Easing The Congestion

Author: Bill Tam

A Case for Better Transit and Transportation in Vancouver

Last week, our friends at the Vancouver Board of Trade announced the formation of the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition (BTTC), a broadly represented coalition that includes business groups, labour unions, students and environmental organizations, formed to help to achieve a “YES” outcome in the upcoming transit and transportation referendum.

For the technology industry in the lower mainland, access to better and more efficient transit and transportation are essential in maintaining Vancouver’s status as a world class technology centre that can attract and retain the best and the brightest.

In the media and on the ground, there’s been a growing crescendo on both sides of the debate. What’s not in doubt is that the future of Metro Vancouver is dependent on major investments in transit and transportation across the region. Vancouver is already ranked as the most congested city in Canada and with an estimated one million new residents expected, the situation is sure to get worse.

The Mayors’ Council Plan will cut traffic congestion by 20 per cent, shortening commute times by an average of 20 to 30 minutes per day, and give 70 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents more frequent transit service. A “YES” vote will see the plan funded by a 0.5 per cent regional Congestion Improvement Tax.

The BTTC provides a compelling illustration of the benefits of a “YES” vote, providing the financial platform from which to undertake much needed capital investments to our transit and transportation network – 400 more buses (from 1800 to 2200), 129 more SkyTrain cars, improved goods movement, 10 additional cars for the West Coast Express, a 50% increase in SeaBus service. The impact is not just in Vancouver, but across the lower mainland.

From a tech industry standpoint, more investment and accountability in transit and transportation infrastructure is a good thing. It ensures that Vancouver maintains its standing as a world class ecosystem, protects our competitive advantage as being one of the most liveable places and offers some relief for the growing challenges of affordability in the Vancouver core (by offering transit/transportation alternatives to for people living outside the core).

It’s an important time for the Vancouver region. We need to get it right.

More information on the BTTC can be found on their website.