June 11, 2014

Handy Transportation Facts for Metro Vancouver

Metro mayors have been working for the past several months to develop a regional transportation investment plan that will be announced tomorrow.

The plan will identify new services, how much these new services will cost, and recommendations for how we can pay for them.  In preparation, some background information.

Thanks to “Moving in a Livable Region” for these handy facts all in one place.


General transportation facts

  • Most trips made in Metro Vancouver are made by automobiles.(Source)


  • Overall, the automobile (including auto driver and passenger) is the dominant mode of travel, accounting for 73% of trips in 2011. This, however, is in decline from 77% in 1994. (Source)


  • Transit accounts for 14% of trips has generally been trending upward in the last decade. Walking represents 11% of total trips, which has remained relatively stable over the span of travel surveys dating back to 1994. Finally, cycling accounts for just under 2% of total travel. (Source)


  • Work and post-secondary trips comprise more than half of morning peak trips and more than one-third of all daily trips. (Source)


  • On transit, 65% of all trips are for work/post-secondary purposes. (Source)


  • More than 90% of the places where people live and work in Metro Vancouver can be reached by public transit – a much higher level than most comparably sized regions in North America.  (Source)


  • In 2011, residents living within walking distance of frequent transit corridors (400 metres for bus-based corridors and 800 metres around rapid transit stations – about a 5 and 10 minute walk respectively) walked, cycled or took transit for 38% of their trips, compared to only 18% for those living away from Urban Centres or frequent transit corridors. (Source)



Regional Growth

  • Metro Vancouver is growing, by 2041 there will be one million more people and 600,000 more jobs in the region. (Source)


  • By 2041, both Surrey and the Tri-Cities will have doubled in population size and number of jobs. (Source)


  • Over the last 20 years, the population of Metro Vancouver has grown from 1.7 million to 2.4 million. (Source)


  • Port Metro Vancouver—the largest port in Canada, the fourth largest tonnage port in North America (Source)


  • Regional city centres will receive 40% of population growth and 50% of new jobs by 2041. (Source)


  • Over the past decade, Metro Vancouver has grown by an average of 1.6% per year (approximately 32,000 new residents annually). (Source)



  • Recent polling suggests that citizens think that expanding the region’s public transit system is the key to reducing congestion. (Source)


  • In Metro Vancouver there are 3.3 million trips made by single-occupant autos and 900,000 trips made by transit. (Source)


  • Cars take up over 10 times as much road space per passenger-kilometer as public transportation. (Source)


  • A total of 6.1 million trips were made by Metro Vancouver residents (five years of age and older) on a typical fall 24-hour weekday in 2011. (Source)


  • Port Metro Vancouver is forecasting container traffic growth from 2.5 million TEU in 2010 to between 5.5 and 7.9 TEU by 2030, adding significant demand on the transportation system. (Source)


  • Average densities along the existing Frequent Transit Network are anticipated to increase by almost 60% by 2041 (from 62 persons+jobs/gross ha to almost 100 persons+jobs/gross ha)[1] (Source)



Transit funding  

In 2012, TransLink’s revenue, $1.40 billion in total, came from four general sources: (Source)


  • fare box revenue from transit users (33%)
  • municipal gas taxes (24%)
  • a combination of “other” sources (22%), and
  • a share of municipal property taxes (21%)




  • The Pacific Gateway Transportation network employs 82,000 people and contributes more than $6.5 billion annually to the region’s GDP. (Source)


  • Port Metro Vancouver is the busiest port in Canada and depends on timely goods movement over the region’s roads. (Source)


  • Nearly half of Metrotown and Oakridge Mall customers use buses and SkyTrains to get to these shopping centres. (Source)


  • 21% of the region’s workforce is employed in trade, transportation, and warehousing. (Source)


  • Transport Canada estimates the costs of congestion in Metro Vancouver at 1.5 billion dollars per year. (Source)


  • The Metro Vancouver region spends about $13 billion annually on transportation (Source)


  • About 40% of the region’s jobs, roughly 500,000, are located in Urban Centres, more than half of them in the Metro Core. (Source)


  • The region’s economy was estimated to be worth $100 billion in 2011. (Source)


  • Per capita spending on transportation has increased only slightly since 1991, from $3,800 per person to $4,000 per person (2011 dollars). (Source)


  • In 2010, the Vancouver International Airport handled an estimated value of $10 billion of cargo, which is about 10% of Canada’s air cargo trade. (Source)


Personal financial benefit

  • In Western Canada, gas prices are the biggest area of concern for household expenditure; more than two-thirds of Canadians say that gas prices are squeezing their household budgets. (Source)


  • Studies have shown that households with access to more transportation options, like transit, walking, and cycling, spend less on transportation than car-dependent households – up to three times less. (Source)


  • The average cost of car ownership in Canada ranges from $8,000 to $14,000 per year. (Source)


  • Research has shown that households with access to multiple modes of transportation spend approximately 64% less on transportation than car-dependent households. (Source)



Public health and safety

  • Active transportation reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, including mortality, incident coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes. A meta-analysis concluded that active commuting is associated with an 11% reduction in cardiovascular risk (Hamer and Chida 2008a). High levels of walking for transportation have been associated with a 31% decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease (Hamer and Chida 2008b). (Source)


  • One US study found that men who walk or cycle to work were half as likely to be obese (Gordon-Larsenet al. 2009). (Source)


  • The highest levels of active commuting were associated with a 12% decrease in mortality. (Source)


  • Together, inactivity and obesity are estimated to account for $6.4 billion in lost economic output due to short- and long-term disability and premature death (Katzmarzyk and Janssen 2004). (Source)


  • Motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death for young people, accounting for 70% of all accidental deaths in the 15 to 24 age group. (Source)


  • Studies conclude that the health benefits of shifting to active transportation outweigh the health risks – by at least a 15:1 ratio. (Source)



  • In 2010, transportation was the largest source of GHG emissions in British Columbia, accounting for 37% of the province’s emissions. (Source)


  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that packages of walkways, bikeways and bus/rapid transit could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles by 25% at a cost of only US$33 per tonne of CO2 equivalent (WHO 2011a). (Source)



  • According to the 2011 Census data on the Vancouver CMA, Vancouver represents 26% of the population, Surrey 20%, Burnaby 10%, Richmond 8%, Coquitlam 5%, and Langley 4%. (Source)



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  1. Oh boy, here we go!

    Let the howling begin
    Let propaganda flow joyfully
    Let fan-boys beat the drums of technical obsession
    Let facts be ignored and misinformation be spread, all in the name of fear
    Let well-funded factions spring up
    Let regions and classes wage battle
    Let TransLink be pummeled, blamed, derided and let its popularity become the issue

    And thus will the future of our region be decided

    And may big plans with big payoffs carry the day
    And may enough minds realize that the status quo is not an option