Shifting spending from freeways to transit will not only reduce BC’s greenhouse gas emissions, but lead to healthier, safer communities for all British Columbians. This is the conclusion of Transportation Transformation: Building complete communities and a zero-emission transportation system in BC. Transportation Transformation sets out key strategies for urban, suburban and rural areas that will improve transportation and quality of life at the same time. Click below to watch the introductory video.
“Instead of allocating billions of precious tax dollars on wider roads and bigger bridges, like we’re doing now, we need to build a province-wide zero-carbon public transportation system,” says co-author Patrick Condon, UBC chair in Landscape and Livable Environments and a leading figure in sustainable design.
The study, co-published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Wilderness Committee, proposes an annual investment of $2 billion over the next ten years, much of it re-allocated from roadway expansion, with the goal of creating a zero-emission transportation system by 2040. The report points out that “Spending public funds on highway expansion and low carbon transportation is analogous to applying a car’s accelerator and brake at the same time.” The likely result, whether for a car or society, is a dramatic breakdown.
The report shows how investments in electric public transit can to lead land use changes and create complete livable communities. Changes in transportation systems can be made quickly, while land use changes often take longer and are largely determined by transportation spending decisions.
To get to zero emissions, the study envisions a province of “complete communities” – in which residents do not have to travel far to meet their day-to-day needs. Instead, they would be able to walk, bike or use electric public transit for most trips, and use shared electric vehicles. Complete communities have a mix of housing types (including affordable options), decent jobs, public services, parks and other public spaces, and commercial districts with restaurants, offices and retail outlets.
The report also envisions a network of fast electric trains providing longer distance transportation between communities around the province.
The need to move freight would be reduced by following the 4Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Re-localize. Support for local agriculture would be a key part of this strategy. Electric freight trains and efficient short sea shipping would become the dominant modes of freight movement.
Click here to download the full report - 47 pages
Click here to download the report summary - 8 pages