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Vancouver most congested ciry in North America


Electro Rock

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Metro Vancouver’s traffic has edged out Los Angeles’s infamous gridlock for the most-congested city in North America in a new ranking.

And some transportation researchers think the best solution is variable, real-time “HOT,” or high-occupancy toll-lane, road-pricing.

The 2013 sixth annual TomTom Travel Index showed Vancouver travel time was almost 36-per-cent longer at peak hours than during non-rush hours, one-per-cent higher than L.A.’s ranking and up almost three per cent from 2012.

That leaves the average 30-minute-trip commuter facing an extra 93 hours — or 11 workdays — behind the wheel each year.

The index is produced by a European vehicle navigation company and rates traffic in 169 cities.

Nick Cohn, TomTom’s head of global traffic research, said in a statement that Metro Vancouver’s growing population and sprawl were contributing factors.

“Metro Vancouver is no longer dominated by a single core, but has multiple employment centres,” Cohn said. “This makes it very difficult to combat road congestion. Los Angeles has, of course, severe traffic congestion, but contrary to popular belief it has developed areas of very high population and employment density and this is helping to influence travel patterns.”

Robin Lindsey, a professor of transportation economics at the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business, was skeptical of the findings and noted quality of traffic is also a factor in commuter frustration.

“I would prefer to face a longer delay, but a predictable delay, because you can leave home earlier, but if it’s unpredictable it’s worse,” Lindsey said. “Maybe Vancouver is bad in that respect, because there are 22 bottlenecks with bridges and tunnels.”

While Lindsey didn’t see Metro Vancouver traffic spiralling out of control, citing densification and steady driving trends, he’s a strong advocate of using HOT lanes to reduce congestion.

These high-occupancy toll lanes allow single-occupancy motorists access to HOV lanes for a price that rises in real time as road congestion rises. Such systems are used in Stockholm, Singapore, Virginia and California.

Generally, Vancouver travel times increase by up to 61 per cent during the morning rush hour and up to 76.5 per cent during the evening peak commute. But Tuesday morning rush hour (six to 10 a.m.) and Thursday evening rush hour (three to 7 p.m.) were the worst, with increases in travel time reaching 70 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively.

Some of the key congestion bottlenecks identified were along Cambie Street, Broadway and Terminal Avenue in Vancouver, River Road in Surrey and Delta, Taylor Way in West Vancouver and Steveston Highway in Richmond.

Across Canada, Toronto showed 27-per-cent increases, Montreal, 25, Ottawa 23, Calgary, 21, and Edmonton, 17.

In the Americas, Vancouver ranked third most-congested behind Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, with L.A. and San Francisco fourth and fifth.

The index used real-time GPS data to evaluate traffic speeds on 1,263 kilometres of roads in Metro Vancouver and examine more than a million vehicle kilometres.

Vancouver Coun. Geoff Meggs acknowledged that congestion continues to be a problem in the Lower Mainland and that it’s something that needs to be tackled, but also noted the TomTom study presents a skewed view of the region, as it only draws data from users of their products.

“The analysis is a little bit different, so I don’t accept that we’re worse than Los Angeles,” he said.

Currently, more than 44 per cent of trips in Vancouver are by walking, cycling or transit, according to city data.

A 2011 National Household survey also found that commuting times in Canada varied, with Vancouver clocking in with an average commute of about 21 minutes, whereas Toronto and Montreal clocked in at just over 30 minutes.

Meggs noted that despite having one of the highest transit riderships in Canada, transportation investment remains a priority for the region.

“Where we really need to make headway is another round of investment in transportation, not just transit, but the entire transportation system, so people have a choice of quicker ways to get around that ideally don’t require more roads,” Meggs said. “You want to eliminate it (congestion) if you can, but you want to do it in a smart way.”

http://www.theprovince.com/touch/news/vancouver/

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I'm surprised this wasn't determined to be the case years ago.

I can't recalled another Western city where it takes more time and hassle to travel a given distance than Vancouver. If Vancouver weren't so small in area as far as major cities go it'd be even more of a grinding slog than it is.

Vancouver+tops+most+congested+city+North+America+Survey/9132602/story.html?rel=838332

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Vancouver needs to densify and increase transit density accordingly. More people would live closer to work if there was more affordable housing closer to work. Broadway is a good example. It's a large employment destination and yet it's surrounded by single family homes. A lot of those neighbourhoods should be re-zoned to allow low-rise (~5 storey) apartment complexes and dense rowhousing right along the streets.

The UBC line could be paid for by the increase in property taxes from additional development in the area, and rider fares.

The same could be done along Cambie. Densify the entire corridor with multi-storey (and multi-unit) rowhouses and apartments, with clusters of towers around stations.

How there hasn't been any re-zoning and densification around Nanaimo and 29th avenue stations is beyond me.

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Vancouver needs to densify and increase transit density accordingly. More people would live closer to work if there was more affordable housing closer to work. Broadway is a good example. It's a large employment destination and yet it's surrounded by single family homes. A lot of those neighbourhoods should be re-zoned to allow low-rise (~5 storey) apartment complexes and dense rowhousing right along the streets.

The UBC line could be paid for by the increase in property taxes from additional development in the area, and rider fares.

The same could be done along Cambie. Densify the entire corridor with multi-storey (and multi-unit) rowhouses and apartments, with clusters of towers around stations.

How there hasn't been any re-zoning and densification around Nanaimo and 29th avenue stations is beyond me.

I disagree. The line should be paid for by increasing the transit fare. Why should anyone have to pay more property tax for something that might not benefit them. The transit riders and maybe the road users or UBC students should pay for this, since they would probably benefit more from it.

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Vancouver has a quaint transportation grid that was probably maxed out back when it had a population of only 1 million regionally, now its loaded down with 2.6 million people and counting...

I don't think there's much you can realistically do at this point because due to poor past decisions.

What's more is that you seem to ended up being delayed all the time even when volume isn't an issue becauae of the typical sluggish Vancouverite insistence that everything take a lot longer than it should.

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What a skewed commute travel average by the National Housing Survey.

21 minutes my @ss

Maybe for the people who actually live in an apartment in the downtown core - but not for those in suburbia.

In 1998 it took me 40 minutes to get to work from Langley to Annacis Island (left @ 6 am) and an hour to get home.

I can imagine what it is now.

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Increasing density is what the city has been trying to do. But the city and province doesn't use those taxes on infrastructure. More density is actually making it worse. When the city hit 1 million people it couldn't cope then. The only answer is rail, or build underground. Not to sound like Pratt but the mayor is dreaming if he thinks bike lanes help. Delivery trucks, commuters etc, and travellers going through the city to get to places like Whistler, or people travelling to get out of the city still need highways, roads etc.

Add to this we have a woeful transit system, that every step forward it takes two steps back. They build a Canada Line which they have needed for 30 years. When they finally build it, it's already at capacity during rush hour. The city and the province needs to look 40 years ahead at what traffic is going to be like, not looking to fill the needs now. But they won't do it because there's no votes 40 years from now.

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Don't think it's that big of a deal..traffic is a pain in the butt but it's not too bad and is part of everyone's life and you just gotta live with it...I wouldn't mind the cities making bigger roads/more lanes which would be a pretty big factor in all this.

Comparing Vancouver to LA or something is nuts...LA has more vehicles than this country has people....it's so crowded and that's why it makes up it's traffic...we have traffic problems because we just do :P

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I disagree. The line should be paid for by increasing the transit fare. Why should anyone have to pay more property tax for something that might not benefit them. The transit riders and maybe the road users or UBC students should pay for this, since they would probably benefit more from it.

We don't live in a "you don't use it, you don't pay for it" society (MSPs, EI, etc.). Increasing transit fares is not a viable option for the end game being to increase use of transit; it just doesn't make sense... and you sure as hell can't put the burden on the students (who already have ~$30 000+ debt on average). Property tax (or tolling roads) increases MAY be an option; however, I would be for some sort of incentive program where you get a break on transit farecards, etc.
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Never been to Vancouver before, but is it actually worse than NY or LA?

Potentially ONLY during rush hour, and only in the downtown core/major funnel routes. Just under a year ago, I had to travel from West Vancouver to UBC during rush hours... Worst it got was an extra 45 minutes-1 hour extra. I'd imagine at least another 45 mins more if you were headed directly through the core though. Off peak hours though? No congestion whatsoever.
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Never been to Vancouver before, but is it actually worse than NY or LA?

No lol. Just that our roads haven't been changed forever (they're really small compared to NY and LA...2-3 lane highways lol) and because of that, there's a log jam during traffic hours.

...not worse than those cities at all...Vancouver and BC is well populated and not a frenzy...just our small roads make it seem like it...NY and LA on the other hand, don't get me started :lol:

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Why should anyone have to pay more property tax for something that might not benefit them.

For what it's worth I believe the increase in property taxes to fund the transit would be from the larger pool of tax payers via density. Not an actual increase in tax rates. More people paying taxes, not necessarily higher taxes.

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Along with cost of living, traffic is the other thing about living in the lower mainland that I do not miss at all.

Right now, I have a 6 minute drive to my work.

I have a 10 second commute.

From my bedroom to my home office computer. :towel:

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Never been to Vancouver before, but is it actually worse than NY or LA?
Been to NY.

No. Manhattan has worse stretches of road than any in Vancouver. Maybe it's an 'overall' congestion comparison, as NYC's public transportation system is vastly superior. LA has way bigger roads than NYC i imagine, but their public transit is comparatively awful, i think.

Worldwide, traffic is going to only get worse. The key is getting more commuters off of roads. With the information superhighway, more and more workers should simply have their office at home. imho Corporations will only find an increase in productivity in this scenario. Yet, most are slow to adapt.

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