which could help inform Transport 2050 and Metro Vancouver’s land-use plans.

It appears that there are urban centres that are missing such as the Scott Road area in Newton, Clayton, Walnut Grove, and Tsawwassen. Urban centres such as South Surrey, Cloverdale, and Ambleside/Park Royal should be expanded.

This map also highlights major gaps in the frequent transit network.

For example, there is no frequent transit service in South Delta, Cloverdale, and Aldergrove. While there is a planned RapidBus for the 200th Street corridor, there needs to be frequent transit along 208th Street and in Walnut Grove. Port Coquitlam needs better transit connectivity as an urban centre.

Hopefully, this walkability index can help inform transit priorities in our region as every transit trip starts or ends with walking.

This walkability index is based on 2016 census data which is the most recent census. The next census will be in 2021, and I hope that this walkability index will be updated at that time.

No comments: