May 15, 2015

Selected Slides: Active Transportation & Health in Vancouver – 1

Too often a report gets released or a presentation gets made that tries to stuff a whole lot of interesting material into the limited capacity of our brain cells.  That’s been particularly true in the last few weeks, when the City of Vancouver has been releasing the results of data that have been collected in the Vancouver Panel Survey, augmented by other sources on how we’re moving about in our City.

So here are some selections worthy of special attention.

First up, items from “Designing for People of All Ages and Abilities: Active Transportation & Health in Vancouver” by Active Transportation Manager Dale Bracewell.


Bracewell 1

The obvious: cycling is booming.  But note the difference in population change at 3 percent over four years (a pretty slow rate of growth, actually) and yet, still faster than the increase in private vehicles – at 1 percent.

(Note that this data is for daily trips originating in the City, so street use and our perceptions are affected by the traffic coming in and out from the region.)

More here in the Courier:  Vancouverites choose bikes over cars. Vehicle use drops in city.

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  1. Cycling will increase throughout our city as long as cycle paths are built to protect us from vehicles and car doors opening ! I’m hearing more and more of my friends whose never rode a bike in years have bought and driving it for enjoyment and exercise.

  2. Very good news. Clearly once again demonstrates that fears of overly congested traffic in the near future are unfounded exaggerations.

  3. I’m surprised nobody has noted the obvious in the article. The city says is it is concerned that transit ridership has levelled off, yet does not acknowledge that is largely due to cycling. Transit users are far more likely to switch to a bike than a motorist, usually for economic reasons. The problem is that on every cold and wet day, the many fairweather cyclists expects transit to be there for them.

    1. I think your conclusion here may actually be false. The obvious culprit for me – and the cause listed in the Courier article, it turned out – is that transit capacity has been steady for a number of years and won’t take any more riders. If we don’t increase capacity then there’s no place for those new riders to fit on the system. What the increase in cycling is doing is allowing people who would otherwise drive a car to find a place on the city’s buses and trains. And, at least according to the graph above, transit ridership is still up quite a bit from 2008.

      Will buses be overloaded on rainy days? Maybe a bit, but if that’s the case, many of those cyclists will make totally logical decisions to simply buy rain gear when they see how busy the buses are and decide, maybe they don’t want to wait for the next one or get crushed. I don’t see a major problem developing.

    2. Unscientific evidence observed by me shows that traffic is worse on a rainy day as less people cycle or walk, or even take the bus. More opt for a car.

      As such, we need more RAPID transit (aka subways and LRTs/SkyTrain) not more buses where one has to stand in the rain and wait for one, or is just as slow, or usually slower, than a car.

      RAPID transit is what we need, surely missing in the band-aid 0.5% sales increase tax plan, utterly disconnected from the real (frequently raining) world.