A new report is suggesting Metro Vancouver implement tolling on all major bridges in an attempt to combat traffic congestion, and save time and money lost in gridlock.
The report, from Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, has suggestions for Canada’s biggest cities, including Metro Vancouver, Greater Montreal, the Greater Toronto & Hamilton Area, and Calgary.
“Metro Vancouver’s traffic congestion challenge is shaped by numerous factors: a constrained geography bounded by mountains and ocean, polycentric travel patterns with multiple hubs of activity, and a complex governance structure,” says the report. “Applying variable pricing (i.e. a fee aligned with peak traffic times) to each of the region’s water crossings would target traffic in key driving arteries and reduce regional congestion.on all major waterway crossings in the city, in an attempt to combat traffic.”
According to the report, time lost in traffic costs Metro Vancouver $1.4 billion annually, with another $1.2 billion lost in hidden costs like lost employment opportunities. By implementing a pricing trial on all major bridges, with variable fees based on high traffic periods, the report says congestion could be reduced and traffic could be harmonized, reducing time wasted sitting in traffic.
While we’re still a long way from actually implementing anything, the concept is still a hot topic in Metro Vancouver. According to the Honourable Peter Fassbender, Minister responsible for TransLink, the report could be a step in the right direction in regards to discussing possible solutions.
“We’re open to whatever ideas are brought forward,” Fassbender told Vancity Buzz. “We need to sit down and continue to work together. Clearly there are two distinct issues that are before us: one is, how do you raise the dollars to build what needs to be built in the way of infrastructure?”
Minister Fassbender says that once the new government is sworn in, the promised money for infrastructure will go a long way to deciding what steps need to be taken next, and whether congestion pricing is an adequate solution.
“I think one of the bigger issues is once you build something, then you have to have sustainable funding to run it,” he says.
No matter what the solution to congestion and traffic ends up being, Minister Fassbender says the decision has to be made with every one, and everything, in mind.
“The solution should be seen by everyone in the region to be fair and equitable,” he says. “It is that principle of fairness and equity that should underpin everything do and everything that we look at for the future. ”