August 29, 2014

Perth vs Vancouver: "A tale of two cities"

SkyTrain

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Here is the complete series by Kent Acott, a writer with the West Australian, who compared the transportation systems and strategies of the two cities.  I excerpted several of the pieces here and here – but there are still a few other articles in the series, including this one:

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Less roads reduces congestion

Former Vancouver city councillor Gordon Price made worldwide headlines when he suggested congestion could be a city’s friend. He is convinced that congestion can be managed to achieve benefits for a community.
“On one hand, congestion encourages more people to consider other forms of transport – like walking or bike riding or public transport,” Mr Price said. “But it can also help authorities to manage the transport system.
“Well co-ordinated traffic lights can act as meters, allowing a certain number of vehicles through at any one time. If done effectively, it means the traffic continues to flow.
“And as the traffic is moving, albeit slowly, it makes it less attractive for motorists to dart off into side streets looking for a quicker route – the concept known as rat runs.” Mr Price, who now works at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, said building more roads to solve congestion was a legacy of engineers who had been dictating urban design and transport networks in many cities for many decades. …
Mr Price said that, as populations grew, more people needed to travel in ways other than cars to allow enough room for the current number of cars, trucks and buses to move around efficiently.
“If the next million or so people all choose to drive, then we really do get gridlock since there isn’t enough room to handle an increase on that scale,” he said.

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While we’re at it, here’s a repost of the video made by Matt Taylor which effectively illustrates the absurdity of trying to accommodate the next million people in this region if they all drove cars. (For a quick view of the consequences, go to 3:21 to see what we’d need to do just to park them.)’

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